Topping & Tailing

Topping and tailing means cleaning only the parts of your baby that really need cleaning: hands, face, neck and nappy area. It is a great alternative to a bath, especially when baby is under six weeks old. This is how you do it:

Cleaning Baby’s Face

  • Undress baby down to her nappy, wrap her up snugly in a bath towel and put her on the changing table. Soak some cotton wool in the lukewarm water. Use a fresh piece of cotton wool to wipe each eye from the nose outwards.
  • Use another piece of cotton wool to clean baby’s forehead and cheeks.
  • Wipe over and behind each of baby’s ear. Do not poke it into the actual earhole. Use fresh cotton wool for each ear.
  • Clean baby’s face by wiping around her mouth and nose.
  • With fresh cotton wool, wipe under her chin and in her neck creases.


Cleaning Baby’s Body

  • Remove the towel wrapping baby. Gently lift each arm and wipe the armpit area with fresh cotton wool.
  • Unclench baby’s hands to clean the fingers, between fingers and palm.
  • Wipe baby’s tummy and around her umbilical cord stump. Pat dry with a towel.


Cleaning Baby’s Genital Area, Buttocks and Legs

Baby boys Watch carefully for signs of infection if baby is circumcised. Until the penis heals completely, avoid getting it wet. If the baby is not circumcised, never pull back the foreskin. You may tear the skin. Simply clean the surface creases with soaked cotton wool. Be sure to clean the scrotum too. To wipe his buttocks and the back of the thighs, hold baby’s ankles with one hand and lift him until his bottom is raised off the surface. Then wipe with moist cotton wool. Remember to wipe the folds of skin in the legs and between toes as well.

Baby girls Do not try to clean the inside of your baby girl’s vulva. It may cause infection. Wipe from the front to the back to avoid transferring germs from the anus to the vagina. Use fresh soaked cotton wool for each swipe. Lift the baby’s ankles with one hand to wipe the bottoms and back of the thighs. Make sure you clean her legs and feet too.

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