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  • How to Clean Your Baby's Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Mouth

    Baby grooming is a skill every parent needs to learn and master.
    by Rachel Perez .
How to Clean Your Baby's Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Mouth
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Grooming isn't something a lot of new parents think about when it comes to their baby. But they quickly realize baby grooming can be nerve-racking! Their tiny human needs a bath, nails trimmed (every parent's worst nightmare), his eyes, ears, and nose cleaned, and even his mouth needs a wash though he doesn't have teeth yet.

    The worst part? YOU have to perform these fragile tasks. It is scary, yes, but the key is preparation and being armed with the following information. See these as bonding opportunities because you will never hold your baby like this again!

    Bathing

    Prep everything — your baby's tub, milk soap, drying towel, change of clothes, etc. — before you actually start bathing your child. Don't forget to check the water's temperature and always ensure that the water doesn't get in your baby's ears. If your baby has infant acne, it's best to leave it alone. Cleaning it with a mild cleanser may help but only upon the advice of your baby's pediatrician.  

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    A quick bath, five to 10 minutes maximum, for your tiny human is enough. Be careful if his umbilical cord stump is still attached. Dry and dress him up as soon as you finish bathing. You can learn more about giving your baby a bath here

    Eyes

    It's normal to see some dried up secretion lining your little one's eyes. It might take some two weeks for a newborn's tear ducts to fully function. You can help open them up by applying warm compress and gently massaging the area around the eyes. 

    Try not to pick or scrape out the dried eye secretions. To clean your baby's eyes, use a clean, soft, damp washcloth or a cotton ball and dipped in warm water and gently dab around your baby's eyes. There's no need to use soap when cleaning the area around the eyes.

    Ears

    Human ears are self-cleaning did you know that? Ear wax protects the ear canal and dries up to form little balls that fall out on their own when you yawn, chew, or swallow.

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    So don't go poking inside your baby's inner ear using a cotton bud. You can do further damage by ending up pushing the dirt further inside the ear and cause trauma and bleeding to the lining of his ears. Dr. Consuelo V. Teodoro, M.D., a pediatrician at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, advises a visit to your pediatrician if you suspect a problem, such as pain, discomfort, or even if it's just dirty ears, so he can check and clean your baby's ears for you. 

    To clean your baby's ears, just whip out your trusty clean, soft, damp washcloth or a get cotton ball dipped in water to wipe your baby's outer ear and behind his earlobe.

    Nose

    Newborn noses usually clear up during bath time. If your baby's nose is stuffed, use saline drops. Just a couple of drops will help moisten the dried up mucus in your baby's nose so it can drain by itself, or with the help of a nasal aspirator. You can also use the nasal aspirator even without saline drops. 

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    Saline drops are safe, and you can buy it without prescription in drug stores. You can also make your own. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces or warm (boiled) water, and stir until dissolved. Don't store it for too long; make another batch the next time your child needs it. 

    Mouth, gums, and tongue

    Baby's mouth, gums, and tongue need regular daily cleaning, too. It'll help your little one get used to the habit of real brushing later on. 

    Here's how: Wrap your index finger in a damp gauze or a soft washcloth, and then swipe over baby's gums and make sure to go over the top and bottom. Wipe it also over your little one's tongue. No rubbing and no toothpaste needed yet. 

    If you notice some white spots on your baby’s gums, they're more likely to be tiny fluid-filled papules or cysts. They're harmless and will soon disappear. White spots on baby's tongue could also be just milk residue which can easily be wiped off, says Dr. Francesca Tatad-To, M.D., a pediatrician at The Medical City. If it does not go away after cleaning, visit your baby's pediatrician. 

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    Once your baby's first tooth erupts, you can switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. If his milk teeth are almost all out, you can start using a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Bring your baby to the dentist for his first dental checkup. 

    Nails

    Do you really need to cut your baby's nails? Yes, but wait until you are comfortable and confident enough to do so. No need to rush because you can use mittens to protect our baby from fingernail scratches until you can trim them short.

    When you do decide to cut your baby's nails on his fingers and toes , the safest time is when your little one is asleep. Make sure you have a lot of light. It's safer to use baby nail clippers, which are designed specifically for baby's nails, instead of one that's for adults that tend to be sharper.

    A nail file will also do the trick. With a nail file, there's little chance of cutting your baby's skin or finger, but it can take you longer to finish the job even if your little one is just napping.

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    Hair

    Do you really need a brush or comb to groom your newborn's hair (if he or she even has hair)? Some moms do even if they're little hair, and that's fine. Hand-combing is okay, too.  

    If you think your baby is losing his hair, don't panic. "It's totally normal," pediatrician dermatologist Dr. Bernard Cohen, M.D., told Parents. He assured your baby's hair is just going through a change of growth patterns and will grow back.

    If your baby has cradle cap, don't try to pick and remove the crusty skin. Similar to infant acne, it should resolve on its own after a few weeks. For stubborn cradle cap, you can use naturally to edible oil and gently massage the scalp to help the flakes detach. 

    Bald spots are a result of baby's scalp resting on a mattress often. It means that your baby is on his back, probably the same position most of the time. Giving your little more tummy will help. 

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