It’s good to have a fairly regular time for bathing baby. The room should be warm, with no drafts on baby. Keep bathing supplies together to save yourself steps. Until the navel and circumcision are healed, wash baby by sponging. After healing, you can use a tub or bathinette. Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow (never with your hand).

Face: Wash with plain water, a mild baby soap and a soft cloth.

Eyes: To clean eyes, use soft cloth dipped in cool water which has been boiled.

Nose and Ears: Cleanse outer areas only with a moist, not wet, corner of a washcloth. Do not attempt to cleanse the inside of either nose or ears with Q-tips.

Mouth: Do not cleanse.

Head: Baby’s head should be lathered gently. Work from front to back to keep soap out of the baby’s face. Baby oil may be used to loosen “cradle cap” on the scalp. Apply before shampoo.

Body: Use a mild soap. Be sure to wash carefully in the creases and rinse well.

Skin Protections: You may use a little baby lotion; choose a lotion that’s free of perfumes or chemicals.

Navel: The umbilical cord usually falls off between 1 and 3 weeks after birth. Prior to that time, it is important to keep the naval clean and dry. You normally do not have to apply any- thing to the cord to clean it. If it gets soiled, you may apply alcohol to the base of the cord to clean it. Occasionally, the navel will bleed briefly when the umbilical cord is separating. This is not cause for alarm. If the bleeding continues or if the skin surrounding the navel becomes inflamed, call me for further instructions. Abdominal binders or “belly bands” serve no useful purpose and will only irritate the baby’s skin. They will not prevent an umbilical hernia or rupture from occurring; nor will they help one that has already formed.

Circumcision: Watch for swelling or bleeding. Use VASELINE® applied to plain gauze as a dressing and change each time it is soiled until healing is complete and there is no more crusting.

Vaginal Area: For girls, use a small amount of baby oil or lotion on a soft washcloth to clean the vaginal area. Always wipe from front to back (toward the anal opening).

Nails: Keep the nails trimmed by cutting with infant scissors. Cut the nails straight across without attempting to shape them.