Newborn skin is about 20% thinner than adult skin, is poorly protected because it lacks the hydrolipidic film and sebaceous secretion, has a higher pH (degree of acidity) and fewer natural defences. It is in fact a fragile skin that easily loses balance and hydration, becoming dry, scaly, sometimes irritated and red. It is therefore necessary to pay particular attention to all cleaning gestures, both for the way in which they are performed and for the choice of dermo-cosmetic products that are used.
How often should a newborn be bathed?
Not too often: two, three baths a week guarantee the newborn a proper hygiene in full respect of the delicacy of the skin, while parts such as the bottom can also be washed several times a day, as long as only water is used. Ten minutes of immersion in the tub are sufficient: a longer stay in the water would in fact end up excessively impoverishing the skin. Finally, it is important to pay attention to drying, especially in the points where there are skin folds, because the skin that remains moist becomes even more fragile and subject to irritation.
Custom products only
The products used for cleaning babies must be specifically formulated for them. Therefore, detergents for adults are banned which, however delicate, are not suitable for the fragile skin of the newborn. The “tailored” formulas, on the other hand, arise from specific studies and are tested to guarantee maximum tolerability. In any case, at the time of purchase it is always good to check that they have a neutral pH (degree of acidity), for a delicate washing action that respects the fragile skin balance of the little ones, and a composition designed not to irritate the skin and eyes, in the case of shampoos.
How do you bathe a newborn?
The appointment with the baby’s hygiene begins with bathing, which can be done immediately after the stump has fallen. The rules to follow for this gesture of cleanliness and well-being are few and simple. The first is to use only the special plastic trays that have dimensions suitable for newborns, are stable on the support surface and comfortable for both the baby and the mother; moreover they can be easily washed and disinfected to ensure maximum hygiene.
Watch the temperature
The temperature of the water must always be checked with a thermometer: it must in fact be around 32-35°; in the winter season the room can also be heated so that the little one does not get cold.
When you immerse the baby in the water of the tub it is essential to always support his neck and head with one hand since he is not yet able to do it on his own. With the other hand you can wash the tummy, the feet and the little legs. Finally, you can turn the newborn so that it rests its tummy on a forearm while you proceed with the other hand to wash its back and bottom.
Even after feeding
The ideal time for the bath? There is no one that is the same for everyone but only the one that the baby prefers. There are no preclusions whatsoever: you can decide to take a bath even after feeding: with a full belly, the baby is in a moment of complete relaxation and can be washed calmly, then ready for bed.
How to wash baby’s hair without bath?
Whether they are few or many, hair should always be washed with a certain frequency. It can be done at bath time using a very soft sponge, preferably natural, soaked in water and gently massaging the scalp. If you wish, you can proceed with cleaning even without taking a bath: the important thing during the operation is to always keep your head slightly backwards to prevent the water and shampoo from dripping onto your face and eyes. And scrupulously check the temperature of the water so that it isn’t too hot: keeping it in a jug simplifies the operation a lot. The moment of cleaning is also ideal for giving a delicate massage to the scalp, proceeding with light circular movements of the fingertips: it helps to relax the baby and induce sleep.
How to clean babies eyes and ears?
To clean the eyes, a sterile gauze moistened with physiological water is enough. Once a day is sufficient, but if the little eye gets dirty often and has stringy secretions, the opinion of the pediatrician is necessary.
As for the ears, the part is very delicate and should only be cleaned on the outside, at the level of the auricle, being careful not to press too hard and not to push into the ear canal. Water may be enough for washing, while a very soft cotton cloth can be used to dry the ear (it is important to do it with particular care to prevent problems such as otitis). Cotton swabs? They are granted, but only to clean the auricle and nothing more. In any case, it is good to keep in mind that earwax represents a natural protection for the ears of little ones: therefore it is useless to clean them every day, but only a couple of times a week.
How to clean the gums of a newborn?
Normally it is not necessary to clean the mouth in newborns, but if the mother wishes, she can take a gauze soaked in saline solution and pass it gently on the gums and in the oral cavity to remove any milk residues. When the first teeth appear, the toothbrush can be used without toothpaste until the little one is able to rinse his mouth.
When the child manages to brush his teeth on his own it is good that he always does it under the watchful eye of the parents who should check that he is proceeding correctly by carefully cleaning both dental arches. What matters in this phase is to make sure that cleaning your teeth is always experienced as a game, not as a constraint, otherwise you risk having the opposite effect to the desired one.
When do you start cleaning newborn noses?
When the baby is just born, it is not recommended to wash the nose or use aspirators as they can compromise the very delicate mucous membrane of the nose which, when excessively stressed, ends up producing more mucus. On the other hand, the very young have a natural ability, through sneezing and regurgitation, to solve the problem of excessive secretions by themselves. Only if you notice breathing problems should you contact your pediatrician who can recommend adequate nose cleaning strategies in addition to any medications.
How to clean the baby’s bottom?
Washing this delicate part should be done at each diaper change to preserve the balance of the area and effectively prevent irritation and redness. In general, it is sufficient to use only warm water, especially in the first days of life, but if desired, a delicate detergent based on rice starch and other vegetable substances with an emollient and calming action can be added, provided that it is in a small dose. Then nothing prevents you from passing the baby’s butt under warm running water (making sure it doesn’t suddenly become hot).
How to wash the private parts of babies?
While washing the genital area, pay attention to the movement of the hand which in girls must always go from front to back to prevent fecal germs from transferring to the genital area causing irritation or infection. Always in girls it is also important to remember to cleanse the vulvar area, between the labia majora and minora. In boys who still have the terminal part of the penis covered by a thin skin, it is advisable to wash only the external area. In older children, however, the foreskin can be gently lowered and the tip of the penis washed to remove any deposits of smegma (a substance secreted by the genitals, mixed with skin cells, sebum and moist materials from urine).
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The information contained on this site is not intended and should in no way replace the direct relationship between health professionals and the user. It is therefore advisable to always consult your doctor and/or specialists.