Handy tips for new parents
To help you care for your newborn baby, here are some practical tips on changing nappies, burping and bathing.
How to change a nappy
Nappy changing can take a little practice – but it won’t be long before you are changing nappies like a pro.
First thing to remember is to never leave your baby unattended on a change table, even for a second and to keep one hand on your baby at all times when changing a nappy.
Before you begin, make sure you have all these supplies within easy reach:
- Washable changing mat
- A clean nappy
- A wet soft cloth or wet wipes
- Nappy bin or a nappy bag, if you are using them, to dispose of dirty nappy
- A change of clothes in case of little accidents
Then, follow these steps to change your baby’s nappy:
- Open your baby’s clothes and pull them up so they don’t get soiled
- Open a clean nappy so you have it ready
- Undo the nappy and use the front of it to wipe away as much solid waste as possible
- Holding your baby’s ankles, gently lift your baby’s bottom and remove the dirty nappy
- Fold and put nappy to the side ready for disposal later or place in a nappy bag, if using
- Using a wet soft cloth or wet wipes, clean your baby’s front and bottom
- If required, apply nappy rash cream or barrier cream
- Again, gently lift your baby’s legs so you can slide a clean nappy under their bottom (sticky tabs at the back if you are using a disposable nappy)
- Fold the front of the nappy through their legs and secure or seal using sticky tabs
- Dress your baby and give them a little cuddle before disposing of the dirty nappy or nappy bag
How to burp your baby
Sometimes, babies swallow air when feeding. This air is called ‘wind’, and you need to help them bring it up or they may become unsettled. If your baby refuses to suckle or starts crying when you lay them down after a feed, it’s a good sign they need burping.
Some babies need winding or burping during a feed, while others have a good burp afterwards.
The most common position for burping your baby is to place your baby up on your shoulder, holding them securely with one arm and patting or rubbing their back with the other.
Another position, usually recommended by healthcare professionals, is to sit your baby on your lap in an upright position. Support your baby’s chin with one hand and rub or gently pat your baby’s back with the other.
How to give your baby a bath
Bathing your baby can be a very special, bonding ritual. To get started, make sure the room is warm and the water temperature is between 37°C and 38°C, or 36°C for a newborn. Be sure to check the water temperature carefully, as it can take less than a second for a child to be severely scalded by water that’s too hot.
Have these supplies ready:
- A baby bath, or any tub that works – some people even use the kitchen sink
- A wash cloth
- Cotton wool
- Soft towel
- Nappy changing items
To bathe your baby, keep these tips in mind:
- Always use two hands when lifting your baby in and out of the bath
- Use one arm to gently support your baby’s back, neck, and head in the bath, and hold under baby’s armpit around the top of their arm as they can get very slippery. Use the other hand to clean your baby.
- Start at the top of baby by washing eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, under the chin and behind the ears, then go on and wash the rest of baby, making sure to get in between skin creases. Leave baby’s bottom until last (if you have a baby girl, clean front to back).
- Take care when cleaning around the umbilical cord to prevent infection
- Gently pat your baby dry after the bath, paying special attention to the skin creases in their neck, arms and legs.