Let’s be honest!
Looking after your child’s hygiene can be a nerve-wracking experience, from changing diapers to giving them showers.
Don’t worry, though!
We’ll show you all the hygiene tips, tricks, and essentials on how to keep your baby girl or boy ALWAYS NICE and TIDY from head to toe!
Newborn Babies Hygiene: A Complete Guide for Parents
Cleaning Your Baby’s Face, Head, Hair, and Scalp
Don’t you want your baby to look adorable? The best way to do that is by keeping your baby’s faces NEAT and SPOTLESS 24/7.
You should achieve just that as long as you follow these easy steps:
- Grab a cotton ball/cotton swab, drench it in plain warm water, and squeeze out the leftover liquid.
- Gently wipe your baby’s eye INSIDE-OUT using the wet cotton ball (NOTE: Don’t put the swab inside your baby’s ears.).
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the other eye.
- Soak a soft cloth in plain warm water and extract the extra liquid by squeezing the washcloth.
- Gently wipe the rest of your baby’s face with the washcloth in a GENTLE manner (NOTE: Make sure there’s NO water entering your baby’s ears.).
- Once you’re done cleaning up your baby’s face, use a towel to keep your infant dry.
What if your child already has some hair at a young age?
Follow these hygiene tips so that your baby’s hair can stay clean and neat ALL THE TIME!
- If you want to give your baby a haircut, use baby hair clippers to cut the hair that’s growing from the back (NOTE: If you’re unsure how to cut your baby’s hair, seek help from a stylist or head to a salon that can treat your baby’s hair).
- Are you all for hair straightening? Use combs and a soft baby brush to reduce the curly parts and practice proper blood flow for your child.
Nasal, Teeth, Mouth, and Oral Hygiene
We’ve already cleaned up your baby’s head and face areas, which is a good start! The next set of body parts that we need to tidy up are the teeth and nose.
This procedure should help you eliminate mucus and unwanted germs from staying in your kids’ nostrils.
We will be using the nasal aspirator because it is SAFER and MORE USER-FRIENDLY than a bulb syringe.
- Squeeze the air out of the bulb area and GENTLY place the tip inside the nostril (NOTE: Don’t forcefully push it into the nose).
- Slowly loosen your fingers’ grip on the bulb to pull the mucus out of the nose.
- Squeeze the mucus out place it on tissue paper.
- MAKE SURE to rinse the bulb properly with fresh water before and after use. Washing it will prevent any germs or mucus from entering the nasal aspirator.
Oral Hygiene (Teeth and Mouth)
Feeding your kids with nutritious and delicious food is a great way to keep them healthy! However, they might develop cavity buildup and bad breath if they don’t practice proper oral hygiene.
Fortunately, we’ve got an easy step-by-step method on how to brush their teeth after every meal!
- If your child DOES NOT HAVE fully-developed teeth, use a silicone finger toothbrush and plain warm water to brush your baby’s gums.
- If your baby already has teeth, make gentle circles using a soft toothbrush so that the baby toothpaste reaches the TOP, BACK, and FRONT parts of the teeth.
- Make sure they spit out the toothpaste AFTER brushing.
If your children don’t enjoy brushing their teeth, you can try livening up the mood with some nursery rhymes to help them pass the time.
You may also want to buy the SOFTEST toothbrush products to ensure a PAIN-FREE brushing experience.
Hands and Nails
The hands are favorite spots for germs to enter and rule over your baby’s body.
These germs come in bunches (2-10 million on your fingertips, to be exact) and can stay there for about 2-3 hours.
- Get a stool so that your baby can reach the sink.
- Apply warm water (NOTE: Check the temperature first to avoid your child’s hands from getting burnt.).
- Use mild soap and rub it around BOTH HANDS for 20 seconds.
- Gently rinse again with warm water.
- Dry your baby’s hands with a clean and unused towel or tissue paper.
You might think handwashing already completes the job, but in reality, it DOESN’T!
REMEMBER: Some microbes and unwanted germs can remain underneath your baby’s nails.
One of the best solutions is to wash the nail area to reduce germ transmission on the different body parts.
Another way we propose is carefully trimming your baby’s nails using baby nail scissors. Make sure to be aware of the following when going for this option:
- Do it in an area with EXCELLENT lighting for BETTER vision.
- Ask for extra help to keep your baby still.
- Try to keep the mood light, so your baby doesn’t get scared (bring a toy, sing nursery rhymes, etc.)
Sorry parents, but we’re going to have to talk about your babies’ private parts.
Kidding aside, caring for your baby’s genitals is another non-negotiable if you want to keep your children virus-free in the long run.
For a Baby Boy (Penis)
- Clean your infant’s penis using warm water and a soft cotton ball.
- Pat it CAREFULLY with an unused towel.
For uncircumcised baby boys, all you have to clean is the outer part of your child’s foreskin.
What if my son is already circumcised?
Apply pawpaw cream or petroleum jelly to moisten the front part of the nappy. Doing so will prevent your son’s penis from sticking towards the nappy.
For a Baby Girl (Labia)
- Soak a cotton ball with warm water.
- Hold your daughter’s legs apart from one another and gently wipe between the labia using the cotton ball (NOTE: Begin from the front and GENTLY wipe in a backward motion).
- Use additional cotton balls if you need to repeat the wiping process.
- Dry your baby’s genitals and the surrounding area using a soft and clean towel.
CAUTION: DO NOT use deodorants and douches because they contain chemicals that could harm the natural chemical balance of your daughter’s vagina.
Cleaning Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord
This body part is quite tricky because it’s located close to the belly button. Whatever you do, BE SUPER DUPER CAREFUL when cleaning your baby’s umbilical cord.
There are two situations you need to pay close attention to when cleaning the cord area.
If Your Child Has an Umbilical Cord Stump
Here are SOME METHODS you can apply if your baby has an umbilical cord stump by the belly button.
- Keep it dry by exposing it to hot air (NOTE: Keep the diaper area FOLDED so it doesn’t cover the stump.).
- If you want to wet the stump a little, go for a sponge bath to maintain its dryness.
Whatever you do, DON’T pull off the stump ON YOUR OWN. Let it fall off NATURALLY to avoid any complications.
You won’t have to worry about it lasting forever. It will fall off your baby’s skin two weeks after birth.
If Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Is Intact
If your baby DOES NOT have an umbilical stump (meaning it’s 100% INTACT), so much the better. It’s just a matter of keeping it clean and germ-free 24/7.
These methods should be enough to drive unwanted bacteria away from the umbilical cord.
- Briefly inspect the cord for any signs of infection (smelly cord, pus, etc.)
- Clean urine or poop found in the cord area using a cotton swab, soap, and lukewarm water.
- Dry your baby’s cord using a soft cloth or towel.
CAUTION: DO NOT use lotion, alcohol, baby powder, or barrier cream when cleaning the umbilical cord. These may cause skin infections (yes, even baby powder!).
Bath Time and Skin Care
Ah yes, BATH TIME!
This may be the most enduring and hassle-filled hygiene activity, but you need to give your child essential bathing experiences for a healthy lifestyle.
ALWAYS attend to your baby during their bath time. DON’T leave them unattended for even a split second.
Sponge Bath for Newborns
You need to be EXTRA CAREFUL when giving baths to newborn babies.
That’s why we suggest giving them a sponge bath first instead of bringing them straight to the tub so that none of you will have any massive accidents or difficulties.
- Remove your baby’s clothes and wrap them in a towel to expose ONLY the areas you want to clean.
- Soak the sponge with warm water and soap. Use this to clean your baby’s body ONE AT A TIME (ears, nose, neck, elbows, knees, and spaces between fingers and toes).
- Remove your child’s diaper to clean the belly button and genitals.
- Pat your baby using a dry and soft cloth (NOTE: DO NOT RUB to prevent skin irritation.).
- You’re done with the sponge bath!
Is your child ready to level up for a tub bath? If yes, make sure to still proceed WITH CAUTION to ensure a safe bath time experience.
- Fill the tub with 2-3 inches of warm water (NOTE: It must be WARM and not HOT).
- Gently rinse your baby’s skin using a soft washcloth. Keep the eyes protected when rinsing.
- Use gentle baby shampoo/baby wash to treat your baby’s hair.
- Make a cup-shaped position using your hands to pour warm water on your child’s chest. Doing so will keep them warm throughout the shower.
- Pat your baby dry using a dry and unused towel.
- Apply lotion to keep your baby’s skin moist.
- Insert a fresh diaper and apply diaper ointment to avoid skin irritation.
Detox Baby Baths
Aside from a traditional tub bath, another type of bath you may want to give your baby is a detox baby bath. This can reduce the amount of toxins and chemicals that enter your baby’s skin.
Besides keeping these toxins away, detox baths also provide essential minerals like magnesium and sulfate. These minerals do the following:
- Keeps the muscles relaxed
- Absorbs nutrients
- Delivers pain relief and lowers chances of inflammation
- Boosts immune system
- Normalizes enzyme activity
The best time to give your child a detox bath is when they feel sick or after they’ve taken medication.
The Use of Organic Baby Bath Products
As a protective parent, we’re sure you want to keep your baby protected 24/7! That includes keeping them away from unwanted toxic chemicals during their bathing times.
Fortunately, various organic baby bath products DON’T rely on herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers.
Some of these organic soap products can be vegan, fair trade, or even gluten-free.
You can go over a few examples in our Buying Guide on Organic & Non-Toxic Baby Bath Products.
REMEMBER: The more organic your bath product is, the safer and better it is for your baby’s skin care.
For Babies and Toddlers With Curly Hair
Just like adults, babies with curly hair will need special care using the right hair products!
If your baby falls under this category, you can go through our list of baby shampoos for curly hair for some great options.
Using Ivory Soap: Is It Safe?
Ivory soap is NOT AS GENTLE as soaps like Dove, Basis, or other unscented soaps all over the market.
However, it’s still a safe option for babies. Here’s why:
- There are NO HARMFUL PARABENS included.
- Ivory soap DOES NOT contain aluminum compounds that may cause cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
That said, it’s still advisable for you to consult your doctor, especially if your child has sensitive skin or other pre-existing skin conditions.
Using Natural Baby Lotion After Bathing
As mentioned earlier, you need to put lotion after your child takes a bath to maintain moisture on the skin — even better, non-toxic and natural baby lotion.
Newborns have naturally moist skin, but it tends to dry up due to hot, dry air.
It also doesn’t help that most babies are prone to eczema and skin irritation, so applying a natural lotion packed with Vitamins A-D will keep your child’s skin moist and protected from dryness.
Baby Oil: Does It Expire?
YES. Baby oil expires.
Baby oil contains some ingredients that break down, thus making it MORE sticky and LESS fragrant.
Most brands usually include an expiry date somewhere in the packaging, but you won’t have difficulty determining whether the oil is already expired.
Here are some things to consider when checking for the oil’s expiration on your own:
- Different smell (check if it’s SOUR)
- Less fragrance
- Extra stickiness
- Uneven texture
Essential Oil: Is It Safe?
Essential oil utilizes MANY natural ingredients and extracts. These include:
- Citrus lemon
- Tea tree
That means these oils can soothe the skin, treat wounds, and relaxes your mind from the stress of EVERYDAY LIFE.
If it can benefit you, it can certainly ALSO help your baby.
Essential oils improve their sleep habits, reduce anxiety, and cure some burns.
However, DON’T just randomly put the essential oil on your baby’s skin. MAKE SURE to know the correct dilution ratios and steps for proper application.
What Happens if My Baby Swallows Bath Water?
Don’t panic right away, Mrs. Doubtfire!
Yes, we want to keep your lovable little ones PROTECTED, but there may be instances where they swallow bath water by accident.
Here’s the GOOD NEWS: All your baby has to do is spit out the swallowed water, and they should be A-OK.
Dry drowning won’t be a problem unless you submerged your baby’s head underwater.
The real problem is if your baby swallowed SOAPY WATER because some bath products contain chemicals and surfactants that may result in vomiting or minor stomach bugs.
Follow these tips to prevent your baby from swallowing bath water:
- Have your child wear a baby bath visor or cap
- The water SHOULD be shallow (1-3 inches MAX)
- Lay down a bath mat to make the tub LESS SLIPPERY
Diapers, Diaper Changing, and Diaper Bags
Diaper Change Tips
Changing diapers from day to day can be taxing and gross. However, you NEED to do this to promote a hygienic and healthy lifestyle for your baby.
You wouldn’t want the dirty diaper to store all those germs because it may cause MANY infections in the long run.
We’ve got some tips on how to make your diaper change sessions MORE sanitary and effective.
- Pick a decent location to reduce the spread of germs. ALWAYS disinfect the changing area.
- Remove the used diaper. Place it in the trash can to avoid germ infection.
- Cover your baby’s genitals using a soft cloth to avoid skin irritation (If your baby feels uncomfortable, distract them by giving them toys or singing nursery rhymes.).
- Gently roll up the diaper and seal the adhesive tabs.
- Wash your baby’s hands as soon as you’re done changing the diaper.
- Don’t forget to ALSO wash your hands with soap or alcogel if you’re too far from the sink.
Using Natural Diapers
That’s right, there are even safe and natural diapers on the market!
These kinds of diapers are safer than traditional diapers for your baby’s delicate skin, so you can worry less about your baby’s messes leading to diaper rashes.
They’re also more eco-friendly, so that’s a plus!
How Many Diapers Do I Need?
Newborns usually need a diaper change 10-12 times a day, while infants go through around 8-10 diapers.
Toddlers, on the other hand, only need a diaper change around 6-8 times per day.
If you’re trying to make computations in your head right now, you can stop right there. We have a full guide of how many diapers you’ll be needing, so don’t sweat it!
Organic Cloth Diapers: Are They Better?
Other than disposable diapers, you can go for even more eco-friendly and organic cloth diapers!
These are the SAFEST for babies because of the star material of organic cotton! You also don’t have to worry about contributing to any waste because these are 100% reusable.
Just make sure to wash and clean them ASAP after your baby makes a mess to keep your baby’s bum clean and sanitized.
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
Unlike disposable diapers wherein you need HUNDREDS to get through a month, you’ll only need around 20-30 cloth diapers to last your baby’s entire diaper phase.
This will still depend on what cloth diaper type you use, but it’s a general number you can use for reference
Should I Bleach Cloth Diapers?
You CAN bleach cloth diapers, but you don’t HAVE to.
However, bleaching them once a month is a good practice to ensure that your baby’s cloth diapers are sanitized and clean for constant reuse!
Having a Handy Diaper Bag at ALL Times
Being prepared with everything you need inside one bag is VITAL when dealing with unpredictable baby messes!
Better yet, having an eco-friendly and non-toxic baby diaper bag is GREAT for storing all your baby essentials.
These products have all the compartments and spaces you need, so don’t worry about stuffing them in with baby wipes, diapers, extra clothes, and baby bottles!
General Baby Hygiene Guidelines to Remember
Wash Your Hands Before Handling Your Baby
Whatever you do, ALWAYS keeps your hands CLEAN and GERM-FREE before doing anything with your child.
You might be reading this by the time the pandemic is over, but it’s still good practice to apply proper handwashing to be safe and sure.
Be Careful With Pets
If you have pets at home, keep them away from your child when bathing them or changing their diapers.
Your pet puppies and kittens have their own set of shampoo and bath products.
If you mix up baby bath products or your pets accidentally smell or ingest your soap, they might have violent reactions or succumb to diseases.
Sanitize All Feeding Equipment
Disinfect any food or bottle-feeding equipment coming from the grocery store or any outdoor area. We would not want germs from the outside world to make their way to your child.
When in doubt, wash ALL FEEDING EQUIPMENT with HOT and soapy water. Luke-warm water won’t cut it. Rinse from top to bottom so that you don’t miss a spot.
You can also opt for the sterilization route by boiling all your food items in a pot of hot water or using an antibacterial solution.
These methods are capable of keeping your baby’s food CLEAN 24/7!
Have a Good Stock of Non-Toxic Baby Wipes
Going to the bathroom repeatedly can be a hassle in the middle of mealtime, especially if the dining room is far from the bathroom sink.
What’s the solution so that I don’t go back and forth?
This is where natural, non-toxic baby wipes come into play. These are LIGHTWEIGHT, meaning you can bring them around.
Baby Wipes Ingredients
THE BEST PART of non-toxic wet wipes: They don’t have any strong fragrances and hazardous chemicals that may harm your child!
Harmful ingredients in regular baby wipes like parabens and triclosan are a BIG NO-NO, so make sure to pick the safest ones!
How Many Baby Wipes Do I Need to Buy?
We highly encourage you to have a steady supply of baby wipes because you never know when you’ll need them.
Around 540-1080 baby wipes per month is a good number to keep in mind!
Why Is Newborn Hygiene Important?
Hygiene should be part and parcel of everyday life to keep yourself healthy and immune from any infection. The SAME applies to your newborn children!
Keep in mind that a baby’s organs and systems ARE NOT fully developed, making them MORE PRONE to diseases (REMEMBER: We’re still in the COVID-19 pandemic era!).
Practicing proper hygiene habits at home is beneficial NOT ONLY for the baby but ALSO for the parent.
Think about it: As an adult, you have to deal with OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES such as paying the bills, reporting for work, etc.
The last thing you need is for your child to suffer an illness. You wouldn’t want to run that risk, especially in these difficult times.
To prove you should take your children’s hygiene seriously, the next section will show you some illnesses they might experience if you let your guard down one bit.
The Effects of Poor Hygiene on the Health of Your Baby
We’re sorry to break it to you, but not practicing proper hygiene will have consequences for your child. The last thing you want is for them to get sick due simply because you let your guard down.
We don’t mean to scare you or anything. You can easily avoid these illnesses if you do your part in helping your child maintain good hygiene.
Styes are the eye version of pimples.
The buildup of bacteria and oil glands happens around the eyelid or eyelashes areas, thus resulting in these annoying red bumps.
Fortunately, they’re NOT as contagious compared to other eye infections. Here’s what you have to do to treat your child’s sty EFFECTIVELY:
- Clean their eyelids
- Teach them proper handwashing habits
- Apply warm water or a warm washcloth on the infected eye
Of course, MOST babies aren’t 100 percent immune to having stomach bugs. These can occur ANYWHERE, from your home to the daycare center.
HAND WASHING is the ULTIMATE solution to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering your stomach.
Make sure to remind your children to wash their hands ALL THE TIME, especially after using the bathroom or coughing.
Another byproduct of bad personal hygiene is food poisoning.
In this case, you should watch out for contaminated food, which can happen during the production or cooking stage.
How can food become contaminated? These examples should give you a better picture:
- Cross-contamination of bacteria (salmonella, norovirus, etc.)
- You touch the food with your dirty hands.
- The food you give your baby is way past the expiry date.
Indeed, DON’T FORGET to wash your hands and check the expiry dates just to be safe.
Signs of Poor Baby Hygiene
You might think your child is doing alright because they’re not experiencing any diseases or acting unusual compared to other days.
However, you MUST be wary of the different signs that lead to poor baby hygiene.
You won’t have to worry about playing the guessing game. We’ve listed down the signs for you.
- Yellow fingernails
- Blocked sweat pores
- Flaky skin
- White “yuck” spots
- Cradle cap/dandruff
- Hairs falling off
- Diaper rash with fungi
If your baby experiences ANY of these signs, DO NOT PANIC! Consult your doctor or go to the nearest clinic to have your child treated ASAP.
As most experts would say, PREVENTION is BETTER than the CURE!
When Can Newborns Have Their First Bath?
Now, this is a trick question.
You might think you can start bathing your baby the moment they start coming out of the mother’s womb.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends giving newborns their FIRST EVER SHOWER 24 hours after birth.
Why Can’t They Take a Bath Right Away?
Delaying your child’s first bath will prevent illnesses like hypothermia and hypoglycemia from happening.
In short, you ensure your child maintains normal blood temperature and blood sugar levels.
You also want to keep vernix, a natural moisturizer that coats the baby’s skin, UNTOUCHED to avoid dryness or any injuries to take place.
How to Maintain Hygiene for Babies
Everything we discussed early on already emphasizes the need to maintain good hygiene for your baby.
However, you SHOULD NOT let your guard down one bit. Practicing good hygiene habits EVERY DAY will go a long way.
These simple acts will keep your child MORE IMMUNE to various diseases and health diseases.
- Give your newborn SUFFICIENT sleeping time (According to the National Sleep Foundation, they need 14-17 hours of sleep).
- Make sure your child drinks ENOUGH water (preferably 0.5-5 cups a day).
- Teach your baby how to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- If your child makes a mess during mealtime, help them clean up the dining table.
- Remind them to wash their hands DAILY during their trips to the bathroom.
- AVOID exposing them to gadgets to prevent eye problems.
- DO NOT scold or punish your child if they make any mistakes.
There you have it!
Nurturing your baby girl or boy with utmost care and protection is essential to keep them healthy from early childhood to adulthood.
Practicing proper hygiene is a GOOD PLACE TO START!
Applying these habits daily will keep those viruses away in the early development stages of their lives.
This may seem like a long list of hygiene tips and procedures, but TRUST US, you and your baby are going to need them for the long run.
STAY SAFE and HEALTHY always!
October 18, 2022 – minor content and formatting edits