Although your baby is no longer a newborn, it’s still a good idea to keep clothes as practical as possible. Stretchy body suits, t-shirt tops, cotton elastic waist pants and tops with envelope necks that stretch over heads make dressing and undressing easier. Read up on dressing a baby for more ideas.
As she gets older and is sleeping less, you’ll probably get out and about more. So make sure she has a hat and other sun smart clothes that will protect her from harmful UV rays.
Until your baby is about six months old, you can continue washing her in a little tub (or even the kitchen sink!). But as soon as she can sit up, you can move to the regular family bath. This is also when babies can become more adventurous so ensure bath safety is kept top-of-mind at all times.
You can bathe your baby each evening or less frequently provided she has a daily top and tail. Stick with non-soap cleanser (it won’t irritate the skin like soap can) and follow the basic ‘wash order’ you used when she was a newborn:
- wash the face first
- the body second
- the genitals last.
After a bath is a good time to massage your baby.
Baby girls’ genitals should always be washed front to back to avoid urinary infections.
To trim nails, you can use a small pair of ordinary nail scissors or child nail clippers. (You can try a nail file but beware of filing delicate fingertip skin.) If you feel up to using nail clippers, then be careful to gently press and hold the fingertip skin away from the nail when clipping. And remember to stop as soon as your baby protests or pulls her hand away – start again later or when she’s sleeping. A treat or a favourite toy could help her get over a bit of anxiety. Even if you just want to press on with it, it’s not worth it if she’s likely to develop a fear of it, which will make nail trimming almost impossible when she gets older.
Remember to always clip toe nails straight across. Never round the edges, as it can lead to ingrown toenails.
Most babies get their first teeth between six to 10 months, although a few don’t get them till about 12 months. You can start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear. Toothpaste, even the baby variety, isn’t recommended until your child is two years old. Instead, you can use a clean washcloth to gently rub the teeth clean twice a day. After breakfast and before bed are good times to give it a go. But good oral health practices should start even before your baby’s first tooth appears.
You can prevent tooth decay by cleaning your child’s teeth and gums regularly and avoiding sugary foods and drinks.
In the first few years of your child’s life you’re going to change a lot of nappies – around 6000, in fact, so choosing the right kind of nappy is important. In the end, your choice of nappy will depend on what factors are most important to you and your family.
Nappy changes become less frequent as your baby gets older although you can still expect at least six to eight changes a day. Remember: lots of wet nappies is a good sign – it shows that your baby is getting all the fluids she needs.
And don’t be surprised if her nappies become a little more ‘whiffy’ – it’s common for poo to get more smelly when babies start eating solids.
Understanding and examining your baby’s poo and wee isn’t disgusting – it’s actually one of the best ways you can monitor her health.
As your baby gets stronger and quicker, constant rolling and kicking can turn nappy changing into an endurance test. The main thing is to get through it as quickly as possible while making sure your baby is safe at all times.
If your baby won’t stay still during nappy changing, try distracting him with a song or a favourite toy.
To avoid nappy rash, change your baby’s nappy as soon as possible after a poo (you may need to check with a sniff or quick peek). Poo is acidic and can actually ‘burn’ the skin, which – aside from other obvious reasons – is why you want to change a ‘number two’ nappy straight away.
You can apply a dollop of nappy rash cream right where it counts to prevent rashes. If her skin is raw with severe nappy rash, don’t wipe – instead, rinse with water and gently pat dry.
If you can give it some air time by letting her go bare bottom for a little while, that can help it heal. If not, apply lots of nappy rash cream to create a barrier and check the rash to make sure it’s healing.
Changing babies' nappies
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This short video gives you a step-by-step demonstration of how to change disposable and cloth nappies. It offers some hygiene and general health tips about changing nappies, cleaning cloth and reusable nappies, and cleaning baby bottoms.