REQUISITES FOR BATHING A BABY once in 24 hours. Hot and cold water, bedroom basin, two soft towels, four small pieces of cotton-wool, a small piece of linen, little piece of tow, white vaseline, boric solution, sterilized scissors, mackintosh apron, and flannel apron. The clean clothes should be put in the required order, and aired on a chair in front of the fire.
During the washing the nurse should be in a warm place, protected from all draught, so that the infant may not take cold during the time its body is exposed, which time should always be as short as possible; 15 minutes only being necessary for the undressing, washing, and dressing when undertaken by an experienced nurse. The nurse's sleeves should be rolled up, as it is quite possible for them to have come into contact with something of a septic nature. The water should be about 950 Fahr.; if no thermometer is near, the heat should be tested by the elbow of the nurse, not the hand..
Put 1 tablespoonful of the boric solution into a cup, adding to it sufficient hot water to make it warm. Lay the baby (undressed, but covered with a warmed dry towel) on its back; dip one of the small pieces of cottonwool in the prepared boric solution, and allow a drop to fall gently in one of its eyes, wiping it carefully with another piece of wool : then use the two remaining pieces in the same way on the other eye; and so, by the use of separate pieces for each eye, guard against the danger of ophthalmia. Wipe out the mouth carefully (roof, gums, and tongue) with the small piece of linen to prevent "thrush," which is a fungus produced by milk being allowed to remain on the tongue, and to become sour. First wash and carefully dry the face, using no soap; then with a clean, soaped flannel wash the head and ears, rinsing and drying thoroughly. Next soap the whole of the body (with the flannel) and put the infant in a sitting position in the basin of water, supporting it with the left arm across its back and under its armpit, and rinse it all over with great care; then thoroughly dry the child, paying special attention to the neck and groins.
Commence dressing by putting on the flannel binder, which passes twice round the child-somewhat firmly round the abdomen, but looser round the chest, in order not to impede the breathing. Sew this down the back with a few stitches, the child meanwhile lying on the face. Rub the buttocks with vaseline or lanoline (no powder being used, as this in becoming wet, cakes, and then chafes the skin); put on the woollen vest, which should be open right down the front, or, if no vest is used, put on the tiny lawn shirt, pleating it to the size of the back. In cases where a baby can have every necessary attention powder is by many people still used. For this purpose boracic powder, Fuller's earth, Talc powder, or equal parts of starch and oxide of zinc are to be recommended, and may be applied with cotton wool, which is cheaper than a puff, and can, therefore, be changed more frequently. After this comes the back petticoat (made preferably of flannelette, as its use is merely to protect the flannel barracoat, which would deteriorate with too frequent washing); next arrange the back of the barracoat, or long flannel, tacking down, with a few stitches, on to it the flap of the white lawn shirt (if worn). Thus far the garments have all been put on with the baby lying on its stomach; but now turn it on to the back, and arrange the front of each garment, stitching a small binder well up to the neck to keep each garment in place. If the bodice part of the barracoat comes high up this is unnecessary. Turn up the barracoat to keep the feet warm, fastening it to the front if a boy, and to the back if a girl. Finally, draw the little day-gown on from the feet upwards (never over the head, as that is injurious to the eyes); and tie the sash in front, to prevent the baby from lying on the knot. A bib will probably be necessary.