- You don’t need to wash your baby every day—for the first few weeks it may be easier to top and tail instead.
- Top and tailing is where you carefully wash the face, neck, hands and bottom.
- You will need a bowl of cooled, boiled water, a bowl of warm water, cotton balls or cotton pads, a fresh diaper, clean clothes, and clean towels.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and remove any rings or bracelets.
- Check the room is nice and warm—undress your baby and place them on a clean towel.
- Topping means washing your baby’s face, neck and hands.
- Babies’ eyes can be a little sticky after birth. Dip a cotton ball or a cotton pad in cool boiled water and gently wipe your baby's eyes from the nose outwards, using a new piece of cotton ball for each eye.
- Use a fresh piece of cotton ball dipped in warm water to clean around your baby's ears, avoiding the inside.
- Wash the rest of your baby's face, neck and hands in the same way.
- If your baby still has vernix (the creamy white layer) in their creases, leave it there as it helps the skin barrier to develop.
- Keep your baby’s umbilical cord stump clean and dry to avoid infection—wipe it with a fresh cotton ball dipped in cooled, boiled water each day and gently pat it dry.
- The umbilical cord stump should drop off after about 10 days—if you have any concerns talk to your healthcare provider.
- Tailing means cleaning your baby’s genitals and bottom.
- Remove diaper and wash baby’s bottom and genital area with a fresh cotton ball and warm water.
- If you prefer use baby wipes, but make sure they are unperfumed and suitable for newborns.
- Gently pat your baby dry paying particular attention to the skin folds, before putting on a clean diaper.
- Dress baby in clean clothes. Newborns loose heat quickly so you may also want to use a blanket.
- When you feel ready to move onto giving your baby a bath instead, read our checklist to find out how to do it.
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