How to wash your baby

Advice on cleaning your little one from her head to her tiny toes



Your baby might not have very much hair, or she might have a very full head of it! Either way, you can still wash her scalp with mild baby shampoo.


“Only use a grape-sized drop,” says midwife and health visitor Gill Thomson ( “You’ll need to rinse thoroughly, so do this at bathtime.”

Try this…

Simple baby shampoo is 100% free from perfume and colour – perfect for newborn tresses. £2.05 from Boots.

Your changing touch – lightly moving your fingers across her tummy, stroking her or rubbing her feet – will keep her stimulated and reassured that you’re there for her.

Cord/Belly Button

“The remains of the umbilical cord need to be bathed in cooled, boiled water,” says Gill. “Eventually it’ll dry and fall off (this can happen anywhere between 10 and 21 days), just like leaves from a tree.” The best way to dry it after wiping is with a fresh, dry piece of cotton wool. “The cord base may be quite yellow and gunky, but that’s nothing to worry about,” says Gill.

When born, your baby’s vision is blurred, but he’ll be able to recognise you after a few weeks.


“For sleep in the eyes, always use cotton wool and fresh, cooled, boiled water,” says Gill. Bathwater might have soap in which will irritate. “Clean from inside out, starting at the corner near the nose,” says Gill. Use a second piece of cotton wool for the other eye to prevent spreading any infection from one eye to the other. Gently pat away any water from her face with a clean, dry towel.

Try this…

Soft organic cotton wool will be gentle on your baby’s skin. Simply Gentle Organic Cotton Balls, £1.99 from Nature Botts.

Playing games can hep soothe and calm your baby


Go gently around the ears, says Gill. Things don’t need to be prodded in, as the wax inside is designed to protect.  “Just use a cotton bud to wipe around the folds of skin, don’t stick it into the ear or be too forceful,” she says. Remember to wipe behind the ear, too, where the skin can get sweaty and milky.


Creases of the neck

Milk and saliva often get into these little creases, so it’s important to keep them clean between baths. It’s simple to do. Cotton wool and warm water is perfect. If you 
notice her skin is dry, try rubbing some olive oil onto it, says Gill. Remember to dry the 
skin with a piece of cotton wool too, otherwise sores or rashes could develop.

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