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Follow these simple, doctor-recommended tips for keeping your baby clean and comfy.
It’s disconcerting to see a newborn with a red, blotchy face, but baby acne is a common and harmless condition.
Care tip: Wash your baby’s face daily with a mild baby soap.
Some babies have a yellowish discharge or crusting in the eye or on the lid, which is usually caused by a blocked tear duct. This condition can last several months.
Care tip: Wipe the area using a cotton ball moistened with warm water.
Many newborns develop a scaly scalp condition called cradle cap. It typically disappears in the first few months.
Care tip: Wash your baby’s hair with a gentle baby shampoo no more than three times a week and gently brush out the scales daily using a baby hairbrush or soft toothbrush.
Babies’ narrow nasal passages tend to fill with mucus.
Care tip: Gently unclog nostrils with an infant-sized nasal bulb syringe or try the trauma-minimizing Nosefrida (nosefrida.com). To loosen mucus, insert saline solution with an eyedropper before suctioning.
Some babies develop red, itchy patches called eczema or atopic dermatitis—an inheritable skin condition.
Care tip: Limit baths to 10 minutes, and use a mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water; liberally apply hypoallergenic skin cream immediately afterward. Stick to cotton clothing.
Too much moisture plus sensitive skin can equal diaper rash for many babies.
Care tip: Change diapers frequently. Rinse your baby’s bottom with water during each change and blot dry. Avoid using wipes; they may irritate skin. Barrier creams, such as petroleum jelly or white zinc oxide, may help.
Keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry; it will shrivel and fall off within a few weeks.
Care tip: Avoid covering the cord area with a diaper and stick to sponge baths until the stump detaches.
The tip of the penis will be swollen, and a yellow scab will appear.
Care tip: Gently clean the genital area with warm water daily. Use petroleum jelly to protect the site and prevent the penis from sticking to a diaper.
Newborns’ legs are bowed out and the feet are turned in, which is no surprise, given their previous cramped living quarters.
Care tip: Don’t worry about it—your baby’s legs and feet will straighten in anywhere from six to 18 months.
Newborns’ toes frequently overlap and the nails look ingrown (but aren’t).
Care tip: Don’t sweat it—this appearance is perfectly normal.