“You’ll be fine” they said,
“It’ll all come naturally” they said.
Bullshit is what I say!
Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of things which do come naturally to most people; like carrying your baby or making sure they’re fit and healthy. However there are other things which aren’t as obvious, especially when it’s something which you’ve done as long as you could remember, but which is actually totally different for your little one.
I had a few questions when it came to hygiene and had to hunt around the internet and health professionals for answers. Hopefully this will bring a lot of those questions together so that you don’t need to look for too long. There might be things here which you think are obvious, but that’s not always the case. I for example had never changed another baby before Ripley came along, I really was an amateur at this!
There will also be a lot of things specific to boys here but people with baby girls might find some useful information too… I’m going to start with the question which made me think that a post like this might be of use to someone! Stick with me on this one, cause you might well think that for a first question it’s a weird one…
Do I need to clean inside my babies foreskin?
No. For me this is part of every day cleaning so I was surprised by this, but the foreskin of a baby is connected to his helmet and pulling it back can damage something you don’t want to damage on a little boy. It separates by itself during puberty.
Generally speaking he’ll figure out by himself that it can be pulled back and then it’s your job to tell him to wash it as he should be independent enough by this point to wash himself unattended unless any health problems prevent this.
Also even if it separates, the opening is usually not stretched enough at this point for it to go back… It’s not uncommon for your baby to pull it the other way (away from the body) though and it’s nothing to worry about – he won’t pull it off.
Babies don’t really piss on you… Do they?
As far as I am aware, for girls this is a no. All the dads of girls I have spoken to have never said that this is a problem for them, BUT, if you’ve got a boy, then be prepared for it to happen.
**EDIT – I have since been informed that girls also manage to get you some times, just that it’s much less of an arch, so we’re not talking high enough that the wind takes it and blows it back in their face… like it does with boys – see below.**
I’ve had a little bit of pee go on my trousers or shirt while changing him, but my wife has had pee all over her face a couple of times from what I remember. So yeah, cover that little thing up when the nappy moves away – the fresh air seems to be a trigger!
What about peeing on themselves?
For boys the same as above applies, however not so for girls. Peeing on their own face, belly and clothes is not uncommon for boys, and that applies not only during but in between nappy changes!
When your baby stretches whilst laying down a gap will likely appear along the nappy waistband. When changing a baby boy, tuck his little willy away so that it points down when the nappy goes on, otherwise they will pee upwards when the nappy is on… There’s not much padding up there to catch it, so the pee only has one other place to go… Out!
When should I start to bathe my baby?
When your baby is born it will be covered in baby cheese – or if you want to use the correct term, vernix. Your first thought might be, eugh, let’s get this off, but don’t rush! It’s keeping your little kid’s delicate skin safe and moisturized, it’ll come off by itself through little cleans and friction from clothes, parents, bedding etc. Whilst you should top and tail your baby every 1 to 2 days when they are first born, you can leave the first bath for a week or two. We bathed Ripley for the first time when he was about 10 days old.
How should I bathe my baby? In the sink / with me / in a baby bath / in a pot?
This really depends entirely on you and your baby. They are small enough to sit in the sink (usually the kitchen sink is a better shape for this) or along the same sort of line I have seen them get bathed in a pot / bucket. The benefit of the latter is that you can choose one which fits your baby so that they have to sit up in it, making it a far less daunting task to begin with! In fact there are bathtubs on the market which are basically a see-through bucket like the Tummy Tub Baby Bath.
We started out with a little bath tub, which worked up until about 4 months for our little guy, but we stopped using it regularly way before that. The good thing about these is that there are so many to choose from! An alternative to this is that you can put them in your bath but using an insert (which might just be a seat / cradle or a full tub).
The final option, which is what we ended up doing is to take a bath with him! This way you’re in there so you can keep him secure and because he is still in contact with you, your baby is going to feel happier. This is a great option for if your baby hates a bath. Ripley did for his first few baths and then as soon as I got in with him, he started to love them! As a result he also took to getting in the swimming pool with me like a duck to water.
This last option really is a nice bonding experience for you and your kid, so just get in there! I know a lot of lads in particular might be a bit embarrassed about the idea or think it’s weird…
Get over it, and get in that bath!
The only down side is that I’ve spent many a bath time sitting in his piss… Thankfully (**touch wood**) he hasn’t shat in a bath yet!
How hot should a babies bath be?
37 to 38 degress centigrade is perfect for them. I always have it at 38 when I get in, and of course after even just a 10 minute bath the temperature does drop a fair bit, which is fine.
Biggest recommendation I can give regarding temperature of the bath water is to get yourself a bath thermometer. You can get them super cheap and I like the digital ones with some kind of alarm to make it clear if the water is a good temperature.
What do they mean by top and tail washing?
In a nutshell, rather than washing them all over and giving them a bath, wash the two main areas for your baby at this point – bottom and top. It really is what it sounds like… top – head & face… tail – butts and bits!
When do I start washing my baby with soap?
You don’t need soap at all for top and tail washing, and we left soap out of the water for the first couple of baths. This lets your baby get used to the water and you get used to having them in the water without the soap – they’re slippery enough as it is!
After a couple of baths you can then start to introduce some bubble bath and baby wash. I’ll do another post about these, but I would highly recommend Child’s Farm products.
Do I need to moisturize my baby?
Don’t really need to say much more about this. Follow the instructions on which ever type of moisturizer you happen to choose and make sure to do it each day or as required. They have such sensitive skin which is prone to cracking in the cold and peeling / irritation in the heat. Two products I love are any of the Child’s Farm moisturizers or the Good Bubble Coconut Oil (this second one isn’t cheap but personally I love it and think it’s worth every penny).
My baby’s skin is peeling like crazy! Is this normal?
Absolutely normal and fine, but it can get a bit uncomfortable for them. Some babies won’t peel at all, whilst others come up in really sore looking patches and cracked hands & feet, but it’s nothing to worry about in the first few days, just make sure it does clear up.
The best thing to do is the above and use a moisturizer. We now mostly use Child’s Farm products for this and all things washing, but when his skin was that bad, because it’s 100% organic and natural (it only has 1 ingredient) we used the Good Bubble Coconut Oil and it cleared up really nicely in just a few days – which is why I would recommend that product all day long!
I’ve got a feeling that I’ve not covered anywhere near what I need to, but that’s all I can think of at the moment… If I think of more I might come back and do some updates on this post, or if you’ve got any questions, give me a shout and I’ll see if I can answer!