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Mother washing baby's bottom

It is not necessary to bath your baby every single day. Babies are born with a covering of vernix, a white waxy substance that protects their vulnerable skin.

If you choose not to bath your baby you could do what’s known as a ‘top and tail’. This means literally cleaning your baby at the top end and cleaning your baby at the tail end. It allows you to clean the bits of your baby that really do get dirty – his face and his bottom – without having to totally immerse him in water.

During early feeding your baby will posset milk (regurgitate small quantities), and if he is lying down this can run down his chin and round the back of his neck and get smelly and sticky in all his folds.

Similarly it goes without saying that babies do a lot of weeing and pooing, and some of their poos can be pretty explosive – even with a nappy on the poo can get into all their creases, up their back and all over their clothes.

You don’t have to use a bowl specifically designed for the purpose but you do need to use separate bowls of water for each end.

Start with your baby’s face and use cotton wool, muslin or a very soft face cloth with lukewarm water to gently wipe around the contours of his face. Make sure the cotton wool isn’t too sodden as your baby won’t want his eyes, ears and nose covered with water. Remember all the places round the neck where milk deposits can gather and use new pieces of cotton wool – you must be very gentle and get in under all the folds.

If your baby has a sticky eye you will need to wipe the affected eye separately with cooled boiled water.

Use the second bowl or section of water for his bottom. Look up his back and in his thigh folds for any dirty traces. Wipe from front to back on a baby girl so you do not introduce poo into her vaginal area.

If your baby is damp, gently pat him dry using a little towel, starting with his face. 

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