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Outline For Bathing And Dressing A Baby

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Clothes. Before the bath the clothes are put in a warm place. The band comes first for the young baby.

The diaper must be folded smoothly to fit. A small inside diaper of soft cheesecloth may be used and burned when soiled. When putting on the diaper see that it is loose about the body, and that it is not too thick. A tight thick one draws the hips together, presses the legs out of place, and by its heat irritates the skin. Change it as soon as it is damp or soiled, sponging the skin with a soft cloth wrung out of cool boracic acid solution, and drying well before putting on another. Diapers should be washed before being used a second time. In washing the baby's clothes rinse well to remove soap. Have the shirt of silk and wool. To put on sleeves roll in a ring and slip over wrists.

Put on flannel skirt, then dress and coat.

Bath. The nurse should put on a rubber apron, over which is pinned a large, soft bath towel. Use olive oil only until navel is healed—from 7 to 10 or 14 days.

Warm olive oil by placing glass in pan of warm water. The child is carefully oiled with the finger, care being taken to get into all skin creases and folds. The body is wiped with an old soft bath towel.

Eyes. Wash with antiseptic absorbent cotton, or a twist of soft muslin, dipped in boracic acid solution, and wipe with dry cotton.

Nostrils. Cleanse with cotton wrapped smoothly on a blunt toothpick (applicator) dipped in boracic acid solution, and dry with dry applicator.

Mouth. Clean thoroughly, not omitting the tongue. Use cotton wrapped around little finger and dipped in boracic acid solution.

Head. Wash with large cotton wad dipped in boracic acid solution, and dry with dry cotton. If a tiny yellowish crust appears, rub with vaseline, then the following morning wash with warm water and pure castile soap; continue this until the head is perfectly clean. Brush the hair with a soft baby brush, never using a comb.

Body. No dusting powder need be used unless chafing or a summer rash is apparent; then the formula given below will be useful.

Baby is then dressed and carefully and loosely wrapped in warm woolen blanket (in winter) and kept quiet.

To Bathe in a Tub. Have water a little above lukewarm and use a good castile soap. With fingers about the back of the neck and head, and right hand clasping the ankles, lower the child slowly and gently into the water, buttocks first, and let rest on the bottom of the tub, thus freeing the right hand to wash the body. The left should hold his head' 'above the water. The baby is quickly washed, care being exercised in getting into the folds. Dry by patting gently with an old soft towel.

The head, ears, and neck are washed with a soft cloth squeezed dry of water. Powder if necessary, and put on clothes. Then cleanse eyes, nostrils, and mouth as directed.


Dusting Powder. 3 cornstarch, 1/3 talcum powder or boracic acid powder,1/3 stearate of zinc powder.

Boric or Boracic Acid Solution. Boric acid dissolves in water only to four per cent, and this is the strength usually employed. Use 1 tsp. boric acid powder to 1 c. boiling water or % cup to 1 gal. of water.

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