A newborn doesn’t need bathing every day; you can clean the parts that get dirty i.e bottom, face, neck, skin creases. You can bathe her every alternate day; but her hair needs to be washed regularly to prevent a cradle cap from forming. This allows you to wash the parts of your baby that really need washing, without causing much disturbance or distress to her.
Keep a bowl of cooled, boiled water and pieces of clean cotton wool ready. You don’t need soap for a new born baby. After 6 weeks you can use baby products like baby soap, bath lotion, oil etc.
Eyes, nose, and ears:
Wash your baby’s eyes with balls of cotton wool dipped in the water. Work from the inner part of the eye to avoid spreading any infection that may be present.
Don’t poke around inside your baby’s nose and ears. They are self – cleaning. Clean the ears with moist cotton wool. Don’t scrape the wax as it is antiseptic and protects the ear drum from dust and grime. Removing it will cause the ear to produce more.
Your new born baby’s nails should be kept short—she may scratch her skin. The best time to cut them is after a bath when they are soft; use a pair of small blunt-ended scissors. Biting off a new born baby’s nails are alright—your mouth is sensitive enough not to hurt her. But of course, with a toddler, you shouldn’t, as she will copy you and develop a nail- biting habit—she’ll learn from watching you.
A toddler can be bathed more frequently than a newborn or small baby but you will have to attend to the cleaning of certain body parts more carefully. The job is made more difficult because she is so fidgety.
You will find the worst kind of dirt under your toddler’s nails (from playing)—mud, play-clay, remnants of all they eat etc. Since dirty finger nails harbor germs along with all the collected grime, you should keep them short. The shorter the finger nails, the less they can collect. Toe nails also should be kept short; if they’re left un-groomed, they can curl under and become ingrown and they can cause pain.
Make nail cleaning a regular part of your child’s routine. Regular hand washing does the trick, but if it doesn’t, help your child to use a small nail brush with her fingers dipped in a bowl of water when washing hands before bed time. Carefully remove stubborn stuff using a rounded toothpick.
You’ll have to hold you child still otherwise; bits of skin might come off. Sing while you work; songs like “Where is Thumbkin?” are finger play games which your child will enjoy.
- Use the scissors first on yourself to show that it doesn’t hurt.
- Use baby scissors with blunt tips or small nail clippers. Don’t use pointed scissors till your child is older and able to sit still.
- Warm water soothes toddlers and softens nails, both of which make it easier to trim them.
Ears, eyes and nose can be cleaned in the same way as for little babies. She can be given a body bath after cleaning these parts of the body.