Caring for your Newborn

Vitamin K

Vitamin K After your baby is born, the midwife will suggest giving your baby vitamin K. This helps stop a rare blood problem. You can choose to have it as a injection or mouth drops. If you pick the mouth drops, your baby will need more later. If you’re unsure, talk to your midwife.

Also, all babies who are breastfed should get vitamin D from birth. You can ask your midwife or health visitor where to get this vitamin and how much to give.

Skin and Body Care

Your baby might still have some white, sticky stuff on their skin from when they were inside your belly. This is called vernix. It’s good for their skin, so let it stay there. It helps keep the skin soft and safe from germs.

How to Care for Baby’s Skin:

  • For the first month, only use plain water to wash your baby
  • If you need soap, pick a gentle one without a smell
  • Don’t use lotions, special wipes, or put things in the bath water
  • When cleaning a baby’s bottom, use soft cotton and warm water
  • Sometimes a baby’s skin can be dry. If this happens, don’t use lotions. Let it get better on its own.

It’s normal for babies to have some spots and rashes after birth, these are some common baby skin spots:

  • Milk spots: Little white spots, mostly near the nose. They are safe and will go away naturally
  • Erythema toxicum neonatorum (ETN): A skin condition that looks similar to acne. This can show up on their face, tummy, arms, or legs. It should go away in a day or two
  • Heat rash: Red spots that go away when your baby is cooler
  • Stork Marks: Small red/pinkish spots usually on the baby’s forehead, eyelids, and back of the neck. They go away on their own and show more when the baby is warm or crying.

Nappy Rashes

Nappy rash is red patches on your baby’s bottom or private parts. It can happen when your baby is in a wet or poo nappy for a long time.

You should:

  • Change their nappies often
  • Clean the area well, wiping gently
  • Use water or gentle baby wipes without smell or alcohol
  • Let your baby’s skin breathe. Leave their nappy off sometimes
  • Don’t use soap, bubble bath, lotions, or powder.

If your baby’s rash hurts, ask your health visitor or a pharmacist special nappy cream to help.

Talk to your GP doctor or health visitor if you have any worries or:

  • if the rash is very bad
  • if the rash doesn’t go away after a few days
  • your baby develops a persistent bright red, moist rash with white or red pimples that spreads into the folds of their skin, which may be a sign of infection.

You should get help right away if:

  • Your baby has a fever
  • Your baby acts different, like not eating or is too sleepy or fussy.

Press a clear glass hard on the rash. If the rash doesn’t go away, it’s serious. It might be from a bad sickness called sepsis. If this happens, call for help (999) right away.

Go to the NHS website for more information Rashes in babies and children – NHS (

Your Baby’s Belly Button

After your baby is born, your midwife puts a plastic clip on your baby’s belly button and cuts the long cord. A small piece with the clip is left.

In about a week, the cord dries up and falls off. This doesn’t hurt your baby.

Here’s how you can help keep it clean and safe:

  • Wash your hands before touching your baby or changing their nappy
  • Keep their cord dry
  • Make sure their cord is outside their nappy
  • If their cord gets dirty from wee or poo, clean it with plain water
  • When you feed your baby, you can take off their clothes. This lets their cord get air and is a good time for you to have skin-to-skin and be close to your baby. If it’s cold, use a light blanket over your baby.

If you see these things, tell a doctor or health visitor:

  • bleeding
  • wetness
  • it looks red
  • it smells bad.

Sometimes, the belly button might have a small soft pink lump. It might be wet or leak a bit. This is called an umbilical granuloma. It happens in your baby’s first weeks. If you see this, your health visitor can tell you what to do.

Bathing and Cleaning your baby

You don’t need to give your baby a full bath every day. Instead, you can just clean their face, neck, hands, and bottom. This is called “topping and tailing”.

Do this when your baby is awake and happy. Make sure the room is warm. Get ready with a bowl of warm water, a towel, cotton balls, a new nappy, and clean clothes.

Steps to Clean Your Baby:

  • Put a changing mat on the floor for safety. This way, when your baby moves or rolls, they won’t fall
  • Take off baby’s clothes but leave their nappy and a small shirt on. Wrap them in a towel
  • Use cotton wool to clean your baby’s face. Dip the cotton in warm water and squeeze it. Talk to your baby to keep them calm
  • Dip cotton in the water, then clean baby’s eyes. Use one cotton ball for each eye. Wipe from the inside to the outside of the eye. Clean around their mouth and nose with new cotton
  • Use new cotton to clean their ears, face, neck, and hands. Be gentle and check the folds in their neck. Never use cotton buds to clean inside your baby’s ears or nose
  • Remove their nappy and clean the bottom area with fresh cotton wool and water
  • Look at the baby’s belly button area. Until it falls off in about a week, make sure it’s dry. If you see bleeding or other problems, talk to your GP doctor or health visitor
  • Talk to your baby while you clean them. This makes them feel good and helps them learn
  • Dry your baby with the towel, put on a new nappy and dress your baby in clean clothes. Give them a hug
  • At first, your baby might not like being cleaned. But with time, they might enjoy it.

Bathing Your Baby:

Always watch your baby when they’re in the bath. They should never be alone.

You don’t have to give them a bath every day, but if they like it, it’s okay. Just make sure they’re not hungry or tired and that the room is warm. Get everything ready beforehand like a baby tub or bowl, warm water, towels, a nappy, clothes, and cotton.

How to Bathe Your Baby:

  • Make the room warm. Babies can get cold easily.
  • Before the bath, get everything ready. You’ll need towels, cotton, warm water in a bowl, a new nappy, and clean clothes.
  • Put 8 cm to 10 cm of warm water in the bath. Start with cold water or use both cold and hot water at once. You can use a sink or a special baby bath.
  • The water should feel like your body. Not too hot, not too cold. Test it with your elbow.
  • Take off your baby’s clothes but leave their nappy on. If your baby feels scared, wrap them in a towel.
  • Slowly put your baby in the water. Hold them close.
  • Use one arm to support your baby’s head and neck. Your hand should hold one of their arms. Your other hand goes under their bottom. Then they can sit in the water.
  • Splash water gently on your baby. This cleans them. Don’t get water on their head. Use one hand to move the water over them.
  • When you’re done, be careful. Babies are slippery when wet. Put your arm under their bottom and hold their legs. Then lift them onto the towel.
  • Dry your baby well, especially in the skin folds.

Warning About Baby Bath Seats

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says you should not use bath seats. Babies can drown in a little water very fast and quietly. Don’t leave your baby alone in a seat. It’s not safe. If you use a seat, always be close to your baby and make sure the seat sticks to the bath. Remember, it’s not a safety tool.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) has more information and advice about baby bath seats

NHS Video - How to bath my baby