Baby Grooming Tips
Keeping your new bundle of joy clean and comfortable during those first years can seem challenging to new parents, but following a few simple tips can make things better for both parent and baby.
- Baby’s first bath should occur after his umbilical cord stump has fallen off and the surrounding area has healed.
- Fill an infant tub or sink with 1-2 inches of warm water. Test the temperature before your baby goes in.
- Keep a firm grip on your baby with one hand, as you gently wash her with mild soap and baby shampoo.
- Pat skin dry (including skin folds, which are often overlooked) and avoid rubbing since her skin is especially sensitive.
- While newborns don’t need regular baths—daily cleansing of their face, hands and diaper area is ideal for couple of months —older, mobile babies and toddlers should be washed frequently to remove dirt, dried food and other build-up.
Because an infant’s nails are extremely thin and sharp, it’s important to keep them trimmed to prevent any facial cuts.
- Baby-sized nail clippers work well for newborn nails. If possible, trim nails while your little one is sleeping.
- For fidgety toddlers, trimming softened nails after bath time lessens the potential for tears.
- After trimming baby’s nails, be sure to smooth any rough edges with an emery board.
Sensitive skin is more susceptible to rashes, so opt for mild detergents and soaps made especially for babies.
- When in the sun, UVA/UVB protection is a must, no matter a child’s age. Look for baby- and kid-friendly sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or greater.
- Active toddlers should have sunscreen reapplied every 2-3 hours for optimal coverage.
Good oral hygiene should begin even before any teeth have emerged. Early childhood caries – or tooth decay – is becoming more common today and can lead to a greater risk of cavities later in permanent teeth. To help keep your baby’s gums healthy, follow these tips:
- Gently clean infant gums with a clean baby washcloth or a disposable dental wipe after every feeding.
- Do not allow continuous access to milk, juice, formula or soda - neither in a bottle or a toddler cup. If a bedtime bottle is part of baby’s routine, it should only contain water.
- As teeth emerge, use a fingertip toothbrush or infant toothbrush with water to massage sensitive gums, while also keeping teeth and gums clean. Clean teeth at least twice per day, after breakfast and before bedtime.
- Start using a soft-bristled toddler toothbrush once your child can understand that they must spit out toothpaste after brushing. Apply a pea-sized bead of toothpaste, and squash it down into the bristles.