An important aspect of baby care is cleanliness. Many new moms get sceptical while cleaning the nails and belly button of their baby (especially if the umbilical cord hasn't fallen off as yet). Yes, you need to be a little careful and patient while cleaning your tiny tot, but it is nothing to lose your sleep over. The following tips will help you in a big way while cleaning your baby's nails and belly button.
1. Keeping the nails clean
Babies have the habit of scratching themselves and the things around. It is a well-known fact that the fingernails grow faster as compared to the toenails. You will often see babies sucking their thumbs and fingers, all the more reasons to keep their nails clean and trimmed.
- Do not even think of cutting your baby's nails if they are in a bad mood. Your baby might end up getting hurt.
- Cut the nails after bathing the baby as the nails tend to be soft after a bath.
- Some people prefer to cut the nails while the baby is asleep to avoid any distraction.
- To cut the nails, use what you are most comfortable using (can be a scissor or a nail clipper). If you are using scissors, go for the ones that have round and blunt ends.
- To keep your baby stable, get another person to hold the baby when you cut the nails.
- To have a better grip and more of the nails, press down the skin under the nails while cutting them.
- Be gentle while filing the nails.
- To play it safe, cut the fingernails as per the natural curve. It may not be a wise idea to try out different shapes with your baby's nails.
- For the toenails, the best and safe cut would be the one straight across.
2. Cleaning the belly button of the baby (while the umbilical cord stump is still there)
- Make sure that your hands are clean before you start cleaning the baby's belly button and the umbilical cord stump. In fact, the umbilical cord should be as clean and dry as possible.
- Take a cotton swab and dip it in water. Always use warm water for the cleaning purpose. Press the tip of the swab to drain out the excess water.
- With this cotton swab, carefully wipe the stump. Start with the base of the cord and gradually move towards the adjacent areas.
- To dry the umbilical cord stump, you can use a superior quality absorbent cloth.
- You will often find mothers applying lotions and moisturizers around the umbilical cord. This is not a very healthy practice and can, in fact, cause infections. Before applying anything on the baby skin, consult your physician.
- If you are using diapers for the baby, go for the ones that come specially designed with a cutout for the cord.
3. Cleaning the belly button of the baby (when the umbilical cord stump has fallen off)
- Once the stump has fallen off, you may as well bathe the baby. To clean the belly button, use a clean washcloth.
- The baby skin is very soft and delicate, thus be gentle while cleaning the belly button and the surrounding area.
- If you are bathing the baby, clean the upper part of the body first before moving down to the belly button.
- Once you have wiped clean the belly button and adjacent area, rinse the area well and complete the bathing.
- Pat dry the baby gently with a soft towel.
- Make sure the belly button, as well as the innie, is dried well.
- Once the stump has fallen off with a proper navel healing, you can use a doctor recommended moisturizer or a baby lotion around the belly button.