Your baby has arrived and she brings with her a set of needs. Even if this is not your first child, it is always good to recall each of the steps that have to be followed to take good care of your newborn.
The newborn's hygiene
Clean them every day - or more often if secretions appear - with a cotton pad dampened with a saline solution. Always wipe from the inside to the outside and make sure you check for conjunctivitis and for obstruction of the tear duct.
Clean the outer ear with a cotton pad dampened with a saline solution but do not rub. Do this only occasionally. Do not use cotton buds and avoid prolonged contact with water in order to lessen the risk of inflammation of the ear (otitis).
It is best not to cut your baby's nails before the age of 20-30 days to avoid injuries and fissures. After this period, use curved scissors when cutting their nails. The toenails should be cut in a straight line, whereas the fingernails in a curve that follows the shape of the fingers.
In the case of girls, wipe from top to bottom, separating the labia in the process. In the case of boys, keep an eye on the disappearance of the hydroceles and check for any apparition of physiological phimosis. In both cases dry well, especially at the folds.
Choose a hypoallergenic shampoo with neutral pH, and if you want to use cologne, make sure it is very mild. To avoid the risk of mycosis, dry their hair after every bath and comb it with a comb that has separated teeth and rounded tips, or a brush with very smooth tips. This way you will also avoid the appearance of seborrheic dermatitis, especially if you finish off with a massage using almond oil or vaseline.
The recommended way of putting your baby to sleep is lying on their back, since this helps avoid cot death (sudden infant death syndrome), although you can also place them sideways and alternate their position.
The first rule, which is also the most obvious of rules, is to never leave the baby alone. The water should be lukewarm (93-95º F / 34-35 ºC) and its depth should not exceed 4-6 inches. During the first months you should avoid certain products such as talcum powder and cologne, as they may trigger allergic reactions.
How to bath your baby:
First wet the head, then the torso and extremities, and finally the genitalia. After taking the baby out of the bath, carefully dry the skin folds and the areas underneath the chin, behind the ears, and the area that comes into contact with the nappies.
A piece of advice: Take this opportunity to look for rashes, inflammations, dermatitis on the scalp, and other types of irritations.
The umbilical cord:
Between the 5th and 8th day in the case of vaginal birth, and between the 12th and 15th day in the case of cesarean, the umbilical cord stump tends to fall off. Seek advice from your doctor if during this time you notice a bad smell, blood or secretions or if it does not fall off after one month has gone by. But... how should I clean the umbilical cord stump?
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Take a sterilised piece of gauze by one of its four corners in order to avoid touching the centre, moisten it with 70º alcohol and clean the base of the stump by rotating the piece of gauze around it. Use a new piece of gauze to clean the distal part of the stump, i.e. where the clamp is located.
- After the bath, dry your baby carefully to avoid infections.
- If you do not cover the stump with a piece of gauze, it will take less time to dry and fall off. If you do choose to cover it, use a new piece of gauze moistened with 70º alcohol or clorhexidine.
- After it falls off, it is advisable to continue to clean it using 70º alcohol for at least another 2 to 3 days until it becomes fully healed.
Important: Avoid using merbromin, sulphamides or povidone-iodine.