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Newborn Care

Newborn babies can be water bathed just twice a week, unless they get sweaty and dirty, till they are about a month or so old. They may do with a thorough sponge bath instead.

"Dry clean" her

Warm up the bathroom or the room you use to sponge your baby. Close all windows and use a heater in winters, if the room temperature is too low.
Lukewarm water is best for sponging your baby, even in summers.
Keep with you all that you require , whether it is pieces of soft cloth for cleaning her, lukewarm water, mild liquid soap, dry towel, cotton swabs, diaper, nappy or clothes; it will spare you the trouble of getting up in the middle of the process, leaving her crying.
Lay down baby on a soft blanket in winters and on a clean sheet in summers.
Remove one piece of clothing at a time, clean the body part and cover it up. Babies don’t like the idea of being exposed to air. In case of a baby boy, keep his groin area covered with a towel even while you clean his bottom as boys have a typical habit of spraying on you at such times!
Do not use the same cloth to wipe all parts of your child’s body. The bottom, face, gum pads and the rest of the body deserve a separate wash cloth!
Clean her gum pads with a soft damp cloth and brush her little teeth if she already has three to four of them. For brushing, you need to use a baby tooth brush with a pea sized dollop of a baby toothpaste (with a fluoride content of five hundred parts per million) and brush her teeth up and down till they are clean.    
You may start cleaning the face now, taking care to gently wipe the nose, the area behind the ears and the folds of the neck before moving on to the eyes, which can be wiped with a cotton swab , from the inner corner to the outer one. Use a different swab for each eye. Remember not to fiddle with the wax inside her ears, it is meant to be there for protection from dust.
Wipe her tummy, being gentle on the cord area and move on to her back. Wash her little palms with a mild soap since they go into her mouth often and can carry dirt and infection inside. Dress her up after dabbing her dry. Avoid scrubbing her gentle skin.
Move on to her diaper area. For your little girl, clean from front to back to avoid infection. Use soap only on her buttocks. With your baby boy however, you may use soap on his private parts. Don’t forget to clean the creases of your baby’s thighs. Dry your baby’s buttocks with a clean towel and slide a fresh diaper underneath and tab it up after applying a moisturiser advised by your doctor.
If your baby’s head needs cleaning, wash it right in the end to protect her from losing body heat. Recline her body and wipe her head with a soft cloth dipped in warm water containing a mild shampoo. Rework in the same way with plain lukewarm water and remove all traces of the shampoo.
"In case you feel that she is developing small white flakes on her head which could be the beginning of a more serious condition called "cradle cap", you can apply some white vinegar, curd or lemon juice on her scalp and leave it on for ten minutes and then shampoo her hair.  This can also be used as a preventive measure.
Treat the fontanelles on her head gently, but don’t worry about hurting her. "They’re covered with five different layers of skin and the brain is hidden much deeper down, so unless your baby’s head gets pricked with a needle, there’s no reason to worry.
Don’t forget to wash your hands before you start cleaning your baby and after you finish.

Give her a rub-dub

If weather conditions or other reasons make your baby hot and sweaty, don’t hesitate to bathe her with some lukewarm water. Here are some tips to remember for giving a water bath to your child:

Keep your surroundings warm, but never take your baby out in the sun to give her a bath.
Supplies should be kept handy since you cannot leave baby unattended in the bath tub to fetch something.  
Fill baby’s tub about two to three inches with lukewarm water before you get the baby to the bathroom. For the sake of safety, don’t have the tap on with your baby around. Keep in mind that at no cost should the water level go above your baby’s waist in her sitting position.
"If your baby can’t sit yet, support her neck between your arm and forearm or with your palm and use your other hand to wash and clean her.
You can go about cleaning her in the same way as you would while sponging, i.e. starting with her face and then moving to her neck,  torso and the diaper area.
"You must make a conscious effort to clean between the folds of your baby’s skin, i. e. the neck, behind the ears and knees, armpits and the groin region, not forgetting the palms which gather maximum dirt.
"Use either baby soap or a mild moisturising or glycerine soap on her body, but test it for a few days on her. The best of brands may not suit her delicate skin. In case of unpleasant rashes or dryness after using any brand, stop using it immediately and consult your baby’s doctor. It is also essential to use soap on your newborn to clean her dirtier parts like her palms and diaper area, so avoid giving her just a water- bath.
For your baby’s hair, you can use a mild baby shampoo. It is a must to wash her hair twice a week as your baby sweats a lot in this area, even in winters.
If your baby’s cord stump hasn’t fallen off, don’t hesitate to bathe her. Touching the area wouldn’t hurt her, so you can gently clean it with water while bathing her and dry it later.
After you’ve finished washing your newborn and even your older baby in winters, immediately pat her dry with a soft towel and hold her close for a minute wrapped in her towel, to make her warm. This is a major tear-stopper as babies cry during a bath mostly because they’re cold.
If your baby doesn’t like bathing, you can keep her distracted with some tub toys. But if she is a water-baby, then bath time can be turned into a good bonding time with her. You may talk to her or even sing for her. She’s sure to look forward to it everyday!

It’s time to dress up!

Once your baby’s sparkling clean, dry and smiling, apply moisturiser or a little baby oil to her if her skin is dry. You start with these only after your baby is six weeks old. Earlier than that, her skin is thin and delicate and may react to such things. Studies also reveal that after six to eight weeks of life, a baby’s skin reduces the secretion of oil till a little before puberty. So, it needs to be moisturised.
Once you are done with moisturising, put on her nappy or diaper while her upper body is covered with a blanket.
In case you have a newborn, apply some spirit given by your doctor, to her cord stump, before putting on her nappy. This helps it to dry up faster.
Body talcs are a no-no, as they tend to clog skin pores and settle between the folds of her skin. "If you really have to, sprinkle some talc on your palm, away from the baby and apply it on her torso and back.
Dress her up in loose and comfortable clothes and comb her hair with a soft baby brush. In case of any white flakes, gently try to remove them with the brush.
You may want to line your baby’s eyes with "kajal", but restrict yourself to putting just a "tika" on her forehead or toes. "Kajal" can cause allergies and infections and block your baby’s naso-lachrymal duct (a small opening between the nose and the eyes) when she cries and carries the "kajal" in them. Further, the infection may also be carried by your fingers and nails while you apply "kajal" to her delicate eyes.
Do not apply oil to your baby’s head before the age of six months because……….the newborn’s scalp is already oily and extra oil along with sweat lead to formation of seborrhic dermatitis and further develops into a cradle cap.
If you want to pare those tiny nails, don’t try to bite them off, or else you could tear some of the delicate skin along with the thin nail, especially if you child is a newborn. Instead, use an infant nail clipper on her when she’s sleeping.
Finish off with a tickling game to uplift baby’s mood and yours too!

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