Looking after your little one’s hygiene needs is an important part of caring for your baby. From cleaning the folds of his skin, to taking care of his oral health, keeping bubba clean is not only necessary, but can provide valuable one-on-one time for you and your child.
If you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to know in his first year or two.
0 to 6 months
- Although you don’t need to bathe your newborn every day, you should do so regularly to remove dirt and germs, especially if the weather is hot. If you skip his bath, top-and-tail him twice daily ― carefully wash your baby’s face, neck, hands and bottom, plus, clean his diaper area.
- During the first week or so, the remnants of your baby’s umbilical cord may still be attached. Clean the area twice a day to prevent it from becoming sore and infected. Consult your doctor if there’s any excessive redness, bleeding or pus.
- To clean your baby’s eyelids, use a piece of cotton wool dipped in cooled boiled water to wipe each eye. Gently wipe across each eye, from the nose outwards. Wipe the ears with damp cotton wool but don’t clean inside, and never use cotton buds. Remember to wipe behind the ears, too.
6 to 12 months
- Even though junior can probably sit up comfortably in the tub by this time, never leave him unsupervised, even for a second. Gather all the bath supplies you’ll need ahead of time. If you really need to tend to something like a doorbell, scoop your baby up in a towel and take him with you.
- When your mini-me’s first tooth appears, use a clean damp washcloth or gauze to wipe it from front to back. When he’s 12 months old, try a soft infant toothbrush and brush twice a day with water.
- Now’s a good time to child-proof your munchkin’s bath area. For a secure seat, fit yours with a rubber bath mat, while a cushioned spout cover can protect his head from painful bumps.
- As he starts eating solids, get him in the habit of washing his hands before and after his meals. Children follow your example, so make sure you practise this, too.
Junior’s 1 and on the move! Read on for ways to keep him clean…
12 to 18 months
- While most infants adore being in the water, she might resent bathtime when she’s older as it requires her to stop playing or watching her cartoon. So, include songs and bath toys during her bath, so junior looks forward to it.
- For a bit of variety, you can even encourage your sweetie to take a shower instead, once she can stand steadily. Grab this opportunity to give her a lesson on her body parts.
- Soaps, shampoos and bubble baths can irritate and dry out your child’s skin, so instead of letting her sit too long in soapy water, arrange playtime at the beginning of the bath, and save the soap and shampoo for the end.
- Your toddler will need to clean her teeth at least twice a day. Practise brushing her teeth after breakfast and just before bed. Use a soft-bristled brush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Now’s also a good time for your tot to visit the dentist every six months for a check-up.
- Now that your little one is walking, running, climbing and jumping, she’s getting dirty in a short span of time. Allow her to play outside, but also explain to her why it’s important to clean soiled clothes and wipe herself dry after.
- For older tots, reading books about bacteria and fungi might also help teach them that being dirty can cause bacteria to multiply, which might cause them to fall sick.
- Your baby has now progressed to using the potty. Hygiene is important as ever, so remember to teach her that she needs to wash her hands right after she has done the “deed”.
- As she gets mobile, junior’s wandering fingers will pick up all manner of dirt and germs. So, ensure that her hands are clean, especially if she likes to put them in her mouth. Encourage handwashing before meals, after play, and bring hand sanitiser when you’re out to stem the spread of germs.
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