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Hygiene care for toddlers

Les soins d'hygiĂšne du tout petit

Written by Pauline ASSERAY, infirmiÚre puéricultrice depuis 10 ans ! - Updated on Jun 24, 2023

Summary :

    Written by Pauline ASSERAY, Childcare nurse for 10 years (neonatology, maternity and pediatric intensive care) - Updated on June 24, 2023


    Vast subject, which in my opinion, is not sufficiently explained before birth. I receive many testimonials from parents who feel a little lost or even helpless in the face of their new missions.
    It is therefore with pleasure that I give you my advice to help you on a daily basis

    Before starting each treatment , remember to wash your hands and prepare everything you need for baby's toilet. This will allow you not to have to walk away from him.
    Reminder : “ You never take your eyes or hands off baby, an accident can happen too quickly! »
    The different facial treatments
    1. The eyes
    For baby's eyes, we use pipettes of physiological serum (once opened we do not keep the pipette for more than a day).
    - Soak a sterile compress in physiological serum then clean the eye from the outer corner to the inner corner. Indeed the secretions and dirt present will accumulate in the inner corner of the eye, the goal is therefore to clean the eye from the cleanest to the dirtiest .
    - We'll take a new compress to clean the other eye.
    - If baby's eyes are stuck together by secretions , leave a compress soaked in physiological saline on the eye for a few seconds, in order to soften the secretions and allow the eyelids to gently lift off.
    2. Ears
    Baby's ears are fragile , so no cotton swab, a small piece of cotton will suffice. Indeed, earwax has a protective function of the ear, so there is no need to thoroughly clean the baby's ear. Cleaning the visible part will suffice.
    - Make a small sausage by rolling a piece of cotton between your fingers and soaking it in physiological saline.
    - Clean the pavilion and the back of the ear.
    - Dry with a piece of cotton or a soft towel.
    3. The nose
    It is necessary to make the difference between a daily nose cleaning and a nose wash which is carried out when baby has a stuffy nose.
    Often babies do not like cleaning their noses. It's not easy for parents to do that. However, it is very important to do it daily .
    - Make a small sausage by rolling a piece of cotton between your fingers and soaking it in physiological saline.
    - Introduce it into the nostril by making small circular movements . (use one pudding per nostril).
    - You can also place 1 drop of saline solution at the entrance to each baby's nostril, while inhaling the drop should go up into his nose.
    This care can cause sneezing in babies. Nothing abnormal , sneezing cleans the nose too!
    4. The face
    Baby with fragile skin , prefer tap water or mineral water.
    (We avoid using cleansing milks, micellar water, wipes and other products recommended by brands).
    - Using a washable cloth or a washcloth, clean baby's forehead, cheeks and chin.
    - Watch out for small creases, remember to clean baby's neck and back of ears , dirt tends to accumulate there .
    - Then, dry the face and folds with a soft, clean towel.
    To moisturize his face , you can use a vegetable oil suitable for baby's skin, such as apricot kernel oil or jojoba oil (beware of oils from nuts such as sweet almond oil It is famous for babies but can be allergenic ).
    Umbilical cord care
    1. How to clean the umbilical cord?
    For starters, rest assured , handling and cord care are painless for baby.
    - Clean the cord with mild soap and water twice a day, or more, if it is soiled (urine, stool or other)
    - Soak a cotton swab with water and drop a tiny bit of mild natural soap.
    - Clean the cord but especially its base (junction between the cord and the baby's future navel)
    - Go completely around the cord with the cotton swab. Feel free to gently move the umbilical cord to clean everywhere.
    - Rinse with another cotton swab to remove any soap residue.
    - With the other end of the cotton swab or a compress, carefully dry the entire cord.
    - In the event of infection of the cord, apply an antiseptic based on Chlorhexidine to disinfect the cord (using a compress or a cotton swab).
    - Fold the diaper under the baby's cord to avoid any chafing and also to avoid contact with baby's urine and stool.
    - Once the cord has fallen, continue cleaning the navel for 5 days to allow complete healing.
    You can bathe your baby even if the cord hasn't fallen off yet. The important thing is to dry it well afterwards.
    2. When will the umbilical cord fall off?
    Once cut, the cord will dry out and fall naturally during the first month.
    If this one is torn off accidentally , a small flow of blood is possible. Press lightly with a compress until the bleeding stops, then consult a doctor .
    3. When should I worry and consult?
    If you notice any of the following signs, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
    • The cord oozes, bleeds, or a discharge is at its base
    • Persistent redness or swelling at the base of the cord
    • An unusual smell from the cord
    • If the cord has not yet fallen off after 1 month of life
    • If the cord is pulled out accidentally
    • If you notice poor navel healing after the cord has dropped. (Small piece of flesh that oozes a little; umbilical bud).
    The change
    Baby's skin is delicate and fragile . His buttocks are often wet because in contact with urine and stool.
    It is important to change baby regularly , before each meal and/or as soon as he has a bowel movement.
    When it comes to products, the simplest and most natural are often the best .
    Liniment or lukewarm water when there is only urine. In case of stools; warm water and soap. Again, avoid toilet milks, micellar waters and wipes that can attack his skin .
    Respect baby's motor development : do not lift him by holding his feet (risk of causing certain complications: dislocation of the hips, tension, pain and discomfort).
    We will change baby either by turning him to the side or by rolling up his pelvis (more natural movements) .
    · Unhook the bodysuit and open the diaper
    - Fold the diaper back on itself so that baby is no longer in contact with it (or remove it completely).
    - Urine: use water or liniment.
    - Stools: use soap and water then rinse with water.
    - Always clean the front from top to bottom, from the cleanest to the dirtiest (to prevent infections and not to bring bacteria back to the urinary tract).
    1. Changing on the side:
    • Take baby's left thigh with your right hand and tilt him to the right side, your left hand will support his back and head. In this position you can continue cleaning the buttocks and back.
    • Place the new layer
    • Rock the baby back onto his back, then to the other side if necessary, to adjust the position of the diaper.
    2. Changing by rolling up the pelvis:
    (Be careful not to lift baby by the feet, but wrap his pelvis well).
    • Place your hand under baby's knees and tilt the pelvis so that his knees are close to his chest. In this position you can continue cleaning the buttocks and back.
    • Remove the dirty diaper (if still present) and place the new one. Then gently rest baby.
    • Remember to bring out the small collars present at the level of the thighs in order to prevent overflows.
    • Always remember to dry baby's skin well, without forgetting the small folds.
    • Close the layer. (To be sure it is tight enough but not too much, you should be able to fit two fingers at the level of the baby's belly between his skin and the diaper).
    How to prevent diaper rash?
    Change the diaper regularly (Urine and stool in contact with the skin cause irritation and redness).
    Dry the small folds well before closing the diaper to avoid maceration .
    Check diaper size. (Do not always trust the instructions on the package. A layer that is too small can cause friction).
    Avoid the use of disposable wet wipes which irritate the skin.
    What to do in case of diaper rash?
    Change the baby's diaper as soon as it is soiled by urine or stool.
    Use only water to change baby with mild soap in case of stool.
    Use a special cream recommended by your doctor.
    Consult your doctor if redness persists for more than 4 days or if baby has fever, blisters or bleeding.
    Cut baby nails
    Very often from birth, baby has a tendency to scratch . No need to put mittens on it! The sense of touch , highly developed in babies from birth, allows them to receive a lot of information about the world around them.
    It is therefore important not to hinder this sense . All you have to do is cut his fingernails.
    Often a source of anxiety for the parent, privileged a quiet moment. (The first months you can do this when baby is sleeping).
    The first month, baby's nails are very soft (moreover they often break on their own) and the skin adheres to the nail.
    So we don't cut baby's nails but we file them ! (There are special baby glass nail files with finer grains and suitable for soft nails).
    After 1 to 2 months , you can start cutting nails. At first, choose a baby-specific round-tipped scissor.
    Around 6 months , his nails are much more rigid, if you wish you can replace the scissors with a nail clipper.
    Avoid cutting the nails after the baby's bath, in fact the water will have softened the nails which will increase the risk of cuts .
    - Remember to disinfect the equipment (file, scissors or nail clippers) before each use.
    - Find the position in which you are most comfortable: baby in your arms or swaddling on the changing table or in the arms of the second parent.
    - Hold baby's finger between your thumb and index finger and with your other hand, file/cut the nail.
    - File/cut the nails without rounding the angles too much to prevent them from becoming incarnate.
    • Be careful not to cut too short, it could cause inflammation .
    • We do not touch the small skins around the nail.
    How often will depend on your baby, but fingernails grow much faster than toenails. Cut them about once a week depending on their length.
    What to do if you have cut the skin or the nail too short?
    If there is a cut, compress lightly to stop the bleeding then disinfect the skin with an antiseptic suitable for the baby's age. Monitor healing.
    If you cut the nail too short, watch the skin . If it turns red and the fingertip swells, apply an antiseptic suitable for the baby's age and consult your doctor.
    It is recommended to perform each treatment in a quiet environment . Take advantage of this time together to talk to your baby, explain to him what you are going to do, this will reassure him and help with communication .
    Pauline ASSERAY
    childcare nurse for 10 years!
    Accompaniment in benevolence and empathy are for her, fundamental notions.
    You can find her on her Instagram account @parentimparfait
    She created "imperfect parent" to share and support families in their daily lives.
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