Until the cord has fallen off, which usually occurs between the second and fourth week, you should sponge your baby with water or a soapy cloth and water, and rinse well. Once the cord has fallen off, you may bathe your infant in a small tub or basin. Always measure the temperature of the water with the inside of your wrist. The water must neither be too hot, nor too cold. You can use a bath seat or a bath ring for your baby. These bath aids will help your baby remain steady during bathing, but they will not prevent your baby from slipping out and falling down. Arrange your supplies nearby so you will not be
distracted reaching for things. NEVER leave infants or small children alone in a tub.
You can wash your infant with a baby body wash and baby shampoo. Dove® soap isgentle and non-drying. Avoid strongly scented soaps such as lavender and berry scents for the first few months.
When cleaning each eye, use a separate, clean, cotton ball and fresh water and gently wipe from the corner of the nose to the outside. When cleaning the nose and ears, clean only what you can see. Do not stick a cotton-tipped applicator in an area you cannot see.
When cleaning an uncircumcised penis, do not try to retract the foreskin. If it slides back easily by itself it can be cleaned, otherwise just clean the outside as you would the rest of the body.
If your baby boy has been circumcised you will need to apply a piece of gauze with Vaseline® or A&D Ointment® to keep the diaper from sticking to the healing area, or follow the directions given to you by the obstetrician. If a ring has been left in place, then no Vaseline is needed. When the swelling has gone down, the ring will naturally slide off.
You may notice a small whitish or yellow area of scab during the first week after the circumcision. This is normal and will disappear during the healing process. Please call us if your baby is bleeding, has a discharge, severe inflammation or fever.
In utero infants are exposed to maternal hormones. At times, a scant amount of vaginal bleeding may occur as these hormones wear off. This is usually very normal and resolves by itself. This should be mentioned to our office at the first checkup so we can check for any other problems.
Remember to clean in between the labia, or folds at the sides of the vagina, with every diaper change. If there is an accumulation of white material inside the labia, gently wipe some of it off at each bath until it is gone.
After you get your baby home, dress her as you dress yourself, adding a hat and covering the feet. If you are comfortable in one layer of clothing, she will be too.
Updated February 2016
Caring For Your Newborn