Easy Tips for Grooming Your Newborn

Grooming a newborn can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-time parents.  From caring for the umbilical cord to trimming tiny nails, parents have a lot to learn when it comes to keeping their little ones “baby fresh.”  Liz Drake, a clinical nurse specialist in the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital, offers these simple tips to help parents master the basics:

1. Bathe your baby no more than three times a week.  More than that can dry out your infant’s skin.

2. Give your baby sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump falls off, which can take up to three weeks. Gather all of your supplies—washcloths, basin of water, mild soap and towel—ahead of time, before placing your infant on a flat surface in a warm place.  Keep your hand on your baby at all times and keep your baby wrapped in a towel. Expose only the parts of the body you’re washing. Gently clean the eyes first. Using only a damp cloth, work from the inside to the outside corners.  Use separate ends of the wash cloth for each eye.  Next, wipe your baby’s face, followed by the head.  When it comes to cleaning the body, pay special attention to the skin behind the ears and around the neck, creases under the arms and legs, and, of course, the diaper area.  Don’t forget to wash between the toes and fingers.

3. After the umbilical area is healed, you can try bathing your infant in a newborn tub or plastic basin.  Lined with a towel or rubber mat, a kitchen or bathroom sink may also be an option.  Don’t fill the tub with more than two to three inches of warm water.  Always test the water before placing your baby in it.

4. To wash your newborn’s hair, cup your hand under warm water and gently pour it over your infant’s head.  Gently rub in a circular motion a small amount of mild soap or baby shampoo.  Use a small cup or your hand to rinse it off.

5. Don’t use clippers or scissors to trim your little one’s nails.  Use a buffer or nail file to gently file them down.

6. Baby acne can be normal.  Don’t pick or squeeze.  If the acne worsens on the face and turns into red pustules, call the pediatrician.

To learn more about caring for your infant, child or teen, visit choc.org/health.

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Finally, A Family


After years of trying to start a family, Breanne and Kristopher Kessler were ecstatic to learn they were expecting twins. But when Breanne was only 30 weeks pregnant, something went terribly wrong. She was in unbearable, excruciating pain.

Within days, she was unconscious on an operating room table at Mission Hospital as her tiny babies were delivered via emergency c-section. Immediately, the trauma surgeons began what would be several hours of surgery to stop internal bleeding. The clinical teams from Mission Hospital and CHOC Mission worked furiously to save three lives.

Ready For Every Conceivable Emergency

Micah was born first—without a heartbeat. CHOC Mission physicians and staff performed chest compressions to resuscitate him. Mason followed quickly, also requiring the full expertise of the CHOC Mission neonatology team.

“It is uncommon to perform CPR on a fresh newborn unless something ominous has occurred just prior to delivery, as happened in this case,” said CHOC neonatologist Anthony Liu, M.D. “Our Level 3 NICU staff has rehearsed this scenario many times. We are constantly re-educating ourselves to be on top of every conceivable neonatal emergency.”

Kristopher credits the CHOC Mission team with making a very difficult and stressful situation manageable.  “They were not just incredible nurses and medical professionals,” Kristopher said. “They were truly good people, they cared for our boys as if they were their own.”

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CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is Expanding to Better Serve the Families of OC

CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital (CCMH), located on the fifth floor of Mission Hospital’s patient care tower, serves as the only dedicated pediatric healthcare facility for families in south Orange County, the surrounding coastal areas and north San Diego County.

Currently, the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is undergoing an expansion, which will add six new dedicated NICU beds and accompanying amenities, needed to meet increasing regional demand for this highly specialized care. Plans also include modification of the existing isolation rooms, and formula and lactation rooms. Construction is scheduled for completion in June 2012.

The expansion of the NICU is another example of CCMH’s dedication to providing newborn babies with innovative and specialized care, giving them a strong chance of growing up to lead healthy, normal lives.

Learn more about CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital.

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