Baby hygiene from head to toe

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Keeping a newborn squeaky clean is harder than it sounds. Here is how to approach each section of the body to avoid causing any harm or irritation.


Eyes: Soak cotton balls in lukewarm water, then very carefully use them to wipe the corners of the baby’s eye. Remember to use a new cotton ball for each eye.

Nose: The same cotton ball technique for cleaning around a baby’s nose. Gently wipe around the outer edges of each nostril to get rid of excess mucus. Never put anything inside the baby’s nose, as this can cause bleeding.

Mouth: Use a clean washcloth to wipe the baby’s gums and tongue in the morning and evening after feedings. When teeth start coming in, wipe the front and the back of the teeth with a washcloth. At 12 months, you can’t start using an extra-soft, infant-safe toothbrush to carefully brush their teeth with water (no toothpaste) twice a day.

Ears: Gently wipe around the outer layers and behind the ears with a damp cotton ball. Don’t stick anything inside of the baby’s ears and never, ever use Q-tips, which can puncture the eardrum and cause permanent damage.

Nails: Trimming a baby’s nails can be frustrating and tricky, but it’s essential to make sure that they do not accidentally scratch themselves. You’ll want to buy special baby nail scissors for the task. Try to do this while the baby is sleeping or distracted. Ideally, try to have another person around to divert the little one’s attention and hold them still when necessary.

Skin: Baby’s have incredibly sensitive skin. Try to avoid using too much soap or leaving skin wet for a prolonged period after a bath.

Umbilical cord: This is a very delicate area and it’s important not to let it become infected. Always wash your hands before going near the area and always make sure that the stump is completely dry after a bath. To help speed up the healing process, try to leave the stump exposed to air as often as possible and never cover it with plastic nappies. Watch out if you see a sticky fluid leaking from the area after the stump has dropped off or if the baby develops a small lump close to the belly button. It could be an umbilical hernia which, although not necessarily dangerous, merits a trip to the doctor.

Genitals: If you are dealing with a boy, very gently pouring water over the penis should be enough to clean it. You should not need to use soap, but if you do, stick to a very mild, baby-friendly one with a built-in moisturizer to avoid any irritation. For little girls, very carefully wipe from front to back with a moist cotton ball. Also, note that all babies can get rashes if they’re skin isn’t able to breathe. Make sure to leave their nappies off for a little while each day to give the area some air.

Other: Part of keeping a baby clean is making sure that their environment stays clean. Since babies and toddlers will try to put just about anything in their mouth, it’s important to wash and sterilize their toys on a regular basis.

Photo Credit: peasap via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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