Cord care

Most umbilical cord stumps fall off around two weeks after birth.  It requires no special treatment other than to stay clean and dry. Make sure to fasten diapers and place bottoms below the stump to avoid rubbing.  If it gets dirty wash it lightly and blow dry it dry. Call your provider if it becomes red, swollen, smells fowl, oozes puss, or if it bleeds.

Dressing the baby

Dress your baby as if you would dress yourself plus one extra layer when they are a newborn.

To prevent heat loss, add one extra layer or a blanket as needed. In addition, hats are a common way of protecting the baby from additional heat loss. If the baby sweats on their back and belly or have a heat rash, they are over dressed, and you should remove the extra layer

Baby skin is extremely sensitive to detergents, perfumes, and the sun. Consider using dye free and fragrance-free soaps.  Due to this sensitivity newborn cannot wear sunscreen until they are six months old. Keep your baby out of direct sun, wear light weight clothing, a hat, and use sunshades if needed.  After six months, choose your sunscreen carefully and reapply per the directions.

Babies do not need shoes. Socks or soft booties are sufficient if they are cold and do not affect normal foot development.

 

Genitals

Penis care

An intact penis should be left alone. Bath it normally and do not retract the foreskin unless directed by a provider.

A circumcised penis needs seven to ten days to heal. Your provider will give your specific instructions on their preferred barrier products which will be put on a gauze pad on the tip of the penis, prior to putting on a diaper. Call your provider if the penis swells, bleeds, oozes pus, or if he is not urinating.

Vulva care

Baby girls can be born with a lot of discharge in the vaginal area. When cleaning the vulva, be sure to wipe from front to back during the diaper folds.  Clear between the labial folds but do not clean into the vagina.

Some baby girls will also spot small amounts of blood in the newborn period.  This is due form the extra estrogen they are getting from the mother’s breastmilk and it will clear up on its own.

Nail care

Newborns can be born with very long nails. And even after birth, their nails continue to grow quickly.  As babies like to keep their hands near their faces and mouths, long nails can scratch. The following techniques are best done when the babies are full and relaxed or sleeping.

Cut or clip: This is best done as a team, where one partner holds the child close and securely, and the partner presses the fingertip away from the nail and clips to avoid nicks.

Nail file: if your baby has the patience, using an adult Emory board on their nails can be very effective.

Nibbling: Many parents trim their babies’ nails by nibbling on them. However, if there are any cuts in the skin this can spread germs.

 

Skin Care

Newborn skin is very delicate and sensitive.  Just as your baby’s nails grow quickly their skin also changes.

Consider bathing your baby with soap no more than one to two times a week.  Daily bathing without soap is perfectly fine.  This will prevent stripping their skin of protecting oils.  Choose infant soaps, baby wipes, and washing machine detergents carefully to avoid toxins and alcohol. Change their diapers often to avoid rashes. Finally, allow their bottom to dry completely before diapering to avoid moisture.

 

Photo by Lubomirkin on Unsplash

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