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Routine Child Care


General Hygiene : It is necessary to clean one's hands and legs properly before handling the child after coming from outside and before bathing the child. It is necessary to keep a clean cloth on one's legs while bathing the child. You should not wash the breast before every feed. Washing the breast when bathing is all that is required.

Nails : It is imperative that everybody handling the child should maintain proper nail hygiene. Baby's overgrown nails should be pared taking due precautions. This can be best done with a pair of small scissors or a small nail cutter when the child is asleep.

Scalp : Applying oil(Patting oil into the fontanel) does not hasten the process of closure of fontanel (a diamond shaped soft space at the top of the head). This space closes by itself by 18 months.

Nose and ear : Do not put oil into child's nose / ears. The former may cause oil pneumonia / nose block, and the latter can damage the ear. Earwax need not be removed in infants.

Mouth : Do not clean a child's tongue / mouth with glycerine or by any other method. Some whiteness on the tongue is natural and does not interfere with feeding. Spotty / patchy white deposits on tongue and all over mouth are because of fungal infection (thrush). This needs treatment.

Breast : Due to mother's hormones baby's breast tissue may get a little enlarged and may start secreting milk. Expression of this milk is not necessary. It causes breast tissue enlargement and pus formation. Subsequently infection can spread in the blood. (Similar hormonal effects in a female child can produce vaginal bleeding lasting 1-2 days. This should not worry the parents)

Bath : It is advantageous not to bathe the baby soon after birth. Bathing soon after delivery can cause lower the child's body temperature. It may also lead to skin infections. It delays the first contact with the mother as also the first breastfeed. Bathing can be entirely done away with in maternity homes.

While bathing the child at home, do not turmeric powder, gram(Channa) flour, milk cream or other substances. These can cause skin irritation and heat boils. The tiny hair on the body which is likely to fall, will gradually fall off on their own. A baby can be bathed with any low alkali bathing soap and lukewarm water.

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Disclaimer: All material provided at Breastfeedingindia.org is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Consult with your doctor regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.