Some babies love having a bath, while others need time to get used to it. For the first few weeks or so, you may want to top and tail baby instead. Our step-by-step guide to cleaning newborns starts at their head and ends at their bottom!
Sep 22, 2020
You don’t need to wash your baby every day—for the first few weeks it may be easier to top and tail instead.
Top and tailing is where you carefully wash the face, neck, hands and bottom.
You will need a bowl of cooled, boiled water, a bowl of warm water, cotton balls or cotton pads, a fresh diaper, clean clothes, and clean towels.
Wash your hands thoroughly and remove any rings or bracelets.
Check if the room is nice and warm—undress your baby and place them on a clean towel.
Topping means washing your baby’s face, neck and hands.
Babies’ eyes can be a little sticky after birth. Dip a cotton ball or a cotton pad in cool boiled water and gently wipe your baby's eyes from the nose outwards, using a new piece of cotton ball for each eye.
Use a fresh piece of cotton ball dipped in warm water to clean around your baby's ears, avoiding the inside.
Wash the rest of your baby's face, neck and hands in the same way.
If your baby still has vernix (the creamy white layer) in their creases, leave it there as it helps the skin barrier to develop.
Keep your baby’s umbilical cord stump clean and dry to avoid infection—wipe it with a fresh cotton ball dipped in cooled, boiled water each day and gently pat it dry.
The umbilical cord stump should drop off after about 10 days—if you have any concerns talk to your healthcare provider.
Tailing means cleaning your baby’s genitals and bottom.
Remove diaper and wash baby’s bottom and genital area with a fresh cotton ball and warm water.
If you prefer, use baby wipes, but make sure they are unperfumed and suitable for newborns.
Gently pat your baby dry paying particular attention to the skin folds, before putting on a clean diaper.
Dress baby in clean clothes. Newborns loose heat quickly so you may also want to use a blanket.
Breast milk is best for babies. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. At around six months of age (but not before 4 months), infants should receive nutritionally adequate and age-appropriate complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.
Nestlé Singapore fully recognises breast milk’s primacy, value and superiority and supports exclusive breastfeeding as recommended by the WHO.
The content on this website is intended as general information for Singaporean residents only and should not be used as a substitute for medical care and advice from your healthcare practitioner. The HPB recommends that infants start on age-appropriate complementary foods at around 6 months, whilst continuing breastfeeding for up to 2 years or beyond to meet their evolving nutritional requirements. If no longer breastfeeding, toddlers can switch to full cream milk after 12 months. This should be complemented by a good variety of solid foods from the four main food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and alternatives). For more information on the nutritional requirements of infants and young children, please visit www.healthhub.sg/earlynutrition.
Nestlé Baby & me is here to share the latest evidence-based information to ensure you feel supported and confident that you’re giving your baby the best possible nutrition.