Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Newborn Skin Care (Normal)
You may bathe your baby daily, but for the first few months,
two or three times a week is often enough for a full bath.
Clean your baby's drools and spills as they happen and keep
the face, hands and diaper area clean.
Keep the bath water level below the naval or give sponge
baths until a few days after the navel cord has fallen off.
Submerging the cord could cause infection or interfere with
its drying out and falling off. Getting the cord a little
wet doesn't matter.
Use tap water without any soap or with a nondrying soap such
as Dove. Don't forget to wash the face; otherwise,
chemicals from milk and food can build up and cause an
irritated rash. Also rinse off the eyelids with water.
Don't forget to wash the genital area. However, when you
wash the inside of the female genital area (the vulva),
never use soap. Rinse the area with plain water and wipe
from front to back to prevent irritation. This practice and
the avoidance of any bubble baths before puberty may prevent
many urinary tract infections and vaginal irritations. At
the end of the bath, rinse your baby well; soap residue can
Circumcision Care and Problems
Foreskin Care and Problems
After you remove a wet diaper, just rinse your baby's bottom
off with a wet washcloth. After soiled diapers, rinse the
bottom under running warm water or in a basin of warm water.
After you clean the rear, cleanse the genital area by wiping
front to back with a wet cloth. If you have a boy,
carefully clean the scrotum. If you have a girl, carefully
clean the creases of the vaginal lips (labia).
Wash your baby's hair once or twice a week with a special
baby shampoo that doesn't sting the eyes. Don't be
concerned about hurting the anterior fontanelle (soft spot
on the head). It is well protected.
Lotions, Ointments, and Powder
Newborn skin normally does not require any ointments or
creams. Especially avoid putting any oil, ointment, or
greasy substance on your baby's skin because this will
almost always block the small sweat glands and lead to
pimples or a heat rash. If the skin starts to become dry
and cracked, use a baby lotion, hand lotion, or moisturizing
cream twice a day.
Cornstarch powder can be helpful for preventing rashes in
areas of friction. Avoid talcum powder because it can cause
a serious chemical pneumonia if inhaled into the lungs.
Try to keep the cord dry. Put rubbing alcohol on the base
of the cord (where it attaches to the skin) twice a day
(including after the bath) until 1 week after it falls off.
Air exposure helps the cord stay dry and eventually fall
off, so keep diapers folded down below the cord area. If
you are using disposable diapers, you can cut out a wedge of
diaper with a scissors so the cord is not covered.
Fingernails and Toenails
Cut the toenails straight across to prevent ingrown
toenails. When you cut fingernails, round off the corners
of the nails so your baby doesn't scratch himself or others.
Trim the nails once a week after a bath, when the nails are
softened by the bath. Use clippers or special baby
scissors. This job usually takes two people unless you do
it while your child is asleep.