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Top & Tailing

Top & tailing is the common alternative to giving your baby a full bath. For times when a bath is not available, try using our JOHNSON’S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Washcloths to give your baby a gentle yet thorough all over clean, without the need for water or drying.

Here is a step-by-step guide to top & tailing to give you a helping hand.

Why Top & Tail?

Keeping your baby's skin clean is essential to good health, and cleansing your baby is also a wonderful bonding experience.

Most midwives and health visitors recommend bathing newborns two or three times per week, increasing the frequency as your baby gets older. Even though you may not give your baby a bath every day, top & tailing is an alternative many mums choose for very young babies, especially in the mornings.

During the day you need to make sure that the nappy area is kept clean at every nappy change, and that their face, skin folds under the chin, and hands are cleaned after every feeding.

Getting Ready

Make sure the room is warm (24 degrees C, 75 degrees F), because babies lose heat from their bodies quickly. You will need the following items:

  • Basin/ baby bath filled with water that is at a comfortable temperature (37 degrees C). Test it with your wrist — it should feel warm but not hot.
  • A large, soft, hooded towel
  • A soft wash cloth or cotton pads
  • A mild cleanser specially formulated for babies, such as JOHNSON'S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Bath

After Top & Tailing:

  • Baby oil or moisturising lotion, such as JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion
  • Clean clothing and nappy
  • Receiving blanket
  • Soft brush or comb
  • Nappy cream

How To Top & Tail

  1. Provide Reassurance. First put warm water into a basin, adding warmer water as needed. Take a few minutes to talk to your baby and provide reassurance. Now undress them, except for their nappy, and wrap them in a towel.
  2. Eyes. Holding your baby's head, gently wash around each eye with a cotton pad dampened with warm water. The advantage of using cotton pads is that they don't shed pieces of lint. Use a new cotton pad for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye, outward. If there is no crust (dried mucus), the eye area does not need to be washed. Do not wash the eye itself.
  3. Face. Using a wet cotton pad or soft washcloth wipe around your baby's mouth, nose and whole face, working outward from the middle. Focus on areas behind the ears, under the chin and creases in the neck. Remember; never put anything into the ear canal or nose. Gently pat dry.
  4. Hair. Keeping your baby wrapped in a towel, put your arm under their back and your hand behind their head. With your free hand wet your baby's hair with the washcloth. Apply a small amount of gentle baby wash, such as JOHNSON'S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Bath which is specially formulated to be mild to their eyes, and gently massage over their whole head. Your baby's head has a soft spot (called fontanels) where the skull has not yet fully closed. It is safe to gently touch and wash this area. Rinse your baby's hair with water until all the cleanser is removed. Lay baby down and dry their head gently and lift the hood of the towel over their head to keep them warm.
  5. Nappy Area. Keeping their head and upper body covered with the corner of the towel, remove their nappy. Wash the nappy areas using clean warm water and gentle cleanser, or specially formulated baby wipe: for a baby girl, just wipe the area gently from front to back. For an uncircumcised boy, wash the penis and genital area, avoiding pulling back the foreskin, and also wipe front to back.
  6. Protection. Before dressing your baby, you can apply mild baby skin care products to moisturise their skin and keep them comfortable. JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion is hypoallergenic and proven mild and effective for delicate baby skin. It's also a good idea to use a barrier cream on the nappy area to protect against the causes of nappy rash. JOHNSON'S® Baby 3-in-1 Nappy Care Cream provides mild and gentle protection.
  7. Dressing. Now dress your baby and wrap them in a receiving blanket to keep them warm. Hold your baby close and enjoy your time together.
JOHNSON’S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Washcloths

Gently clean without needing to rinse with water. They are larger than a traditional baby wipe, and are made from a soft thick cloth. The NO MORE TEARS® formula is as mild to the eyes as pure water, which means the wipes are suitable to use even on  baby's face.They provide a quick and easy bath anytime, anywhere.

JOHNSON'S® Pioneering Safety and Science in Baby Care

We are committed to working with Parents, Healthcare Professionals and Scientists to ensure our baby products continue to deliver high standards of safety and care.

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