5 Things to Know about Baby Grooming

So, you have a newborn in your hands and the bulk of the grooming process seems to be diaper changes. But that shouldn’t be all there is to baby grooming, right? At first glance, the concept of grooming something so small and delicate might seem very daunting. Don’t worry! That’s why we have prepared this guideline to walk you from start to finish in grooming your baby by outlining four key, but very basic areas to focus on. There are even a couple of tips and tricks thrown in as well to take the fear away in grooming and having your baby smell like perfection in no time!

Baby Grooming Basics

1. Giving your baby a bath

If your baby’s umbilical cord has still not fallen off, all you can do is a sponge bath as you have to keep it dry. We will be talking about how to clean your baby’s umbilical cord and belly button next but first, let’s cover the basics for a bath. Wash your own hands before you wash your baby to minimize the risk of passing on germs and bacteria. Spread out an absorbent towel that’s bigger than your baby and lay your baby on it. Dip a sponge or a soft towel in a bowl of warm water (and soap if you’re using) and wipe your baby down.

If your baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off, you can wash your baby in a shallow tub. A good rule of thumb when washing your baby would be to start from the face and work your way down to its feet!

2. Cleaning your baby’s belly button

If your baby still has its umbilical cord, perform a quick inspection of the area first. Are there any bad smells or discharge? Is there any pus, redness, tenderness or swelling? If so, bring your baby to see a pediatrician right away.

Otherwise, dip a cotton swab in warm water and squeeze it to remove excess. Very gently, wipe around the base of the cord and the area around it. If the baby’s umbilical cord caught some urine or poo, don’t fret, simply clean it with some soapy water. Next, dry the stump with a clean absorbent towel.

If your baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off, clean the belly button after you have cleaned the face and upper body. Use a washcloth to gently wipe in and around the belly button and then rinse. As usual, dry the area thoroughly and apply some lotion if your baby has dry skin or you think your baby needs it.

3. Handling sensitive skin

While babies are said to have sensitive skin in general when compared to adults, some babies have skin more sensitive than others. Sensitive skin occurs when the natural skin barrier has been damaged and it’s unable to hold on to moisture. This causes the skin to be dry and susceptible to itch and irritation. If your baby’s skin is easily prone to irritation and inflammation, here are some steps for you to make your baby more comfortable:

  • Keep baths brief as you don’t want to strip the natural oils in a baby’s skin.
  • Ensure the water is comfortably warm and pat the baby dry after a bath rather than rubbing the towel.
  • Ensure all fabrics that your baby encounters are natural (for example, cotton or linen). These give room for the skin to breathe.
  • Ensure the products you use for your baby’s laundry are specially designed for that purpose.
  • Never use anything for adults.

4. Brushing baby’s teeth

Brushing is not something you have to wait to do until your baby shows signs of growing its first teeth. You can actually introduce brushing to baby’s gums. The goal here is to protect your baby’s mouth from bacteria buildup and to introduce brushing early on so that it’s not an uncomfortable process later with an actual toothbrush. When cleaning your baby’s gums, use your fingers wrapped in a very soft piece of damp cloth or silicone brushes as baby’s gums are very sensitive. To clean, simply wipe the area gently.

You can continue to use the same steps when your baby’s first tooth is starting to grow and graduate to an actual toothbrush when there is more than one tooth. Remember to use very soft toothbrushes that have one to three rows of bristles and a very, very small amount of fluoride paste. At this stage, your baby is more likely to swallow the paste and saliva in the mouth instead of spitting and at such minuscule levels, it will do your baby no harm.

5. Other tips and tricks for cleaning your baby

  • Before giving your baby a bath, make sure you have absolutely everything you need at hand (soap, powder, diapers, washcloth, towel, etc.) as you can’t afford to leave the baby by itself or stop the bath halfway.
  • Do not try to clean your baby’s ear by inserting a cotton bud into the ear canal! Simply wipe around the area with a soft towel.
  • Trim your baby’s nails as regularly as possible. This might be something you have to do more than once a week as baby’s nails grow really quickly. If you’re worried about injuring your baby, try doing do it while the baby is sleeping. If you still nick your baby, which is very easy to do as a baby’s nails are so small, apply gentle pressure until the bleeding stops. Do not put a band-aid since babies often put their hands in their mouth and this can cause the spreading of germs or become a choking hazard.

There you have it! The basics to baby grooming. Things might feel too much and overwhelm you in the beginning, which is perfectly normal due to the novelty and lack of routine. Just take a deep breath to remind yourself that things will get better with practice. Hang in there and very soon, you will be a regular pro at this with a clean and beautiful baby!

Bestselling Baby Grooming Products

Baby Shampoos

Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo with Organic Calendula

This is currently the #1 selling baby shampoo on Amazon! Your baby’s skin won’t dry out and will smell good from this formula.

Honest Shampoo & Body Wash

An amazing multi-tasker that is gentle enough to be used by adults and babies, on hair and body! And it’s plant-based!

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

This product is so gentle that it has been accepted by the National Eczema Association. Your baby’s hair and skin will not be irritated when using this!

Bella B Bee Gone Cradle Cap Baby Shampoo

If your baby has cradle cap, this is the shampoo you want to use. When massaged into the baby hair, the product foams and aids in the remedy of cradle cap.

Baby Soaps and Cleansers

Honest Calming Lavender Hypoallergenic Bubble Bath

Another product by Honest Co that’s safe for adults and babies – perfect for times you want to take a bath with your kid!

Baby Dove Wash


Your baby’s skin will be replenished of moisture and nutrients from the pH formula in this product.

Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash

Your baby’s skin will be soft and comfortable from this non-irritant formula. It doesn’t strip essential moisture when bathing.

Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract, Tear-Free

While most baby products are advertised as tear-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free and hypoallergenic, this product is actually soap-free as well to clean your baby without drying its skin.