2. Bathing and skin care

Umbilical Cord Care

Umbilical Cord Care

​The first few weeks after your baby is born, you’ll need to keep the stump of the umbilical cord clean and dry as it shrivels and eventually falls off.

There is no need to use alcohol on the cord; just keep it clean. Meanwhile, a quick submersion bath is fine before the cord falls off, just dry the stump afterward. Also, keep the diaper folded below the cord to keep urine from soaking it.

You may notice a few drops of blood on the diaper around the time the stump falls off; this is normal. But if the cord actively bleeds, call your baby’s doctor immediately. If the stump becomes infected, it will require medical treatment.

​​​​Although cord infections are uncommon, you should contact your doc​tor if you notice any of the following:​Foul-smelling yellowish discharge from the cordRed skin around the base of the cordCrying when you touch the cord or the ski​n next to it

The umbilical cord stump should dry and fall off by the time your baby is three weeks old. If it is still there beyond that time, a doctor’s visit is needed.

Umbilical Granuloma

Sometimes instead of completely drying, the cord will form a granuloma or a small reddened mass of scar tissue that stays on the belly button after the umbilical cord has fallen off. This granuloma will drain a light-yellowish fluid. This condition will usually go away in about a week, but if not, your pediatrician may need to burn off (cauterize) the granulomatous tissue.

Umbilical Hernia

If your baby’s umbilical cord area seems to push outward when she cries, she may have an umbilical hernia—a small hole in the muscular part of the abdominal wall that allows the tissue to bulge out when there is increased abdominal pressure (i.e., crying). This is not a serious condition, and it usually heals by itself in the first twelve to eighteen months. (For unknown reasons it often takes longer to heal in African American babies.)

In the unlikely event it doesn’t heal by three to five years of age, the hole may need surgery. Don’t put tape or a coin on the navel. It will not help the hernia, and it may cause a skin rash.

2. Bathing and skin care

Nailing It: How to Trim Your Baby’s Fingernails

Nails, Nails, Everywhere!


Did you know that fingernails grow about 0.1 mm each day, and they grow faster in young people, in males, and in the summertime? Well, neither did we until we looked it up, but it certainly doesn’t surprise us. While that may not seem like much on the surface, let us assure you that your newborn’s nails will keep you busy. Keeping up with them as they continuously grow can be a very demanding task.

As far as we’re concerned, the real purpose baby nails serve is to break you into parenthood. They will likely require trimming or filing at least once a week, because long nails on the hands of newborns with little to no control of them predictably result in stray scratches. If you happen to fall behind on your nail clipping, your baby will inevitably remind you (and make you feel guilty) by scratching his face when his nails get too long (or if you leave sharp corners or points when clipping).

Baby mittens: handy, up to a point

Many parents cover their newborn’s hands with baby mittens or socks to prevent wayward nails from scratching their faces. As your baby develops over the next several weeks (and you become more skilled at nail clipping), though, it’s a good idea to allow babies plenty of time during which they can freely explore with their hands. If scratches continue to be a problem, we suggest limiting covered time to when your baby is sleeping.​

The baby mani​-pedi

A handful of parents are intimidated by the prospect of having to cut their baby’s nails and would probably opt for a professional manicure-pedicure if only it was generally available. No such luck. 

If you’re lucky, your hospital nurse will be able to help demonstrate the correct technique, but some hospitals dis​courage their personnel from doing so (we can only presume because any unintentional injury may be a liability problem). And while we aren’t exactly recommending it (or admitting to doing it ourselves), we’re well aware that some parents opt to bite or peel off their newborn’s nails rather than fiddle with clippers or scissors. Be aware, however, that doing so can potentially lead to infection.

Newborn nail-trimming tips 

Because clippers and scissors can trim nails in a more controlled fashion, you’ll be much better off using one or the other (or both) or simply using a nail file to keep things under control. For best results:

  • Trim or file your baby’s nails when she’s asleep and her hands are less of a moving target.
  • Push down on the fingertip skin so you can get the clipper or scissors around both sides of the nail and avoid cutting your baby’s finger (or toe).
  • Then, just as a professional manicurist would, finish off any sharp or rough edges with an emery board and…voilà! 

Not so bad after all, once you get the hang of it.

2. Bathing and skin care

Nail Care: Fingers and Toes

The only care your child’s nails require is trimming. You can use a soft emery board, baby nail clippers, or blunt-nosed toenail scissors, but be very careful when using clippers or scissors because accidentally cutting the tip of your baby’s finger will cause pain and bleeding.

A good time to trim nails is after a bath if your baby will lie quietly, but you may find it easiest to do when she’s asleep. Keep her fingernails as short and smoothly trimmed as possible so she can’t scratch herself (or you).

In the early weeks, her fingers are so small and her nails grow so quickly you may have to trim them twice a week. Also, as odd as it may sound, some parents bite their child’s nails as a way of trimming them, which they should avoid doing to prevent the risk of a condition called herpetic whitlow (a finger or thumb infection caused by the herpes simplex virus).

By contrast, your baby’s toenails grow much more slowly and are usually very soft and pliable. They needn’t be kept as short as the fingernails, so you may have to trim them only once or twice a month. Because they are so soft, they sometimes look as if they’re ingrown, but there’s no cause for concern unless the skin alongside the nail gets red, inflamed, or hard. As your baby gets older, his toenails will become harder and better defined.  

2. Bathing and skin care

Infantile Hemangiomas: About Strawberry Baby Birthmarks


Hemangiomas are clusters of extra blood vessels on a baby’s skin. They may be there when a baby is born, or form within a few weeks or months of birth. Some may look like rubbery, bumpy red “strawberry” patches while others resemble deep bruises. Seeing a hemangioma develop can be worrisome for new parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines say it’s important to identify and begin monitoring infantile hemangiomas right after they appear―when they tend to change most quickly.

While hemangiomas can vary a lot in size, appearance, and placement, they are universally benign (non-cancerous). Most will go away on their own without causing any problems. Some hemangiomas―particularly those on the face or those that are very large―need treatment early to prevent them from interfering with body functions or causing permanent scars. Thankfully, there are excellent treatments available today to can prevent these problems if treated early on.

About Infantile Hemangiomas:

Infantile hemangiomas appear after a baby is born, typically within a month. Roughly 4% to 5% of all infants get them, although they are more common in Caucasians, girls, twins, and preterm or low-birth-weight babies. Infantile hemangiomas typically go through a period of rapid growth, followed by more gradual fading and flattening.

There are different types of infantile hemangiomas:

  • Superficial hemangiomas have been called “strawberry marks,” because they can resemble the surface of berries. They may begin as small white, pink, or red areas on the skin that quickly change into brighter red, raised lesions. Superficial hemangiomas may be focused in one spot or spread out over a larger area.
  • Deep hemangiomas have a smooth surface and form under the skin. They may have a bluish tint and resemble bruises. Some cause the skin to look swollen.
  • Mixed hemangiomas are a combination of superficial and deep growths. 
Superficial Hemangiomas
deep hemangiomas
Mixed Hemangiomas

Are there other birthmarks like it?

Some of the other marks that can show up on a baby’s skin include port wine stains and “stork bites.” These also are caused when more blood than usual floods the capillaries under the skin. Port wine stains turn a reddish-purple and are often permanent; like hemangiomas, stork bites usually disappear, but can remain if they’re on the back of the neck.

What to do if you think your baby has an infantile hemangioma:

Infantile hemangiomas usually become noticeable by 4 weeks of age. They may start out looking like a tiny bump or scratch. But many then grow especially fast between 5 and 7 weeks old. If you think your baby might have a hemangioma, it’s best to contact your baby’s pediatrician right away. He or she probably will want to see your baby within a short timeframe. According to the AAP, the best “window of opportunity” to be evaluated and start treatment if needed is about 1 month of age.

Your pediatrician will want to know: 

  • Size: Is the hemangioma small (3/4″ or less across) or larger?
  • Location: Is it located on the face or in the diaper area, or in a different area?
  • Number: Is there one or more than one? If more than one, how many?

If your doctor can’t see you in the office right away, they may ask you to send photos or recommend a telemedicine visit to have a look without delay.

What to expect next:

It’s important to continue monitoring the hemangioma until it stops growing. Superficial hemangiomas typically reach their full size by 5 months of age, although deep hemangiomas sometimes keep growing a while longer. In some cases, your pediatrician may give a referral to an infantile hemangioma specialist with expertise in pediatric dermatology, hematology-oncology, otolaryngology, or plastic surgery. 

By the time a baby is 6-18 months old, most hemangiomas begin to slowly improve. In a process called “involution,” the hemangioma will become less red and more grey or whitish and gradually flatten and shrink from the center outward.

​Each case is different. Most hemangiomas have finished or almost finished flattening and shrinking by 4 to 5 years of age.

When does a hemangioma need to be treated?

Whether a hemangioma needs treatment depends on the age of the baby, where the hemangioma is located and how fast it is growing, whether it becomes sore or scabby, and the risk of it causing medical complications with a child’s health and well-being.

There are 3 main reasons for treatment:

  • Medical problems. In rare cases and depending where they are located and how fast they are growing, hemangioma may begin to interfere with vital functions.  Hemangiomas near the child’s eyes, nose or mouth, for example, can affect the child’s ability to see, eat, breath or hear well. In rare cases, hemangiomas grow inside the body, which may need to be monitored with imaging tests.
  • Skin breakdown. Sometimes, skin on the hemangioma’s surface breaks down and becomes an open sore (called an ulcer) that could lead to bleeding, infection, or scarring.
  • Permanent skin changes. Changes in the skin’s texture or color can remain even after the hemangioma has gone away.  This can be a concern, especially for hemangiomas on the child’s face. Large hemangiomas on facial features such as the nose or lip can also distort growth.

What kinds of treatments are available for hemangiomas?

If a baby’s hemangioma risks causing problems, medications can be applied directly to the skin or taken by mouth. The goal is to keep them from getting any bigger during their period of rapid growth, or to make them shrink more quickly. Laser procedures or surgery may be an option in some cases, although it generally is avoided during early infancy to avoid increased anesthesia risks.

Systemic treatments

  • Propranolol, a beta blocker medication used for many years to treat high blood pressure, is now commonly given by mouth as an effective treatment for problem hemangiomas. To avoid a growth rebound, the pediatrician may recommend therapy continue until your child’s first birthday. The drug must be used with close observation by your healthcare provider to watch for possible side effects and complications.
  • Oral steroids have been largely replaced by safer and more effective options, but are still used in select cases, determined by the healthcare provider.

Localized treatments

  • Topical medications applied directly on the skin may be used for small, superficial hemangiomas. Prescription creams or ointments containing beta-blockers are the most effective topical treatment option to help stop growth and sometimes shrink and fade hemangiomas. In some cases, steroid creams may be prescribed for smaller, thinner hemangiomas.
  • Steroid injections can be given directly into the hemangioma to help slow its growth. This works best for smaller, localized hemangiomas.

Other treatments

  • Surgery is usually only considered for smaller hemangiomas in areas where they may cause problems, or for small hemangiomas with broken skin. Because surgery will always leave a scar itself–and because most hemangiomas get better with time–early surgery is only recommended for a small minority of cases. Surgery can also repair extra skin or scars left by a hemangioma, but usually is delayed until a child is between 3 and 5 years old.
  • Laser treatment may be helpful in some cases to stop bleeding or to help heal hemangiomas with open sores (ulcers). They can also help to remove some of the redness or texture changes that may be left behind after the hemangioma improves.


Contact your pediatrician if you notice anything developing on your baby’s skin. Your baby’s first few well-child visits are also a great time to bring it up. Few hemangiomas cause any trouble, and most go away on their own. But prompt evaluation, monitoring and treatment, when needed, can help ensure problem hemangiomas have as little impact as possible on your child. 

2. Bathing and skin care

How to Care for Your Baby’s Penis

​The Circumcised Penis

If you chose to have your son circumcised, the procedure likley performed in the hospital before discharge, but is sometimes done afterward. Ritual circumcisions for religious reasons are usually performed in the second week after birth. 

After the procedure, a light dressing with petroleum jelly will have been placed over the head of the penis. The next time the baby urinates, this dressing usually will come off. Some pediatricians recommend keeping a clean dressing over the area until the penis is fully healed, while others advise leaving it off. The important thing is to keep the area as clean. If stool get on the penis, wipe it gently.

What to expect

The tip of the penis may look red for the first few days, and you may notice a yellow secretion. Both mean that the area is healing normally. The redness and secretion disappear gradually within a week.

When to call the pediatrician

If the redness persists or there is swelling or crusted yellow sores, there may be an infection. This does not happen often, but if you suspect an infection, consult your pediatrician.

After the circumcision has healed:                       

Usually, after the circumcision has healed, the penis requires no additional care. Occasionally a small piece of the foreskin remains. You should pull back this skin gently each time the child is bathed. Examine the groove around the head of the penis and make sure it’s clean.

Note: If circumcision is desired but is not performed within the baby’s first two weeks (perhaps for medical reasons), it is usually put off for several weeks or months. The follow- up care is the same whenever it is done. Should circumcision become necessary after the newborn period, general anesthesia is often used and requires a more formal surgical procedure with control of bleeding and suturing of skin edges.

The Uncircumcised Penis

In the first few months, you should simply clean and bathe your baby’s uncircumcised penis, like the rest of the diaper area. Initially, the foreskin is connected by tissue to the glans, or head, of the penis, so you shouldn’t try to retract it. No cleansing of the penis with cotton swabs or antiseptics is necessary.

The doctor will tell you when the foreskin has separated and can be retracted safely. This will not be for several months or years, and should never be forced; if you force the foreskin to retract before it is ready, you could cause painful bleeding and tears in the skin. After this separation occurs, retract the foreskin occasionally to gently cleanse the end of the penis​.

What to do as your son gets older:

As your son gets older, you’ll need to teach him what he must do in order to urinate and wash his penis. Teach him to clean his foreskin by:

  • Gently pulling it back away from the head of the penis.
  • Rinsing the head of the penis and inside fold of the foreskin.
  • Pulling the foreskin back over the head of the penis. 
2. Bathing and skin care

Heat Rash

​Heat rash is seen most often in babies and young children. It occurs during hot and humid weather. It is caused when the sweat gland openings become blocked. This results in little red bumps around the sweat duct openings.

What to Look For: 

  • Tiny red bumps in areas that tend to be moist 
  • Commonly seen in skin folds of the neck and on the upper chest, arms, legs, and diaper area

What You Should Do:

Parents or primary caregiver should: 

  • Dress the child in clothing that keeps the skin cool and dry. 
  • Pay special attention to skin folds that stay wet with perspiration, urine, or drool. 
  • Use cool water to remove body oil and sweat. Then dry the area. 
  • Leave areas open to air without clothing. 
  • Use air conditioning or a fan blowing gently on your child to keep her cool. 
  • Do not apply skin ointments.

Other caregivers should:  

  • Tell parents if you notice a child has signs of prickly heat. 
  • Try to keep the child cool. 
  • Pay attention to moist areas. Wash with cool water. Keep these areas dry.
2. Bathing and skin care

Cradle Cap

Your beautiful one-month-old baby has developed scaliness and redness on his scalp. You’re concerned and think maybe you shouldn’t shampoo as usual. You also notice some redness in the creases of his neck and armpits and behind his ears. What is it and what should you do?

When this rash occurs on the scalp alone, it’s known as cradle cap. But although it may start as scaling and redness of the scalp, it also can be found later in the other areas just mentioned. It can extend to the face and diaper area, too, and when it does, pediatricians call it seborrheic dermatitis (because it occurs where there are the greatest number of oil producing sebaceous glands). Seborrheic dermatitis is a noninfectious skin condition that’s very common in infants, usually beginning in the first weeks of life and slowly disappearing over a period of weeks or months. Unlike eczema or contact dermatitis, it’s rarely uncomfortable or itchy.

What Causes Cradle Cap?

No one knows for sure the exact cause of this rash. Some doctors have speculated that it may be influenced by the mother’s hormonal changes during pregnancy, which stimulate the infant’s oil glands. This overproduction of oil may have some relationship to the scales and redness of the skin.

How to Treat Your Baby’s Cradle Cap

If your baby’s seborrheic dermatitis is confined to his scalp (and is, therefore, just cradle cap), you can treat it yourself.

  • Don’t be afraid to shampoo the hair; in fact, you should wash it (with a mild baby shampoo) more frequently than before. This, along with soft brushing, will help remove the scales. Stronger medicated shampoos (antiseborrhea shampoos containing sulfur and 2 percent salicylic acid) may loosen the scales more quickly, but since they also can be irritating, use them only after consulting your pediatrician.
  • Some parents have found using petroleum jelly or ointments beneficial. But baby oil is not very helpful or necessary. In fact, while many parents tend to use unperfumed baby oil or mineral oil and do nothing else, doing so allows scales to build up on the scalp, particularly over the soft spot on the back of the head, or fontanelle.
  • Your doctor also might prescribe a cortisone cream or lotion, such as 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. Once the condition has improved, you can prevent it from recurring, in most cases, by continuing with frequent hair washing with a mild baby shampoo.

Yeast Infections

Sometimes yeast infections occur on the affected skin, most likely in the crease areas rather than on the scalp. If this occurs, the area will become extremely reddened and quite itchy. In this case, your pediatrician might prescribe a medication such as an anti-yeast cream.


Rest assured that seborrheic dermatitis is not a serious condition, or an infection. Nor is it an allergy to something you’re using, or due to poor hygiene. It will go away without any scars.

2. Bathing and skin care

Care for an Uncircumcised Penis

Our son is not circumcised. When will his foreskin retract?

In the first several years your son’s foreskin will separate from the tip of the penis. Some foreskins separate soon after birth or even before birth, but this is rare. When it happens is different for every child. It may take a few weeks, months, or years. Once this happens, the foreskin can be pulled back away from the tip of the penis. This is called foreskin retraction.

Most boys will be able to retract their foreskins by the time they are 5 years old, yet others will not be able to until the teen years. As a boy becomes more aware of his body, he will most likely discover how to retract his own foreskin. But foreskin retraction should never be forced. Until the foreskin fully separates, do not try to pull it back. Forcing the foreskin to retract before it is ready can cause severe pain, bleeding, and tears in the skin.


When the foreskin separates from the head of the penis, skin cells are shed. These skin cells may look like white, pearl-like lumps under the foreskin. These are called smegma. Smegma is normal and nothing to worry about.


If your son’s foreskin separates before he reaches puberty, an occasional retraction with cleansing beneath will do. Once your son starts puberty, he should clean beneath his foreskin as part of his daily routine, just like washing his hair and brushing his teeth.

Teach your son to clean his foreskin in the following way:

Step 1: Gently pull the foreskin back away from the end of the penis.
Step 2: Rinse underneath the foreskin with soap and warm water.
Step 3: Pull the foreskin back over the penis

2. Bathing and skin care

Bathing Your Baby

Bathing Your Baby

Bathing your baby is an experience many parents treasure. It’s a great time to bond, distraction-free, as your tiny new family member enjoys the sensation of warm water on their skin. Yet this common parenting ritual often comes with questions, and sometimes anxiety, about when and how to do it well.

Here are some frequently asked questions from parents about topics related to baby bath timing, frequency, safety, and more.  

When should newborns get their first bath?

The timing of your baby’s very first bath has changed over the last few years. While most institutions used to bathe babies within an hour or two of birth, many are changing their policies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying baby’s first bath until 24 hours after birth—or waiting at least 6 hours if a full day isn’t possible for cultural reasons. 

Why wait?
Here are some reasons why it is now recommended to delay baby’s first bath:Body temperature and blood sugar: Babies who get baths right away may be more likely to become cold and develophypothermia. The minor stress of an early bath can also make some babies more likely to have a drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Bonding and breastfeeding: Taking the baby away for a bath too soon can interrupt skin-to-skin care, mother-child bonding, and early breastfeeding success. Onestudyshowed a 166% increase in hospital breastfeeding success after implementing a 12-hour delay in baby’s first bath compared to those bathed within the first couple hours. Dry skin: Vernix, a waxy white substance that coats a baby’s skin before birth, acts as a natural moisturizer and may have anti-bacterial properties. Learn more about vernix here. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it’s best to leave vernix on a newborns’ skin for a while to help prevent their delicate skin from drying out. This is especially important for preemies, as their skin is highly prone to injury.

Note: Babies of mothers with HIV or the Hepatitis viruses will still be bathed after the initial breastfeed in order to decrease risk to hospital staff and family members.

How often do babies need a bath once they are home?

Newborns don’t need a bath every day. They rarely sweat or get dirty enough to need a full bath that often.

Three baths per week during baby’s first year may be enough. Bathing more frequently can dry out your baby’s skin.

Can my baby have a bath before the umbilical cord falls off?

Only give your newborn sponge baths until the stump of the umbilical cord falls off, which usually happens by about one or two weeks of age. If it remains beyond that time, there may be other issues at play. See the baby’s doctor if the cord has not dried up and fallen off by the time the baby is two months old. 

How to give a sponge bath

A sponge bath is like a regular bath, except you don’t put your baby in the water.

Baby sponge bath safety tips:Get supplies ready before you begin. Have a basin of water, a damp washcloth rinsed in soap-free water, a dry towel, and anything else you might need within reach before you begin.Lay baby on a flat surface that is comfortable for both of you—a changing table, bed, floor, or counter next to the sink will do. Pad hard surfaces with a blanket or fluffy towel. If your baby is on a surface above the floor, always use a safety strap or keep one hand on her to prevent falls. Start washing the face first. Use the dampened cloth to wash her face, being careful not to get water into her eyes or mouth. Then, dip it in the basin of water before washing the rest of her body and, finally, the diaper area.Keep baby warm. During the sponge bath, wrap your baby in a dry towel and uncover only the parts of her body you are actively washing. Pay special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck, and, especially with a girl, in the genital area.

When is my baby ready for a regular bath?

Once the umbilical area is healed, you can try placing your baby directly in the water. His first baths should be as gentle and brief as possible. He may protest a little. (If this happens go back to sponge baths for a week or two, then try the bath again). Babies usually make it clear when they’re ready.

Baby bathtub safety tips:Use an infant tub or sink. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a hard plastic baby bathtub that has a sloped, textured surface or sling that keeps your baby from sliding. Only use an infant bath tub manufactured on or after October 2, 2017 so it meets current safety standards. Some parents find it easiest to bathe a newborn in a bathinette, sink, or plastic tub lined with a clean towel. Yes, a sink! Sometimes easiest is best; just be careful. Sinks are slippery and have all sorts of things sticking out like faucets and handles.Avoid using bath seats. These seats provide support so a child can sit upright in an adult bathtub. Unfortunately, they can easily tip over. A child can fall into the bathwater and drown.Use touch supervision. Have a towel and other bath supplies within reach so you can keep a hand on your baby at all times. If you’ve forgotten something or need to answer the phone or door during the bath, you must take the baby with you.Start practicing infant water safety now: Never leave a baby alone in the bath, even for an instant. Most child drownings inside the home occur in bathtubs, and more than half of bathtub deaths involve children under 1 year of age.Check the water temperature. Fill the basin with 2 inches of water that feels warm—not hot—to the inside of your wrist or elbow. If you’re filling the basin from the tap, turn the cold water on first (and off last) to avoid scalding yourself or your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that the hottest temperature at the faucet should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help avoid burns. In many cases you can adjust your water heater setting to not go above this temperature. Tap water that’s too hot can quickly cause burns serious enough to require a hospital visit or even surgery. In fact, hot water scalds are the top cause of burns among babies and young children.Keep baby warm. Once you’ve undressed your baby, place her in the water immediately so she doesn’t get chilled. Use one of your hands to support her head and the other to guide her in, feet first. Talk to her encouragingly, and gently lower the rest of her body until she’s in the tub. Most of her body and face should be well above the water level for safety, so you’ll need to pour warm water over her body frequently to keep her warm. Use soap sparingly. Soaps can dry out your baby’s skin. If a cleanser is needed for heavily soiled areas, use only mild, neutral-pH soaps without additives. Rinse soap from the skin right away. Wash baby’s hair two or three times a week using a mild shampoo or body wash.You may see some scaly patches on your baby’s scalp called cradle cap―a harmless condition that appears in many babies. You can loosen the scales with a soft-bristled brush while shampooing in the bathtub, but it’s also okay to leave it alone if it doesn’t bother you. It’s unlikely to bother your baby, and she will outgrow it.Clean gently. Use a soft cloth to wash your baby’s face and hair, being careful not to scrub or tug the skin. Massage her entire scalp gently, including the area over her fontanelles (soft spots). When you rinse shampoo from her head, cup your hand across her forehead so the suds run toward the sides, not into her eyes. If some suds do get into her eyes, use the wet washcloth to wipe them with plain, lukewarm water. Wash the rest of her body from the top down.Have fun in the tub. If your baby enjoys her bath, give her some extra time to splash and play in the water. The more fun your child has in the bath, the less she’ll be afraid of the water. Bathing should be a very relaxing and soothing experience, so don’t rush unless she’s unhappy.Young infants don’t really need bath toys, since just being in the water is usually exciting enough. Once a baby is old enough for the bathtub, however, toys become key. Containers, floating toys, even waterproof books make wonderful distractions as you cleanse your baby.Get out and dry off. When bath time is finished, promptly wrap a towel around your baby’s head and body to help her stay warm while she is still wet. Bathing a baby of any age is wet work, so you may want to wear a terry-cloth apron or hang a towel over your shoulder to keep yourself dry. Gently pat baby dry and apply a small amount of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion right after a bath to help prevent dry skin or eczema. 



Knowing the basics can make bathing your infant a breeze. Just make sure your baby stays comfortable and safe during bath time―and don’t forget to soak up all the special moments that come with it!  

2. Bathing and skin care

Baby Sunburn Prevention

​Why is a baby at special risk from sunburn?

A baby’s skin is more delicate and thinner than an adult’s and burns and irritates more easily. Even dark-skinned babies may be sunburned. Babies cannot tell you if they are too hot or beginning to burn and cannot get out of the sun without an adult’s help. Babies also need an adult to dress them properly and to apply sunscreen.

Prevention Tips

Learn how to stop sunburn before it happens and keep your baby happy, safe, and smiling: 

  • Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct and indirect sunlight because of the risk of heat stroke. Particularly, avoid having a baby out between 10 a.m and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Keep babies in the shade as much as possible. For example, they should be moved under a tree, beach umbrella, or stroller canopy. However, it is important to note that although on reflective surfaces, an umbrella or canopy may reduce UVR exposure by only 50%.
  • Dress babies in lightweight cotton clothing with long sleeves and long pants and a sun hat with a wide brim.
  • Sunscreen may be applied to babies younger than 6 months to small areas of skin uncovered by clothing and hats. Remember to cover all exposed areas of a baby’s skin, including the face, back of the hands, back of the neck, tips of the ears, and tops of the feet.
  • Apply the protection 15 to 30 minutes before going out. Keep in mind that no sunscreens are truly waterproof, and thus they need to be reapplied every one and a half to two hours, particularly if a baby goes into the water. Consult the instructions on the bottle.