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My first niece was born when I was 19 years old. My sister lived at home, so I had a lot of exposure to early baby life and I thought I had a good idea about what to expect 12 years later when I had my first baby. I didn’t even read-up on baby boogers, earwax and other baby hygiene routines while I was pregnant, because I thought I knew, or at least that it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to deal with them.
Today, my friends, I am giving you a very valuable service by telling you that this is what you’re gonna want to know before the baby comes. If you already have “the baby”, stop reading this mumbo jumbo and scroll down to the specific heading you need at this very moment – because I know that you need it at this very moment!
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Eye Goobers & Crusties
Full-disclosure. When Aurora was less than 24 hours old, I GENTLY used the tip of my baby fingernail to lift off an eye goober she had on her skin, right beside the corner of her inner eye. Big mistake. She had a tiny red mark there for a good 2 weeks. I felt like a failure.
Always, always use a soft, warm washcloth to remove eye goobers & crusties from a baby’s eye area. Their skin is so incredibly sensitive. So, if your instinct is to go in there picking around or grooming like a Mama Ape, make sure you have a warm cloth handy.
A newborn’s fingernails are paper-thin – I’m totally serious. I’ve heard this before and I guess I just forgot when Aurora was born, because I was genuinely surprised at how thin and flimsy her nails were. I guess it makes sense for them to be so thin when you’ve just been all snuggled-up in a sac of amniotic fluid for 9 months. Go ahead and use your new baby fingernail clippers on a piece of paper to test it out… it’s hard to do.
So… aside from the thin fingernails, which will harden up fairly quickly, this task is usually very easy. Gently hold their fingertip from the side and move the finger pad down a bit, so it’s away from the fingernail. Clip going along the natural curve of the nail.
Newborns don’t move that much, but if you’re having issues with a wriggly baby, you can usually trim their nails while they’re sleeping. NOW. If you have my child, you will need to exercise your patience. I could not trim her nails when she slept, because she would wake up (it was very difficult to get her to sleep in the first place). She was also a very wiggly and vocal baby – still is. If this is the case, you may need a second person to help you either distract (older babies) or keep an arm still (younger babies). Dads are good at distracting 🙂
This may or may not be present when your baby is born. If it’s not present, it can still appear during your baby’s first year of life. Cradle cap is flaky, dry skin on a baby’s scalp and can be yellow or brownish. It’s very common, so not to worry.
Aurora was not born with cradle cap, but she did acquire it somewhere around 5- 6months of age. I’m not sure exactly, because she had so much hair, I didn’t notice at first. So your first tip is to check your baby’s scalp periodically if they have lots of hair. You won’t notice when you’re washing their hair, because it will be sudsy, which will cover up any dry skin.
How to get rid of it? This is what we did and it worked like a charm! We used good ‘ol coconut oil and massaged it into her scalp on the affected areas, 30 minutes before her bedtime bath. After wetting her hair and sudzing it up with soap, I used a toddler’s soft toothbrush to gently massage the dry patches. I also used Aurora’s baby comb to brush the hair out of the way and check the status. Since she was about 6 months old while this was happening, I also gently used my fingernail to lift off any loose patches that were coming off with the toothbrush. Because the coconut oil is.. oily, we shampooed her hair twice.
It may take some time to fully eliminate all of the patches. It took us about 2-3 weeks. We didn’t work on it every day, because we wanted to give her a break from being picked at.
This is what you’ll read everywhere else: use a warm washcloth to wipe the inner areas of the ear – be sure not to put anything directly into the ear channel. No cotton swabs or anything. If you suspect that there is excess wax build-up, see your pediatrician.
Here is what I do: I wipe the inside of Aurora’s ears as above, but there is a ton of wax going on inside! So this is where I deviate… if I can see a chunk (yes – an actual chunk) of wax at the outer edge of her ear channel, I will use my baby fingernail to gently knock it out. Aurora will stop what she’s doing and wait until I’m done! I also have a package of cotton swabs that are specifically designed for use on baby or toddler ears. They are designed to prevent the swab from going entirely into the ear. You can check these out here: Cotton Swabs for Babies.
Obviously I should be telling you what everyone says, but I want you to know that that advice did not work for me and sometimes you have to find your own way 🙂
Do you remember the old bulb syringes? Or maybe you’ve seen pictures of them? These are still sold at drug stores and Babies ‘R Us, etc. I’m not sure why, since their suction is basically non-existent. I had one that came in some sort of hygiene kit before Aurora was born and I gave it a try. Why are these still being sold? It was useless! Thankfully I had also heard excellent things about the NoseFrida Snotsucker and I had one of those too.
The NoseFrida Snotsucker has real suction, because it’s you creating the suction. That’s right lady… you are going to single-handedly suck the snot out of your baby’s nose. There may also be a sponge filter involved so you’re not actually inhaling a booger, haha!
You can check out my Youtube video about how to properly use this thing, by clicking here. If you don’t want to hear me speaking and look at my pretty face (it’s only 4 minutes long!), then keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know. No hard feelings.
When you first purchase the NoseFrida, open it up and check to make sure that all of the pieces fit snugly together. I didn’t open mine until I needed it and one of the pieces unfortunately just slid away and wouldn’t stay together. I have it taped with green painter’s tape now.
Secondly, when you put the snot sucker into the baby’s nostril opening, gently move it around while you’re inhaling. This helps to get boogers off the sides of the nostril and I definitely notice much more being sucked-up when I do it this way.
Finally, have a tissue handy. Every time you complete an inhale, move the NoseFrida over to the tissue and blow a few times. You want to try and get the boogers or any runny mucous out and onto the tissue. Before I did this, I thought I was getting tons out of Aurora’s nose, but I noticed that it was the stuff that was already in the tube, just moving around.
Also – babies hate having their noses aspirated… sorrrry. Aurora is 9 months old right now and she is on the tail-end of a cold. I literally have to hold her arms down and keep her head from moving side to side while she screams at me. Just move fast and get it done as quickly as you can!
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