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Newborn skincare and hygiene

Here are some tips for caring for your newborn's skin:


  • Gather all supplies before starting bath.
  • Do not leave your baby unattended in or out of the water.
  • Baby may be given a tub bath or sponge bath.
  • Use only lukewarm water for bathing.
  • Use a mild soap and water.
  • Don’t use soaps or lotion on face and hands.
  • Wipe eyes from inner to outer part of eye.
  • Do not clean ears or nose with cotton swabs (Q-tips).
  • Keep water out of your baby’s ears.
  • Use football hold when washing hair.
  • Support your baby’s neck when tub bathing.

Skin care

  • Use only a little soap, lotion or powder. An allergic reaction or clogging of pores may result from using too much.
  • Keep nails clipped with nail clipper, blunt scissors or emery board to prevent your baby from scratching himself. Newborns’ skin grows up under the fingernail, so use clippers or scissors carefully.
  • Keep your baby out of the sun. Do not use sun screen before 6 months of age.
  • Cradle cap (thick dandruff on the scalp)
    • Wash hair 1-2 times per week.
    • Brush area with a soft brush once or twice a day.
  • Pimples/rash (milea)
    • Do not put oils or lotion on the rash or try to squeeze the pimples. Pimples or rash will gradually disappear.

Cord care

  • Clean cord around base and stump with warm water.
  • Keep the cord clean and dry.
  • Keep diaper below level of cord until cord comes off (usually in seven to 14 days).
  • Notify doctor if area is red or has bad odor.
  • When cord falls off , there may be a small amount of bleeding. Apply light pressure with a clean tissue to stop bleeding.
  • Notify doctor if bleeding continues.

Hygiene for boys

  • If your baby is not circumcised:
    • Do not try to force the foreskin back.
  • If your baby is circumcised:
    • Do not lay on stomach for the first 24 — 48  hours after circumcision.
    • Notify physician if you notice increased redness or bleeding that does not stop.
    • When healed, push foreskin back during bath, but do not force.
    • For Plastibell method of circumcision:
      • Keep area clean and dry.
      • Do not apply Vaseline or other ointment to penis until plastibell falls off (one week).
    •  For Gomco method of circumcision:
      • Apply white petroleum jelly to gauze pad and place over penis before fastening diaper. 
      • Use until penis is dry.

Hygiene for girls

  • Baby girls may have a sticky discharge, streaked with blood, from the vaginal area. This is caused by the mother’s hormones and will disappear in four to eight weeks. The discharge may stick to the skin; don’t try to wash it off . In time it will go away.
  • Gently spread labia and wash with soft cloth.
  • Always clean genital area from front to back.
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