safe motherhood


Bathing and daily routine

By now you may have a good bathtime routine with your baby. However, if you're still having problems, remember:

• Create a calm, warm environment;
• Make sure your baby isn't hungry or too tired;
• Have everything ready beforehand.

Topping and tailing

If your baby dislikes baths you can just top and tail each day for while:

1: Wrap him or her in a towel to restrain waving arms. There's no need to undress them, unless you want to.
2: Wipe one eye with a piece of cotton wool moistened with cooled boiled water. Wipe from the inside corner of the eye outwards. Then wipe the other eye using a fresh piece of cotton wool.
3: Wipe over their ears (including behind them), with damp cotton wool, using a fresh piece for each ear. Wipe over their face, neck and under their chin with another piece of damp cotton wool or a damp flannel.
4: Pat him or her dry with a small soft towel, making sure that there's no dampness in the creases.
5: Wipe their hands and dry them.
6: Change their nappy, cleaning the nappy area, and put on clean clothes.

It can help to keep special clothes for night-time wear, so that he or she gets in to a bedtime routine from the start.


There's no need to wash your baby's hair - if they have any - every day. Wiping over it with a damp flannel will remove any dribble or regurgitated milk or anything else that has got into it.


Some parents find that the easiest way to cut their baby's nails is simply to nibble them off themselves, or use round-ended scissors while they are asleep. If you try after a bath, they will be softer.

Ears and nose

Your baby's ears and nose are self-cleaning. Just wipe gently round the openings with damp cotton wool.



• No initial outlay.
• No washing involved.
• Quick and easy to use.


• Expensive.
• Environmentalists consider disposables as the worst nappy choice as they are produced from wood pulp and oil-based plastics, and don't biodegrade.

Terry nappies, home-laundered


•Cheapest option - and gets cheaper with more than one child. (You will need around 20 terries, but these are once-only purchases. You also need to add in the running costs of washing and drying, including depreciation of washing machine.)
• Environmentalists consider them to be more environmentally friendly than disposables


• May need to change them more often.
• Need access to washing machine and method of drying.
• High initial cost outlay requires commitment.

Shaped reusables, home-laundered


• Environmentalists consider them to be the most environmentally friendly choice.
• No pins needed.
• Less bulky than terries.


• High initial outlay and, unlike folded terries, shaped reusables will need to be replaced two or three times as your baby grows.
• Can be hard to dry, although have been improvements.

For suppliers of shaped nappies send a large SAE with two stamps to: The Real Nappy Association, PO Box 3704, London SE26 4RX

Shaped reusables, nappy laundering service


• Probably the most environmentally friendly option.
• No washing or drying of nappies (although may need to wash outer pant on occasion).
• No high initial outlay.


• Not as cheap as washing at home.
• May need to change more often than disposables.
• Will need to pay initial registration fee and buy outer pants.
• Service not available all over the UK.

The soiled nappies are washed in hospital laundries, so the service uses less energy than individuals washing nappies at home. To find your local service, contact National Association of Nappy Services, 0121 693 4949.

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