Why Do Babies Hate Their Nose And Face Wiped?

baby upset at getting their nose wiped

As parents, we do our best to keep our children as clean as possible and it’s no easy task! Between the mess babies get into when they eat, play and go about their daily routines, you are likely to find yourself wiping, washing and bathing your children countless times. 

This article discusses when and how to wash and wipe your baby’s face, as well as why they tend not to like it.

Should I wash my baby’s face every day?

Babies often spit up and dribble so they will need their face cleaned regularly. While you do not need to bathe your baby daily, it is a good idea to wash their face, neck and bottom each day. You might have already heard this referred to as topping and tailing

How do you wash a baby’s face?

Try to find a moment when your baby is awake and calm to wash their face.

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and grab a couple of soft flannels or cotton wool.
  2. Lie your baby down, you could use your changing mat for this or even lie them on your lap.
  3. Gently dab the flannel or cotton wool in the warm water and wipe your baby’s face and neck.
  4. Start at the top with the forehead and work your way down taking extra care around the eyes to wipe from the nose outwards. This ensures that any potential infection doesn’t pass from one eye to the other. 
  5. Use a new, clean flannel or piece of cotton wool to clean around your baby’s ears and never clean inside them.
  6. Once you are done, gently dab your baby’s face dry with a clean towel. 

Read more advice from the NHS here about washing and bathing your baby. This video below also has some good tips.

Why do babies hate having their face wiped?

This is where you have to ask yourself how much you would like to have your own face wiped? Not much, right? Unsurprisingly, babies don’t like it much either. It can feel uncomfortable for them. It also goes against their natural, survival instincts to have their airways covered, even if it is just for a very short time. 

Babies are constantly being messed with – whether it is being changed, dressed, put into car seats and pushchairs or being wiped clean. They get fed up just like we would as adults. It’s important to note that babies have extra sensitive skin and may feel sore as they get wiped too. 

As unloved as the process might be, babies do need to have their face wiped or washed often to stay clean and healthy. Let’s have a look at the best ways to do it.

What do you wipe a baby’s face with?

You have a few options to choose from to wipe your baby’s face:

Cotton wool and warm water

Fill a bowl with warm water and gently wipe your baby’s face with cotton wool. Freshen up the water as needed and be sure to wipe outward from the nose around your baby’s eyes. There is no need to use soap or any other cleaning solution. Water will do the job and it’s kind to sensitive skin.

A disposable wet wipe

Most hypoallergenic wipes are safe to use on your baby’s face and can be especially handy for a quick clean up on the go. Check with the manufacturer of your wipes and monitor your baby’s skin carefully during the first use of any new product. There is some dispute about how hygienic using wet wipes are versus using good old-fashioned water, but there is no denying how convenient they are to carry and use. 

A reusable wipe

These wipes can be washed and reused as often as you like. Usually, these wipes are stored dry and dampened with a gentle, cleaning solution or warm water right before you clean your baby’s face. Reusable wipes come in a variety of styles and designs so it’s worth looking around for the right kind for your family. 

When can you use soap on a baby’s face?

It is generally advised not to use soap on a baby’s face for the first 12 months. Most baby soap products are designed for use on sensitive skin, but are still best used sparingly and from the neck down. Warm water will keep your baby clean and healthy on its own. 

Can you use baby wipes on a newborn’s face?

Most wipe manufacturers tout that their products are safe for use with a newborn baby from head to toe. That being said, it is wise to be cautious initially and use cotton wool and warm water where you can. If you use a baby wipe on your newborn’s face, use care and monitor their skin during and after use. 

How do you wash a toddler’s face?

Washing a toddler’s face is fairly similar to washing a baby’s face. A toddler can stand or sit while you wash them and might even like to help themselves. There are some soaps that are safe to use on a toddler’s face, but it is more commonly recommended to continue using a flannel and warm water. This especially true if your child has eczema or particularly sensitive skin. Start at the top of the face and work your way down. 

Why do babies hate having their nose wiped?

In addition to not wanting to be messed with and feelings of general discomfort, babies do not like to have their airways covered because it goes against their instincts to fight to breathe. It just does not feel good and safe for them. As we all know already, no matter how much babies dislike having their noses wiped it does have to be done to keep them clean and healthy.

How do you blow a baby’s nose?

Young babies cannot blow their own nose yet and will need some help. A nasal aspirator can be used to blow your baby’s nose. There are two main types:

Bulb Nasal Aspirator 

This is the traditional bulb-shaped tool used to blow your baby’s nose. Deflate the bulb by squeezing it, gently place the end of the syringe over your baby’s nostril and then wait till the bulb fills with air again. This motion sucks any mucus from your baby’s nose into the bulb. You might have to repeat the process a few times. 

Suction Nasal Aspirator 

You will still place the syringe end of this tool over your baby’s nostril, however this time you will use the mouthpiece to suck the mucus out. It collects in the syringe and can be easily taken apart to be washed, so no need to worry about getting a taste yourself! 

As your baby gets older and becomes a toddler you can hold a tissue under their nose and ask them to blow bubbles with their nose. This helps them practice blowing their nose by themselves. 

What do you wipe a baby’s nose with?

A plain, simple tissue works well for a runny nose. A wet wipe, reusable wipe or cotton wool and water are good options to use to wipe your baby’s nose. You will definitely want to use something damp if your baby’s nose is dry and dirty. 

why do babies hate having their face and nose wiped
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