Choose Appropriate Clothes
The best fabric next to a baby’s skin is 100% cotton (wool and acrylic can irritate). As your new baby is delightfully ‘floppy’, the easiest outfit is a cotton all-in-one suit – try one with snap fasteners down the front and legs so you can change nappies easily. Clothing with a wide neck and some stretch makes it easier to get tops on and off.
Try to avoid synthetic fabrics (except fleece material) for newborns. They might be less expensive, but they don’t breathe well and can scratch your baby’s very sensitive skin.
A hat is a great way to protect your baby from the sun. Look for a soft hat so he can still lie down comfortably while he’s wearing it.
Babies can’t regulate their temperature as well as adults, so you might need to add or remove layers to his basic outfit throughout the day. As a general guide, dress him in one layer more than you’re wearing. At bedtime, choose pyjamas to suit the night room temperature. Try wrapping your baby to keep him safe and cosy in bed – it’s better than using loose blankets.
Diapers and Nappies
Using cloth or disposable nappies is a matter of personal choice and your budget. Cloth nappies are now user-friendly with easy plastic fasteners. Disposable nappies are convenient but are expensive and might be less environmentally friendly than cloth nappies. However, disposables might be more practical if you live in a drought-affected area under tight water restrictions.
Expect 9-10 nappy changes a day. Lots of wet nappies are a good sign that your baby is getting enough fluid. Understanding and examining your baby’s poo and wee isn’t disgusting – it’s actually one of the best ways you can regularly monitor her health.
To avoid nappy rash, change your newborn’s nappy as soon as possible after a poo (you may need to check with a sniff or quick peek). Poo is acidic and can actually ‘burn’ the skin – aside from other obvious reasons, this is why you want to change a ‘number two’ nappy straight away. If baby skin is raw with severe nappy rash, don’t wipe – instead, rinse with water and gently pat dry. Apply lots of nappy rash cream to create a barrier, and check the rash to make sure it’s healing. See your doctor if the rash seems to deteriorate and starts to weep.
It’s important to thoroughly clean poo from your newborn’s bottom. Always wipe girls from front to back to avoid urinary infections. You can use mild commercial baby wipes or cloth wipes with water and a drop of non-soap cleanser for messy bottoms.