The Ultimate Guide for Grooming Your Baby

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A mom is grooming her cute baby

Baby grooming is a very important thing in daily baby care. We all know, being handed a newborn baby is intimidating. You have no idea what to do with your baby, and grooming your baby involves tasks you’ve never tried before. It can feel like you have to earn a masters in grooming to take care of your baby.

I know that I’ve spent time doubting my ability to groom my baby. How do you bathe a slippery baby? How  do you trim the nails that keep scratching your baby’s face as well as your own?

What you need is a simple guide on how to take care of your baby and proper grooming for your baby. You’ll gain some confidence in your ability.

The most important thing is to remember that you need to keep your baby in tiptop shape from head to toe. No job is too small or too big when it comes to grooming your baby. That also means you need the right equipment, and you need the right essentials. Otherwise, you’ll fight a losing battle, so let’s make a plan and gather a list of supplies.

Babies must be groomed for reasons other than purely cosmetic ones. Have you ever bee clawed by a baby’s nails? They’re like little talons that could carve out your eyes as they rake down your flesh. Not only do babies claw everyone, but they also tear their faces and leave scratches.

Do you want your baby to look like he rolled in a thorn bush? Probably not!

Grooming methods such as washing your baby’s hair and brush it can help reduce cradle cap, which causes crusty patches on your baby’s scalp. While cradle cap isn’t painful, it can be unsightly, so parents want to remove it.

Most importantly, starting a proper grooming routine for your child at birth keeps up the process through their formative years. Your child will be used to grooming and taking care of himself. It’s more than just appearance, but it also can carry significant consequences for your child.

Nail Care

Those little nails are like claws, and chances are you’ve seen your baby scratch herself with her nails. They grow very quickly, but you do have to cut them more often than you would think. It’s best to plan to cut your baby’s nails at a minimum of two times a week to trim back on the risk of scratching himself or other people.

What You Need :

  • Bright light
  • Emery board
  • Baby scissors or clippers

The Steps :

1. Take a Bath

Nails are soft when you take a bath, and it’s the perfect time to cut your baby’s nails. So, bath your baby and get dressed.

2. Make Sure You Have Good Light

You need bright light to see what you’re doing. You don’t want to risk accidentally cut your baby’s skin. Try cutting his nails using natural light or a flashlight.

3. Use the Clippers or Scissors

You need clippers that are small enough to work on your baby’s fingers safely. Push down on the skin around the top of your baby’s nails, so you don’t cut his skin. Also, make sure you hold your baby’s hand firmly so that you don’t lose grip.

4. Smooth Rough Edges

Once clipped, smooth any rough edges with the small emery board.

Tooth & Gum Care

Oral hygiene makes a severe impact on your child’s attitude about future oral health and keeping his mouth clean. It makes a significant impact on his future, and it’s best if you start oral care before they get the real things.

What You Need :

Here is what you need to make sure your baby’s mouth stays healthy.

  • A washcloth
  • Soft-bristled baby toothbrush

The Steps :

1. Start Before Teeth Come In

Teeth can appear at different ages, depending on your child. Some babies sprout teeth early, but your baby might not get his first tooth until a year old. Every child is different!

After feeding, wipe your baby’s gums off with a damp washcloth. Keep them clean and help your child get used to the idea of taking care of their mouth.

2. Increase Care When A Tooth Appears

Once your baby gets a tooth, it’s time to start taking care of your baby’s teeth. Early care prevents tooth decay and cuts back on the risk of getting a gum infection.

When the first tooth appears, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and plain water with a non-fluoride toothpaste after meals.

3. Apply Fluoride Around Age 2

Around age two, start using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Don’t use too much because children aren’t the best with spitting out toothpaste. The size of a grain of rice is appropriate.

Ear & Nose Cleaning

Ear wax isn’t a great thing to look at, but it isn’t a bad thing for your baby. It helps to contain microbes that ward off infection and protects your baby from getting water into the ear canal. You don’t have to remove it, but most people do want to take out some of the wax in the ear canal, especially in the opening right where you can see it.

As for your baby’s nose, it feels horrible to have a plugged up nose. Your baby might need his nose cleaned to help with breathing, and since your baby isn’t capable of blowing his nose himself, you have to do it for them.

What You Need :

  • Washcloth
  • Over-the-counter ear drops, if necessary

If you’re going to clean your baby’s nose, here are some supplies.

  • Saline nasal spray
  • Wet wipes
  • Baby nasal aspirator or bulb syringe
  • Washcloth

The Steps :

To clean your baby’s ears, follow these steps.

1. Use a Damp Washcloth

Put warm water on your washcloth to dampen it, and rub it around the inside of the ear, staying away from the ear canal. Using a cotton swab can push the wax back into the ear canal, leading to a blockage.

2. Use Ear Drops for Blockages

Sometimes, you might have a wax blockage, and if that happens, put two drops of ear drops into your baby’s ears.

To use ear drops, pull the earlobe away from your baby’s head and have your baby lie on his side. Keep your baby on his ide fro at least five minutes, so the drops have time to get into the ear canal and work fully. Then, use a washcloth to wipe away oil that comes out of the canal.

Do you need to clean out your baby’s nose?

It’s an easy task, but be warned – babies hate this process. Cleaning out your baby’s nose is bound to bring about screams and displeasure. Your baby doesn’t understand that’s a necessity.

1. Remove Crusts

If your baby has a cold, you might notice build-up of crust on the outside of your baby’s nose or at the base. Taking the crust off not only makes your baby look better, but it can help your baby breathe easier.

Removing snot crust is gross, but all you need is a warm, wet washcloth with plain water. Just wipe away the crust. Some parents use wet wipes.

2. Pick a Method for Unplugging His Nose

The two main things that you can use to unplug noses is saline drops and a nasal aspirator. Saline crops fight congestion, and they can loosen up thick mucus.

To apply saline drops to your baby’s nose, try these steps:

1 Lay your baby flat with his head tilted back a bit.
2 Take the dropper and put two drops of saline into each nostril. Wait a moment until you move your baby.
3 Turn your baby on his stomach and let gravity help to drain his nose.
4 Wipe his nose with a tissue or a warm washcloth.
5 Remember to clean the dropper or applicator before storing the saline drops.

If you want to use a nasal aspirator to clean his nose, it’s going to bring about an unhappy baby. Here are the steps:

1 Sit your baby upright
2 Gently put the tip of the nasal aspirator into your baby’s nostril and squeeze.

Hair Brushing

Hair brushing is an essential step for scalp health, plus you want to keep your child’s hair looking beautiful. If you have a baby with a lot of hair, you can end up with a build-up of cradle cap. Hair brushing is a necessity.

Hair brushing won’t remove all of the cradle cap, but it can dislodge some of it. It also can help encourage hair growth, and it’s hard not to enjoy the feeling of hair brushing.

What You Need :

  • Baby comb
  • Soft-bristled baby brush

The Steps :

Brushing your baby’s hair is one of the most straightforward tasks, but it also can be one of the most enjoyable for your baby.

1. Get in a Comfortable Position

You need a position that works for you and your baby. It might be with your baby lying down or sitting in an upright position while supporting his neck.

2. Brush Slowly

Soft-bristled brushes won’t hurt your baby’s scalp, but you don’t want to be rough. You shouldn’t make your baby feel as if you’re scratching his head. Start slowly and gently, making it enjoyable for your baby. Brush steadily, putting just enough pressure to stimulate the scalp.

Hair Trimming

When your baby’s hair gets long enough, you might want to trim it. Trimming keeps his hair out of his eyes and gets rid of any split ends that might develop.

If you’re worried about trimming your baby’s hair, go to a professional. If you’re feeling in tune with your inner hairstylist, get to hair trimming!

What You Need :

  • High chair, so your hands are free
  • Bath towel
  • Water bottle to spray your baby’s hair
  • Comb
  • Scissors
  • Food or toys to keep your baby distracted

The Steps :

Are you ready to get started with baby grooming? Here are the simple steps.

1. Put Your Baby in the Seat

A high chair is a great seating choice, and it gives you a good view of each side of your baby’s head. If you have other options, you can see what works best for your child.

2. Put A Towel Around Your Baby

If possible, clip the towel at the base of his beck so that it stays in position. A bib can work as well, but it needs to drape down his back.

3. Provide a Distraction

If possible, give your baby a toy or snack that keeps your baby happier or longer. It helps keep your baby comfortable and lets you finish the job.

4. Wet Hair

Using the spray bottle, start with the spot that you need to trim the most. Start with the most critical place to cut. There is a chance that your baby won’t sit the whole way through a hair trimming session.

5. Pull Hair Away from Your Baby

Don’t trim your baby’s hair right next to his skin. Pull his hair away to help protect your baby from the sharp scissors. Keep your fingers between your baby’s skin to avoid jabbing or cutting with the scissors.


Perhaps the most essential part of your baby’s overall hygiene is bathing. How often you wash your baby will depend on your plans. Some parents bathe daily, but if your baby has dry skin issues, you might not want to bathe daily because it will lead to even worse skin problems. Two to three times per week is a good minimum.

Umbilical Cord Care Concerns

You don’t want to get your baby’s umbilical cord wet. That makes baby bathing a bit more complicated. Sponge bathing is the best choice, or some parents use warm washcloths and soap to wipe down your baby laying on a towel.

Some doctors recommend that you wipe around the umbilical cord with alcohol to help dry it out. Others tell you to leave it alone unless a problem emerges.

Once your baby’s cord stump falls off, you can submerge your child in the water. That’s when bathing gets real fun for you and your baby.

What You Need :

  • Baby bathtub
  • Baby shampoo
  • Body Wash
  • Washcloth
  • Towel

The Steps :

1. Prepare the Bathing Area

First, make sure you prepare everything that you need before you bring your baby into the bathing area. You should never leave your baby in the bath unattended even for a moment.

2. Fill the Tub with Water

Next, fill up the tub with three to four inches of water. The water should be around 90 degrees F. Water that feels good to you might be too warm for your baby. I like my water to feel like a volcano, but that’s dangerous for a baby.

3. Wash Your Baby

Wet your baby’s head and body with water. Make sure to keep the water out of your baby’s eyes. Put a small bit of shampoo on your hand and rub it on your baby’s head. Rinse it off.

Then, use a washcloth and baby wash. Clean your baby’s body with the soap, focusing on areas where milk can become trapped, such as under his neck folds.

4. Dry Baby Off

Once your baby is clean, firmly grip your baby so that you don’t drop him. Move your baby straight to the towel and wrap the towel well. Take your baby to his nursery to get dressed, putting on baby lotion if you want.

Skin Care

If your baby has sensitive skin, you should take care of it to avoid a problem. These steps can be worked into your bathing routine as well.

What You Need :

You need a baby wash and baby shampoo, and you need to be sure that the products you pick are meant for sensitive skin.

  • Baby Lotion
  • Petroleum Jelly

The Steps :

1. Pick the Right Cleansers

The first thing that you should do is avoid picking any harsh cleansers. Look for ones that don’t contain soap, and use a tear-free kind made for babies.

2. Moisturize The Skin

Use a moisturizer every day on your baby. If your baby has dry skin issues, use it twice a day. Make sure that you pick a baby lotion is gentle enough for your baby’s sensitive skin.

However, if your baby has eczema, skip the baby lotion and use petroleum jelly. It provides a better coat and provides a superior barrier.

3. Protect Your Baby’s Skin with Bibs

Bibs can help protect your baby’s skin from drool, and babies create tons of drool in copious amounts. Baby bibs keep their skin dry and less irritated.

Bottom Cleaning

You want to keep your baby’s bottom in the right shape since you’ll be changing diapers 7-10 times per day. A baby’s bottom can become irritated and develop a case of diaper rash. Aside from bath time, you need to focus on bottom care during diaper changes.

What You Need :

You already have most of what you need to keep your baby’s bottom clean.

  • Washcloths
  • Wet Wipes
  • Diaper rash cream

The Steps :

1. Use Wet Wipes or a Washcloth

When your baby has a wet or soiled diaper, you need to use a damp wipe or a washcloth to get the waste off of his body. Always start from the top and work your way down and then move to the backside. This is particularly important for girls to avoid introducing bacteria.

2. Dry His Bottom

It’s always better to let his bottom air dry or pat it dry before putting on a fresh diaper. Also, a dry bottom helps to keep away yeast.

3. Use Cream, If Necessary

If your baby’s bottom shows signs of redness, it’s time to apply a layer of diaper ointment. Use it until your baby’s bottom is free of any signs of redness or irritation.

Practicing Grooming Your Baby

Cleaning is one of the important things every mom must do every day. Baby grooming requires a lot of patience, creating a routine for grooming your baby takes some time, trial, and error. You’ll find a method that works great for you and your baby. You often can take care of several grooming tasks at one time.  Grooming your baby helps to set a good precedence for proper hygiene throughout his lifetime.

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