From the tiny toenails to the hair on their head, parents have to take care of keeping the baby clean. Since the best way to keep a newborn healthy is to keep them clean, hygiene is one of the biggest responsibility that parents have. But taking care of them can be trickier than moms and dads expect.
There are a lot of tips and tricks that can help parents take care of their baby's skin, umbilical cord, and so much more. If moms make a mistake, the baby can be affected and end up with harsh diaper rash and more. Moms and dads need to be prepared for a lot, since their baby's health is at stake.
Here are 10 hygiene habits most moms forget with newborns (and 10 ways baby will be affected).
20 Hygiene Habit: Too Many Baths
Moms might think that a baby needs a bath every day, but that is not the healthiest hygiene option for a newborn. Most babies don't really get grimy, so it's not necessary to have a daily bath. Moms should be sure to wipe the baby clean in the folds of the skin, under the neck and in the diaper area, but every other day or so is good for a bath.
19 Baby's Affected: Baby's Bad Skin
The biggest problem with having a bath every day is that the baby's skin can get really dry. It might even start to crack. Moms might need to invest in a lot of lotion, but even that isn't as good as taking advantage of the baby's natural oils. That's the best way to keep the baby soft skin.
18 Hygiene Habit: Oral Hygiene Matters Early
Moms might not think of oral hygiene as an issue with a newborn, especially since the baby doesn't have any teeth yet. But every night—and it might seem excessive, but after every bottle—moms should wipe around the baby's gums and clean out the tongue and mouth. There are some special tools moms can buy, but a washcloth will do until teeth come in.
17 Baby's Affected: Life With Bad Teeth
Moms aren't thinking of the dentist yet, but once the baby's teeth do arrive, they need a lot of care. Getting into the habit early means that the bacteria haven't invaded the mouth, and the baby can be set up for a lifetime of better teeth. Once the dentist appointments do arrive, moms will be grateful that they gave the baby a good, healthy start on oral hygiene.
16 Hygiene Habit: Diaper Area Issues
One of the most frequent hygiene issues to take care of for moms is, of course, diaper changes. Newborns might go through 12 diapers a day for a period, although that can go down to six or eight diapers a day by the end of the first year. The most important thing to keep in mind is wiping away all of the yucky stuff from the folds.
15 Baby's Affected: Rashes Can Be Miserable
The downside to a delay in changing the baby's diaper is that the little one's tushy can get a really bad rash. Sometimes it's unavoidable if the baby has an illness that causes diarrhea. Moms should do their best to keep the area dry, and that might mean running around for a while diaper-free.
14 Hygiene Habit: Washing Baby's Hair
As part of the baby's bath, moms need to take care of the little one's hair. Some babies are pretty much bald, but their tiny heads need a scrub down every once in a while too. The biggest tip is to be gentle and use a baby product that is gentle on baby's eyes in case the soap gets in them.
13 Baby's Affected: Cradle Cap Is A Common Issue
The most common problem with a baby's hair is a condition called cradle cap, but moms need to be aware that it's not better to wash more. In fact, cradle cap is about dry skin, so moms need to wash less and use something like coconut oil to try to moisturize the skin. A hairbrush can take off the flakes, but be sure to do it gently.
12 Hygiene Habit: Preparing Ahead Of Time
The most important aspect of hygiene for the newborn comes in the preparation. That's true for diaper changes and baths, especially, since the mom needs to get all of the supplies ready to have at hand. But it's also true for cutting the baby's fingernails and so many other aspects. So moms need to buy a lot of supplies and get prepared for anything.
11 Baby's Affected: Possible Danger
There can be a big danger in not getting prepared ahead of time. For example, with baths, the mom shouldn't leave her baby for even a moment to go grab a washcloth. She needs to keep a hand on her baby at all times during diaper changes so the little one doesn't roll off while she goes to get a new package of wipes. It can be dangerous.
10 Hygiene Habit: Keeping Cord Area Clean
One of the biggest worries for moms in the first week or so after the birth is keeping the cord area clean. That is the one wound that the baby will have after the birth, and moms see it as a vulnerable spot. Moms don't need to do anything but keep the area clean, which can be a little hard since it's so close to the diaper area.
9 Baby's Affected: Infections Can Get Out Of Control
Most of the time, it's easy to take care of the cord. It won't be long before the little piece falls off, but if moms aren't careful, bad things can happen. They need to watch closely for signs of infection such as pus or a bad smell. It's important to talk to a doctor as soon as possible since infections can get out of control.
8 Hygiene Habit: Keeping Baby's Nose Clean
Babies can't exactly blow their nose, but they often get runny. So moms are in charge of cleaning them out. Moms used to tackle that with a bulb syringe, and that is still what the hospital uses. But there are fancier—and more complicated—contraptions these days that might come in handy when the baby gets sick.
7 Baby Affected: Baby Can Breathe Better But May Have A Drier Nose
Sucking out the gunk in the baby's nose can help the baby to breath better, especially during an illness. But there can also be some dangers if the mom isn't careful. For one, it can dry out the nose, which can lead to irritation. In addition, moms need to be careful to sterilize the equipment to make sure they don't spread infection.
6 Hygiene Habit: Cutting Baby's Nails
Trimming the baby's finger and toenails can be very daunting. After all, the little one is tiny and often wiggling around, so it can be difficult to clip the nails without accidentally nicking the little one. Most professionals recommend doing the job when the baby is asleep. It's also a good idea to use a nail file instead of clippers to avoid any cuts.
5 Baby's Affected: Baby Freddy Krueger
Moms can't choose to skip this hygiene habit because if the baby's nails aren't trimmed, they can turn into a baby Freddy Krueger. Those tiny nails can be really sharp, and that means that the baby could accidentally cut their own face. Little mittens can help a little, but they aren't comfortable, so moms have to be brave and do their duty. And a cut might sting a little, but it'll be forgotten in a moment.
4 Hygiene Habit: Little Ears
Moms might forget the littlest features on a baby while getting them clean, but the ears are really important, so moms needs to make sure to pay attention to them. The most common illness for small children is an ear infection, so moms need to make sure to keep those tiny ears clean and free from any bacteria.
3 Baby's Affected: Better Hearing But Don't Use Q-Tips
We have two warnings about cleaning out baby's ears. First, make sure not to put water or liquid directly in the ear because that can introduce germs. Also, never use Q-tips because they can compact the ear wax, which can actually protect the baby from illness. If moms do the job right, the baby will be healthier and hear better.
2 Hygiene Habit: Washing Hands
Moms might not think about washing baby's hands because they don't sit down for meals and such. But it's important to make sure that their hands are clean because they get into everything — and those hands are going to get into their mouth for sure. So washing hands can prevent sickness.
1 Baby's Affected: Starting Good Habits For Life
The thing about starting out with habits like hand washing when the baby is small is that these habits will be there for the rest of their lives. That is critical by the time the baby starts preschool. Hand-washing is the number one way to prevent illness, so it's a great habit to start early.
Sources: Mother Baby Center