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Hygiene for Infants

Q: When can I give my infant a tub bath?

A: You should wait until your infant’s umbilical cord stump falls off (usually when baby is about 2 weeks old) before giving your baby a tub bath.  You can sponge bathe your baby until then.

Q: How often should I bathe my infant?

A: Babies do not have to be bathed daily.  If your baby enjoys the bath and you enjoy the routine, it is fine to bathe daily, but soap/baby wash should be used every other day to prevent dry skin.  Wiping baby down with a wet washcloth once daily is generally sufficient.  If baby has a stool that leaks from the diaper, cleaning the diaper area and stool-covered skin with soap and water is recommended.

Q: How should I care for my infant’s nails?

A: Filing a newborn’s nails is the easiest and safest way to make sure your baby does not scratch his/her skin or eyes with long nails.  As you become more comfortable with your baby’s nail care, you can use a pediatric-sized nail clipper or blunt trimming manicure scissors.  The best time to clip a baby’s nails is when your baby is calm and has recently had a bath since the nails are very soft when wet.

Q: Does my infant need diaper cream or ointment with every diaper change?

A: It is not necessary to use diaper cream or ointment with every change if baby’s skin looks healthy and rash-free.  If baby’s skin looks red or irritated, it is safe to use cream or ointment with every diaper change.

Q: Should I use baby lotion on my infant’s dry skin?

A: Babies can have very dry skin around week 2 of life.  It is not necessary to use lotion, but if you choose to, please use an unscented lotion or cream.  If baby seems to have persistently dry skin, please discuss appropriate use of lotions or creams with your baby’s primary care provider.

 

Jillian Grant, APRN