Hygiene is important for anyone taking care of children, and is one of the most effective ways we have to protect ourselves – and others – from illness.
Cleaning baby’s eyes, ears and nose: basics
You can clean your baby’s eyes, nose and ears when you’re bathing him. Water on its own is fine, because the skin on your baby’s face is too sensitive for soap.
Steps for cleaning baby’s face
Your baby might get anxious or irritated when you try to clean his face. Singing a song might distract him. But sometimes it’s good just to be quick and get on with it.
Use special baby nail scissors or an emery board. Work with someone else if it helps – one holds the newborn as the other trims the nails. You can try trimming your baby’s nails when he’s asleep, in the highchair or while singing a favourite song.
Wash your hands before handling your baby’s umbilical cord. Clean the area with water. Make sure the stump is dry after bathing. To help the stump heal faster, avoid covering it with plastic pants and nappies. Fold nappies away from the stump if possible. Avoid touching the cord stump as much as possible.
When bathing your baby girl, wet a cotton ball, hold her legs apart and wipe between the labia with the cotton ball. Start at the front and gently wipe backwards.
For baby boys, gently rinse the genital area with water while bathing.
Give your baby some ‘nappy-free’ time, and air her skin to prevent nappy rash.