Pregnancy week by week



Bathing your baby

                                   Topping and tailing

Bath time can be the perfect time to bond with your baby. In the earlier days until your baby’s umbilical cord drops off, you can do a daily top and tail instead of giving a bath every day. To “top and tail” your baby means that you clean only the bits that need it! You wash your baby’s face, neck and hands, paying particular attention to the creases around the neck where sweat can gather. Then put clothes on his top half, wash his bottom and change his nappy. You can do this every day rather than bathing him. For “top and tail” you will need:
  •   Cotton wool

  •   Bowl of warm water

  •   Soft towel
  •   Changing mat
  •   Change of clothes
  •    Fresh nappy










Follow the following steps:
  • Make sure the room is warm and cozy, around 38 degrees.

  • Gather your supplies and have them in arm’s reach.

  • Fill the bowl with lukewarm water and put your baby on the changing mat. Take off his clothes except for his vest and nappy then wrap him in a towel.

  • Wet the cotton wool in the water and gently wipe baby’s face, neck, behind the ears, under the arms, fingers and hands. Lift him gently up to wash his back. Pat him dry.

  • Use another fresh piece of cotton wool to clean around your baby’s eyes from the nose outward, using a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye, so you don’t transfer any stickiness or infection.

  • Take off his nappy but keep the vest on. Now clean your baby’s bottom (genitals), with fresh cotton wool and warm water. Dry your baby very carefully including his skin folds. Put on a clean nappy.
It will help your baby to relax if you keep talking while you wash him. The more he hears your voice, the more he will get used to listening to you and start to understand what you are saying.


Babies only need a bath two or three times a week, but if your baby really enjoys it, bath him every day. Don’t bath your baby straight after a feed or when he is hungry or tired. Make sure the room is warm and draught-free. Make bath times run smoothly by preparing everything in advance. Here is the list of what you will need:
  • Baby bath filled with warm water
  • Towels

  • Baby bath and baby shampoo

  • Baby sponge

  • Clean change of clothes

  •  Fresh nappy

  •  Cotton wool

  •  Comb or hair brush

  •  Change mat

Follow the following steps:
  • Arrange all of your supplies within easy reach and wash your hands.

  • Fill the baby bath with about 10 cm of lukewarm water. Check it with your wrist or elbow and mix it well so there are no hot patches. The water should feel warm but not too hot to your skin. If your baby has a tendency to dry skin, there is no need to use soap. Water alone will do the job of cleaning your baby in the first few weeks.
  • First, wash your baby’s face and around the eyes with cotton wool and water only, as discussed under “top and tail”.    
  • Undress your baby but keep his nappy on. Wrap him in a towel, folded over at the back so you can easily cover his head afterwards. Tuck his lower body under your arm and support his head with one hand, hold him over the bath.

  • To wash your baby’s hair, tilt the head back while supporting the head and neck. Wet your baby’s head with water. Add some baby wash or shampoo to the damp sponge and work up lather. Gently rub the lather over the head from front to back to keep it out of the eyes. Rinse the head with clean water and pat dry with a towel.

  • Once you have dried his hair gently, you can take off their nappy, wiping away any mess.

  • Remove the towel and lower your baby into the bath using one hand to hold their upper arm and support his head and shoulders. Keep your baby’s head clear of the water. Use the other hand to gently swish the water over your baby without splashing. Use the sponge to wash him with free hand.

  • Lift him out, wrap him snugly in the towel and pat him dry.

  •  Never leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.

  • Do not routinely use lotions, oils, or creams on your baby. If the skin becomes too dry, ask your doctor to prescribe a cream that does not contain fragrances or alcohol.

  • For bath time fun, you can introduce small bath toys from around 3 months.
Bathing your baby is one of the most enjoyable parts of the day, for both of you. It may take a little while for new babies to get used to it, but once they feel safe, they will soon start to enjoy this special time with mum or dad. The first bath or two can seem a bit of a trial, but you will soon get a hang of it!

  • Never leave your baby alone, even for a second. If the telephone rings or someone knocks on   the door, ignore it and finish the bath. Accidents can happen quickly. A small baby can drown in a few inches of water.
  • Always support the baby’s head during the bath. Keep a firm hold on your baby.  A soap baby can be very slippery.
  • Use a bath support; made of foam or fabric and hold your baby at an angle in the water so you have both your hands free. Have bath time when someone is around.

                                           Umbilical cord care

Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will change from yellowish green to brown black as it dries out and eventually falls off within two weeks time. Keep this area clean and dry. The stump will leave a small wound that may take a few days to heal. Previously, stump used to be cleaned with antiseptic tissues and dusted with powder. Researchers now believe that the stump may heal faster if left alone. Expose the stump to air to help dry out. Keep the front of your baby’s diaper folded to avoid covering the stump.  Stick with sponge baths (top and tailing) until the stump falls off. Resist the temptation to pull off the stump yourself.

If your baby has an umbilical cord infection, prompt treatment can stop the infection from spreading. Contact your doctor if you notice that the cord stump:
  • Appears red and swollen

  • Bleeds

  • Oozes yellowish discharge

  • Has foul smelling discharge

  • Your baby develops fever
                                                   Baby nails

It can be unnerving to cut your baby’s tiny finger and toenails. Keeping them short will stop him from scratching and make it much easier to keep them clean. It may be easier to clip your baby’s nails when he is asleep, or with someone’s help. Hold your baby’s palm and finger steady with one hand, while you cut his nails with the other. Always use nail scissors designed for babies which have rounded ends that will not cut or prick him if he makes any sudden movement.

                                                   Genital area

Wipe a baby girl from front to back to avoid transferring any bacteria from her anus to her vagina. Never pull back the foreskin on a baby boy. This will not separate from penis for months.
Bathing your newborn



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