Cleanliness seems incompatible with babies oozing with fun energy as curious and playful as puppies out to explore and learn. Keeping your kids clean, so it seems, can demand so much of your time and attention.[pq]Babies don’t need too much rubbing and scrubbing. Baby skin has a coat of oil fill that helps keep off skin problems. Too much cleansing takes out this protective cover.[/pq]
In the first year, your baby will likely get wee bumps and rashes. – but that’s not necessarily due to the lack of cleanliness.
Sometimes these are caused by hormonal reactions and viruses. But cleanliness means protection. It is a must to gently clean your kids during bath time and thus shun an overdose of germs that may cause harm. Here are tips on how to clean the various body parts of your baby.
Face – your kids might get anxious or irritated when you try to clean their faces – singing a song or humming a tune would help distract them. Sticky milk or spilled solids left on the face can make it sore. Wash the face with water – not soap that would irritate the babies’ sensitive skin. Pat dry with soft, clean cloth.
Eyes – babies balk at eye cleaning but you need to clean the eye areas as needed. Moisten cotton ball with sterile water, and then wipe each closed eye from inner to outer corner to remove accumulated discharge. Gently pat dry with clean cotton ball or towel.
Nose – wipe gently with wet cotton balls or washcloth around each nostril to remove mucus. Don’t put anything – including cotton buds – inside the nostril that might damage the nasal lining and cause bleeding. Babies are likely to have uneasy breathing when excited or tired. Frequent sneezing helps remove any nasal plug.
Ears – wipe behind the ears and around the outside of each ear. Do not insert anything inside your babies’ ears, including cotton buds. These can hurt their ears and push earwax deep into the inner ear. Earwax is natural and will not harm your kids.
Neck and Body crease – wipe with wet cloth or towel. Pat dry gently afterwards.
Hands and Feet – your kids hold many objects and often suck their fingers. Wash them thoroughly, twice a day and gently pat dry after washing.
Bottom – a baby’s bottom needs careful washing – traces of urine and stool make the skin sore and could lead to rashes. Use a soft towel, then pat dry after washing.
Nails – Babies’ nails are soft but they can grow quite fast, so you have to trim them as often as twice a week. Use a nail clipper or nail scissors for your babies’ small fingernails and toenails. Don’t cut nails too close to the skin; cut straight across the nails to prevent ingrown nails.
The best time to trim your babies’ nails is when they’re asleep, very calm, or drowsy, or often a bath when the nails have been soaked soft. For older broods, you can use a high chair or car seat where they can be strapped on. Work with someone else if necessary. Involve your kids in the activity. Make a game of it, talk calmly, or sing with your kids as you cut their nails.
Genitals – hold the legs outward. For girls, wet a cotton ball and gently wipe between the labia, wiping from front to back. An ‘egg white-like’ vaginal discharge is normal and you don’t need to wipe it away. Wash with plain water and pat dry with a soft towel.
For boys clean the creases under the scrotum, the groin, buttocks and around the base of the penis with plain water. Your baby’s foreskin doesn’t need special cleansers. Don’t rub around the foreskin nor use soap – this can get under the foreskin and cause irritation. The foreskin cannot be pulled back until the baby is three to five years old.