Cleaning Baby’s Messiest Parts

Dirty Diapers

A baby is adorable, especially when it’s yours. Your cooing, pouting, dimpled baby has absolutely no control over his bodily functions… and there is nothing adorable about the inevitable cleanup.

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There are also jobs that appear so simple but can lead to gross-out territory. Kristen Kupperman, a Chicago mom, is a good example. Kupperman recalls, “I was quite squeamish to say the least, when I had to take Owen’s rectal temperature.” “My mouth opened and I thought, where am I supposed to stick my thermometer?”

Don’t be discouraged if this is how you feel about such issues. We have assembled a group of professionals, including moms who can give you the inside scoop on how to clean up poop and deal with other little details.

Diaper Duty

How could such a small baby create such a mess? It’s easy to clean up the mess without having to rent a biohazard suit.

What to do: Take a look at the diaper back to see what’s going on. If the situation looks grim, gather your supplies or you will be cleaning baby’s tushy and walls.

Cleaning Genitals

Clean-Penis Patrol

While size may not be important, how you clean your baby’s penis is. You can clean a circumcised penis differently than an uncircumcised one.

How to: Submerging your baby boy in water before the wound heals can cause infection. Dr. Dull warns that this could happen to circumcised babies. Once he has been circumcised, his penis is wrapped in gauze. Wait for the gauze not to come off before you clean it up.

Use a soft, damp, soapy cloth to clean the penis. Don’t forget the scrotum, which should be lifted, as well. Apply a triple antibiotic cream to the wound. This will keep it clean, heal it, and prevent it from sticking in the diaper. The ointment should be applied until the skin is evenly toned with the rest.

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Grooming for girls

This is the best part of raising girls: your baby’s vagina can be cleaned easily. Bruce Eisenberg MD, a private pediatrician and homeopath, says that unless there are feces in your labia, you only need to clean it superficially. “The vagina secretes most of the stuff that doesn’t belong in there.”

How to: Use a wet washcloth to cover your finger and gently rub the folds and creases. Dr. Eisenberg says that too much soap can cause irritation. You don’t need to separate the labia. After washing your child, dry it.

Stuffy Noses, Using Eyedrops

Stuffy Nose Detail

You will find a small bottle of saline drops in your baby paraphernalia drawers. Also, a small teardrop-shaped suction lamp. This is the odd pair you use to remove mucus from your baby’s nose if she’s stuffy.

How to: Place baby in your arms at 45 degrees and hold your hand on her forehead. Dr. Eisenberg says that you should never place baby on her back if you are injecting medicine into her nose or mouth. It can cause her to choke.

In each nostril, apply three to 10 drops of saline. Do not stress if you get a few drops in the wrong nostril. “The solution is similar to tears and doesn’t sting your eyes,” Dr. Eisenberg says.

To loosen the phlegm, leave it in place for a few minutes. If the baby’s nose is still feeling stuffy, take out the bulb. The aspirator should be pushed out. Next, insert the tip into the nostril. The nasal passages will not be affected if you blow air into them. Next, loosen your grip on it so that it suctions out mucus. Keep a tissue handy so you can clean up any mess.

Eyedrop Drama

You may need to give your baby medicine for his eyes at some point. It can be difficult to place drops in your own eyes so you might need some guidance.

How to: Place the baby on his back on a table or blanket and secure the safety belt. If you think your baby is active when you change his diapers, wait until he starts to see a medicine bottle aiming for his eyes!

Dr. Eisenberg suggests that if he refuses to keep his eyes open, Dr. Eisenberg will place the prescribed amount of eye drops on the inner edge of his eyelid. Do not worry about spillage; Dr. Eisenberg will account for it.

Cradle Cap

Captive to Conquer Cradle

Don’t be alarmed if your baby’s top is dry and scaly. Cradle cap is a harmless, painless combination of scalp oil and dry skin. It is as simple to remove as it is ugly.

How to: Take a quarter-sized amount of baby oil and rub it onto baby’s scalp. Dr. Eisenberg says that the baby oil should be left on the scalp for at least 10 hours to loosen the skin’s scales. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub off any remaining skin. Lisa McGonagle, Amherst (New Hampshire) says that this method is great and didn’t bother her baby at all. Baby can be washed with a little bit of dandruff shampoo. However, it is important to not get the shampoo in his eyes.

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Taking Rectal Temps

A thermometer placed under a baby’s tongue to get a temperature reading is like asking him to read War and Peace. Dr. Eisenberg says rectal thermometers are the best method to determine an infant’s temperature. The first year of life is too difficult for an accurate ear thermometer reading because the ear canal is so crooked. Equally inaccurate results can be obtained by taking a child’s temperature underneath his arm.

How to: Place a disposable or washable diapering pad. You don’t need to add any extra cleanup details. It is not uncommon for babies to vomit after taking their temperature. You can place your baby facedown on the pad, and then take off his diaper. To keep your baby steady, you can wipe the area with a regular cloth.

Use a digital thermometer to coat the tip with a water-based oil such as KY jelly. Place the thermometer approximately a half inch from his stomach. Dr. Dull says, “If the reading is too low — less than 97 degrees F,” take it back. Low temperatures could be a sign of a problem. However, it is also possible that the thermometer was not inserted far enough.

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Once you have a good idea of what you need to do, you can commit it to your memory. You’ll be using them for quite a while. What’s the bright side? Practice makes perfect!