In our newborn baby care class, we learned about changing baby’s diapers and giving baby a sponge bath, as far as cleaning up baby was concerned. Unfortunately, they never mentioned the other tasks involving baby’s hygiene that really took up my entire morning on a daily basis.
Cleaning the cord
It wasn’t complicated, just scary. We had to clean the surrounding area of the cord with cotton and alcohol or the alcohol wipes they gave us at the hospital three times a day until it fell off.
I was told that daily bathing might dry up his skin faster, so we bathed him every other day instead. However, bathing baby took more effort and time than my own 10-minute shower, counting in how long it took to set up baby’s bathing area (part of our poor dining table) and prepare everything we will need before the actual sponge bathing.
Clipping and filing baby nails
It’s unbelievable how long they already were the day he was born! Unfortunately, they didn’t clip his nails at the hospital because it was considered “surgery” – which I thought was absurd, until I tried to clip his nails myself. It can actually be considered “surgery” with what it took to finish the procedure – a good pair of eyes, very steady hands and lots of neck endurance!
This little task seemed daunting to a new mom like me, because he had the tiniest little nails I’ve ever seen and I was so afraid I’d hurt his little fingers. But it had to be done, because tiny as they were, his nails were so sharp and he scratched himself to no end (he still does up to now). So I worked up the courage to clip his nails with those rounded scissors one day (with my mom’s support and supervision) and finally got comfortable enough to do it daily.
Digging in between fingers and toes
Who would’ve thought a baby can collect all that dirt in between his clenched fist and toes?! I certainly didn’t, but I guess because he wears mittens and socks, the fibers get stuck in between his fingers and toes, along with dead skin and sweat. No wonder his hands just started smelling like feet – eek! This called for a daily sweeping of the crevices of his hands and feet with a wet cotton swab.
Nose clean up
It never occurred to me that I’d have to decongest my baby every waking morning until the day I heard him snort - a few days after he was born. Apparently, his tiny nasal passages can collect a lot of mucous that are hard for him to sneeze out himself. So I found myself mastering what hubby and I called OBE: Operation Boogie Extraction. Armed with a trusty bulb syringe from the hospital, saline drops and some good daylight (and tissue), I suctioned my baby’s snotty little nose every single morning before I went downstairs for breakfast. How appetizing, huh?
These all eventually changed just as fast as my baby grew. But as I take a few things off my daily baby to-do list, I add a couple more.
Life with a baby is exciting indeed – nothing is ever the same, and you’ll never know what this little individual will bring to your life every single day. Except for one thing – lots of joy, especially when he is all clean and happy, because I am all happy.
As for me being all clean, umm… that’s a whole other story.