Parents play a critical role in keeping babies’ genitalia clean by changing diapers at least eight times each day, and providing adequate diaper rash cream as soon as they become mobile.
Most diapers absorb urine well enough that no wiping is necessary; however, when your baby has an uncomfortable rash it might be wise to clean with antiseptic wipes instead of just water alone.
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What to Wipe
Your baby shouldn’t need to be sitting in a pool of pee for you to need to wipe him/her down; disposable diapers are so absorbent that there’s rarely any urine left directly touching their delicate skin, even if some do get through direct contact. Plus, thanks to moisture-wicking properties of disposable diapers they often do most of the wiping themselves – just like using a wet cloth would.
But this doesn’t mean that wiping is no longer necessary; there are still times when it is essential for keeping your baby comfortable and clean. One such occasion would be after they have just pooped. Any parent familiar with changing a wet diaper knows there is often more than pee left behind during a messy diaper change; therefore it would be prudent for cleanliness and comfort’s sake to provide a quick but gentle wipe from front to back to remove any potential fecal matter that has lodged itself into their anal area.
Wipe your baby from front to back after cleaning their anal area with soap and water to avoid introducing bacteria from their rectum into their urethra and potentially leading to urinary tract infections, particularly as women’s urethras are shorter than men’s so more easily brought in from anal areas causing urinary tract infections than are men. This step is particularly important since women are more prone to urinary tract infections than men.
It is wise to perform a quick, gentle wipe if you suspect your baby has “sharted”. Sharting occurs when small amounts of poop pass along via fart, and should be cleaned away quickly before its smell spreads further. After wiping, use mild soap or sanitizer on your hands before cleaning your fingers again with mild cleaner.
Wipe from Front to Back
Baby wipes can be very helpful when wiping baby after pee, but it’s essential that you know how to use them correctly. Otherwise, bacteria from the area you’re wiping may transfer from your hands onto their anus and cause infection. To prevent this from happening, always opt for wipes without alcohol and perfume as this will ensure sensitive skin won’t become irritated while no chemicals transfer onto their anus.
Wipe from front to back when cleaning your baby’s bottom and genitals for optimal hygiene. This will prevent bacteria from her anus spreading to her vagina and urethra by wiping from behind – an especially vital consideration if she wears an insufficiently covered diaper that leaves some part of her anus exposed.
When you’re ready to begin wiping, lay your baby down on a flat surface with her legs spread apart and wipe her genitals and bottom thoroughly with an alcohol and perfume-free baby wipe. Remember to clean her areas around testicles and between creases too; wrapping a wipe around your finger may help get into tight spaces more efficiently.
Be careful and use only gentle pressure, while at the same time making sure all urine and stool is cleared away from her labia – leaving even a trace may lead to infection in her labia! Once you’ve cleaned her bottom and genital area thoroughly, place a new diaper.
As babies who cannot sit up themselves may need help wiping themselves correctly and at an angle that ensures bacteria don’t enter their vulva and labia and cause infection, it is essential that caregivers understand how to wipe from top of thighs down until perineum, then anus, as this will ensure proper wiping procedures. For optimal results start wiping from top of thighs down until perineum then anus for best results.
If your baby can hold his or her own head up independently, wiping from the side may be appropriate; otherwise, newborns must still be wiped from the front.
Wash Your Hands
Rule we all learn when potty training – always wash your hands after using the bathroom – but a recent YouGov poll revealed that 42% of Americans do not always follow this practice post-pee, opting instead to either rinse their hands or forgoing soap altogether. Doing this puts us all at risk of picking up bacteria which could range from minor digestive discomforts all the way through to potentially life-threatening illness like coronavirus.
Though it might be tempting to skip hand washing if you aren’t handling raw meat, pee, or feces, urine isn’t quite as sterile as we think – it actually contains low levels of bacteria which help maintain bladder lining but are otherwise harmless to human health.
However, when combined with poop they can cause severe skin irritation and lead to diaper rash if left on for too long. Urea, which comprises most of urine, can change skin pH while reacting with other irritating elements in feces to speed up barrier damage and cause further irritation.
At every nappy change, even after peeing, it is imperative that babies be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water after their diaper change. Modern disposable diapers are highly absorbent so as to limit how much urine comes into contact with baby’s skin.
But if time is of the essence, simply rinsing with water can still be as effective at eliminating germs as washing with mild detergent and water – the goal should always be to get all possible germs off without irritating or drying out delicate skin.
For events where hand-holding or reaching is likely, it may be more prudent to choose a wash than bring a diaper. After all, public restrooms can differ substantially from your own home toilet! Be sure to carry baby wipes, nappy cream and ointment just in case it becomes necessary to use one during your travels.
Wash Your Baby’s Clothes
When your baby pees or spits up, it can stain her clothes. No matter if they are new or pre-loved, always wash them beforehand – that way you know exactly what chemicals or irritants have come into contact with the fabric and can effectively wash away them before wearing. Do this on a daily basis so your little one stays fresh and clean throughout her day!
If you can catch a stain before it becomes heavy, simply rinse it away with cold water to clean up light stains like drool or breastmilk splatters before they set in. If that doesn’t work, pre-soaking clothing in a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar may work; vinegar is an antibacterial that will remove food stains while still being safe for baby’s delicate skin.
For tough stains, opt for detergent that is gentle yet effective on fabrics. If chemical use concerns are an issue, try switching to mild phosphate-free laundry soap which won’t contain harsh chemicals while keeping your laundry greener than ever.
Dry wipes made from antibacterial cotton may also provide another viable option, providing soft yet versatile performance comparable to cloth diapers and offering more versatility for baby care, wiping away sweat and drool, or serving as an alternative paper towel in the home. You could even use them when cooking or cleaning!
Baby clothes and blankets need to be washed often, especially for newborns, since they go through so many clothes quickly. Doing this regularly will prevent your newborn from experiencing rashes by keeping things clean and fresh for their first years. Also read up on any garment’s care label; some items, like flameproof sleepwear, require special treatment that could damage it further if detergents used to wash it are ineffective.