Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Newborn Skin Care (Normal) - Brief Version
Caring for the belly button cord
- Try to keep the cord dry.
- Put rubbing alcohol on where the cord attaches to the
skin two times a day. Keep cleaning the cord with
rubbing alcohol until 1 week after the cord falls off.
- Put rubbing alcohol on the cord after a bath.
- Keep diapers folded down under the cord. This helps the
cord stay dry and helps it fall off. Most often, it
will fall off after about 7 to 10 days.
Giving your baby a bath
- For the first few days, just wash your baby with a
clean, wet sponge. After the belly button cord falls
off, you can give your baby a bath.
- When you bathe your baby, make sure the water is
lukewarm, not too hot or too cold. Keep the water below
your baby's belly button.
- Use a wet, soft cloth or sponge. Use tap water without
soap or use a gentle soap such as Dove.
- Gently wash the baby's face. Be careful not to get
soapy water in your baby's eyes.
- Wash between your baby's legs. Do not use soap in this
area. Rinse the area with plain water, and wipe from
the front to back. This helps stop redness or soreness.
- Bathe your baby every day in hot weather. In cool
weather, bathe your baby one to two times a week.
Cutting your baby's fingernails and toenails
- Use clippers or special baby scissors. Trim your baby's
nails once a week after a bath. Then the nails are soft
and easy to cut.
Changing your baby's diaper
- Change your baby often. Rinse your baby's bottom with a
- If you have a boy, gently clean his scrotum (the round
pouch of skin between his legs). If you have a girl,
gently clean between her legs and between the creases of
skin around her vagina.
Washing your baby's hair
- Wash your baby's hair one to two times a week. Use a
baby shampoo that doesn't sting the eyes. Don't worry
about hurting the soft spot on the head. It is well
Don't use lotions, creams, or powder
- Most of the time, new babies do not need lotions,
creams, or powders. You may want to use hand lotion or
cream if your baby's skin gets dry or cracked.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems