Washing Your Newborn Baby | Step by Step Guide

washing your newborn Jax, FL | Jax, FL Newborn Nanny | Night Nanny Jax, FL | Sleep Specialist Jax, FL

Washing Your Newborn | Step by Step Guide

You don’t have to be a brand new parent to get butterflies in your stomach when you think about washing your newborn baby. Lots of parents who’ve done it before worry about “doing it right” or doing it all wrong. Much like riding a bike it usually comes back to you after a time or two. Step by step we’re walking you through bathtime and helping you gain the confidence you need when washing your newborn! If you’re about to embark on baby’s very first bath using a tub with water, you’ll want to go over and read “Baby’s First Bath, Level Up With These Tips” to get all the best tips ahead of this step by step blog.

Did You Know: It’s not necessary to wash your newborn or infant every day.

Newborns and immobile infants don’t get “dirty” often. You’ll want to wash your baby two to three times a week maximum to avoid drying out their skin. Until your baby begins scooting, crawling, or playing with pets on the floor or other infants out in public a simple wipe down with a warm wet cloth in between baths is sufficient.

Did You Know: A little dab will do ya! You don’t need to use much soap at all.

In addition to being bathed too often, using too much soap can also dry out your baby’s delicate and oh so soft skin. You can just put a tiny drop or two of your soap of choice into the bath water for washing your newborn baby, reserving a single drop for washing his hair. That’s all you need.

Step #1: The Set Up

Choose a time when your baby isn’t tired and hungry to bathe him. Begin by placing the baby bathtub either in the sink or on a level surface, not too close to the edge of the counter. If you’re using one of those blooming sink inserts you will use it in the sink. If you’re using a bather that sits inside the tub you’ll either be in the tub with your baby or kneeling beside the tub. If you’re getting in with baby you want to have a second person to assist you with getting yourself and baby out. If kneeling, please protect your knees!

Step #2: Washing Your Newborn

Make sure all supplies are easily within reach, make sure the tub is plugged, add the water, and then your sweet babe! Immediately place one washcloth that you’ve wet over your baby’s genitals, remembering the 3 T’s of Bathtime.

Your baby will pee in the tub and it’s okay and there’s no need to drain the water! If poop happens, you’ll want to drain and start again. Fun times! While we’re talking pee and poop believe it or not sometimes little girls can pee up and everywhere just as little boys can. Pro tip, I recommend always starting by placing a wet washcloth over their genitals as soon as the diaper comes off and baby is placed in the tub.

Wash and rinse in this order: top to bottom, front to back. Beginning with baby’s hair use a single drop of soap of choice (tear-free may be a good option for you) onto the other wet washcloth and gently begin washing your baby’s hair. Pay close attention not to get soap in her eyes or mouth. Wipe behind her ears and then under her neck, in his little neck creases where milk gets trapped. Rinse carefully avoiding his eyes, nose, and mouth. Work your way down the front of your baby. Use the towel over his/her genitals to clean the diaper area well. How you clean your baby’s genitals depends on if your baby is a boy or a girl, is circumcised or intact. Check carefully to be sure your baby doesn’t have any hair wrapped around his toes.

Washing a baby’s backside isn’t as easy as the front, but in time you’ll become a pro at washing your newborn baby! You can either tip your baby carefully onto his side and wash the opposite side of his back and bottom and then repeat. Or, you can gently transfer your baby to lay face down onto your hand and arm always keeping his face out of the water while you wash then rinse.

Step #3: The Wrap Up

Remembering timing in the 3 T’s of Bathtime wrap it up as soon as possible, even if things are going really well. Pull the plug from the tub being careful to make sure the water is making it in the sink and not your countertop and floor.

Holding the towel on your chest using your teeth and toss the right side over your right arm and left side over your left arm. Then, standing as close to the counter and your baby as possible carefully lift your baby from the bath and transfer him to the center of the towel on your chest. Wrap up your baby burrito!

If your baby is happy you may be able to transfer him to the place you’ll lay him to dry and dress him. If he is upset, take a moment or two to calm and comfort him before continuing being mindful of the possibility of pee and poop. Place your baby on his back and dry him well. Then put his diaper on. If you are planning to use lotion on his skin, nows the time to do it. Start by rubbing the lotion in your hands to warm it first. Begin at the top and work your way down your baby’s body. You can use the towel to cover the areas you aren’t applying lotion to, to keep your baby warm.

When you’ve finished the top half of your baby’s body put his shirt/top on. Then finish applying lotion to the bottom half and put his pants/bottoms on. Before putting on his socks check his nails and clip them if they need to be clipped. Brush his hair/head with a soft bristle baby brush. Use cotton balls to dry his ears. Avoid putting anything into his ears including Q-tips you can damage his eardrums.

That’s it! You’re done!

Whether your baby blissfully obliged or painfully protested his bath you’re awesome! You’ll get the hang of washing your newborn and he’ll get the hang of being pampered and may even become playful with time!

Bathing is a topic our educators teach in our newborn care class and our team of postpartum and infant care specialists provide one-on-one assistance with baby’s first bath in the comfort and serenity of your home! Contact us to find out more!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth Luke

Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns | 5 Easy Steps

newborn umbilical cord care | Jax, FL Baby Nurse

Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns | 5 Easy Steps

Writing an informative piece on umbilical cord care is right up my alley! When I’m not helping parents with all the things after their babies are born I’m teaching classes that include information on optimal umbilical cord clamping and providing placenta encapsulation services. During that time I often get to talk with parents about the anatomy of the placenta and cord and the functions of the umbilical cord during pregnancy. After birth, the umbilical cord is no longer needed as the placenta will no longer supply nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the newborn. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut leaving behind a small nub of cord still attached to your baby’s abdomen.

Clamped and cut, now what?

Your baby’s umbilical cord should begin to dry out, turn into a stump, and eventually, it falls off. What kind of time frame are we talking about here? Usually, within one to two weeks after your baby is born the stump that once was the cord falls off. Until then, follow the 5 simple steps below unless otherwise directed by your pediatrician.

Umbilical Cord Care in 5 Easy Steps:

1. Only give a sponge baths IF a bath is needed.

Generally speaking, newborns don’t need to bathe. A simple wipe down with warm, clean water and a cloth is sufficient. Pay close attention to areas that are moist and tucked away like the creases of their necks and their legs near their diaper area. Avoid their umbilical cord area. The idea is to keep it dry and sponge bathing your newborn will help with that!

2. Keep the stump dry.

You may hear all sorts recommendations such as putting breastmilk on it or applying Goldenseal and Echinacea powder to the area. Please consult your care provider before putting anything on the umbilical cord as it heals. Dry care is currently said to be the best care! There is research that suggests by putting anything on the cord you may be killing beneficial bacteria that is present naturally to help the cord heal on its own. What if my baby pees or soils the umbilical cord area? Don’t stress it! Just wipe it clean using a cloth and warm water (no soap), and let it dry out!

3. Let the umbilical cord air out!

Keep the umbilical area exposed to the air in a controlled temperature environment as much as possible. Fold down the newborn’s diaper, don’t allow it to touch or rub on the cord! Won’t my baby get cold with his umbilical cord area exposed? As long as you have him dressed for his environment he should be fine. For example, if your home is kept around 76 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re wearing shorts and a tank, your baby will be fine in a shirt, diaper, socks, and loose blanket over her lower half. Better yet, snuggle up!

4. Leave it alone!

Let the stump fall off on its own. No pulling or picking at it! If there’s some dried blood around the cord itself (that’s normal) on the skin, you can leave it or wipe it off with a cloth and warm water (no soap), being careful not to get the cord wet. Can I do something so my baby will have an “innie/outtie”? Nope! There’s nothing you can do to encourage or ensure your baby will have an “innie” or an “outtie” a belly button is a belly button! If it’s meant to be it’ll be!

5. Report any problems or concerns to your pediatrician.

Similarly to a scab, the stump might bleed a little when it’s falling off, that’s normal. However, you’ll want to contact your baby’s doctor if: The umbilical cord area oozes or has visible puss. The skin surrounding the cord gets red and swollen. If there’s an odor or smell coming from the area. If your baby’s umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off by the end of week two, even without signs of infection.

Together we can keep dem’ babies safe!

There isn’t a general consensus for umbilical cord care everywhere. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “dry cord care without the application of topical substances is preferable under most circumstances in high-resource countries and for in-hospital births elsewhere; the application of topical chlorhexidine is recommended for infants born outside the hospital setting in communities with high neonatal mortality rates.20 ” Basically, they’re saying that that dry care is usually the best care in low-risk environments. In settings where the risk of bacterial infection is high, it may be prudent to use an antiseptic as per your pediatrician or general practitioner’s recommendations.

Here’s the recap:

  1. keep it dry
  2. sponge bathe only as needed
  3. let it air out
  4. leave it alone
  5. report possible problems or infections to your pediatrician right away!

That’s it, folks!

Sounds simple enough, right? For the most part, it is! Follow these recommendations, that of your pediatrician, and most importantly listen to your gut! Not familiar with that? Our postpartum and infant care specialists are amazing at helping you tap into that parental power! Book a consult with us today and grow more confident in parenting each day!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

~Elizabeth Luke