Ask Design Mom: Preparing for Baby – Bathing/Diapering

This is part 3 of a 5 part answer. You can find links to the other parts here.

In the Bathing/Diapering category, this is what I like to have for a new baby:

Umbilicus Care.
For the first week or so, I just sponge bathe the baby till the umbilical cord stump dries out and falls off. To care for the stump, I like to have rubbing alcohol and cotton balls and q-tips on hand. Although, I hear that rubbing alcohol isn’t even necessary. Apparently water works just fine.

I’ve typically used a baby bath on the bathroom counter or kitchen table until the baby can properly sit up. But have you seen this new collapsible one by Puj? I really want to try it. It seems like such a space saver and I could fill it directly in the sink.

It’s nice to have a fresh set of washcloths available for baby baths. A set that hasn’t already been used by all the other siblings. : )

My friend Tania gives out the cutest hooded towels as baby gifts. I have two (one was given to Oscar and one to Betty). If you don’t have a friend like Tania, you can find hooded towels on etsy or pretty much any store with baby supplies.

Baby wash and baby lotion.
I like to have a bottle of each on hand. Remember the pretty basket of Erbaviva products? I’m looking forward to trying them out. My favorite drug-store brand for baby is Aveeno. Oh. And I’ve only tried their lip balm, but I’m guessing the rest of Baby Bear Shop’s products are just as terrific.

Baby Scrub Brush.
I don’t know if these have an official name. I don’t think I’ve ever even purchased one, because the hospital has always sent one home with me. Anyway. My babies are prone to cradle cap, and the soft little scrub brush takes care of it easily.

Want to try cloth diapers? Here’s a really helpful post Guest Mom Amy wrote. I still haven’t converted (should I even admit that the day before Earth Day? Yikes.) For my newborns, I like the tiny Huggies diapers with the cut-out piece for the umbilical cord.

Until the baby is ready for solid foods, I fill my wipes container with plain old damp paper towels. But I still keep regular baby wipes around for all sorts of things. Even when my babies are out of diapers, I keep a travel-size container of wipes in my purse — it’s like having a sink with you.

Diaper Ointment.
Every single one of my babies has had a diaper rash at least once. So I like to have a tube of diaper ointment on hand. There are natural versions, and old school stuff like Desitin. Whatever type you prefer, definitely buy the big tube/tub/bottle, because diaper ointment works best if you use a thick, thick coat.

Your turn, Dear Readers. What’s on your bathing/diapering list? Do you use cloth diapers? Have a favorite brand of disposable? Any tips for diaper rash? Do you use a baby bath?

52 thoughts on “Ask Design Mom: Preparing for Baby – Bathing/Diapering”

  1. What great answers! For diaper rash I swear by Triple Paste, you can buy it at Walgreens of Target and they do sell it in a big tub. It is the only thing that worked for my boys.

    For baby products I love the California Baby line (also now carried at Target) if you have cradle cap issue the shampoo with tea tree oil is excellent for that! Their sunscreen (for when baby is over 6 months) is also awesome.


  2. They actually tell you not to use rubbing alcohol anymore…

    I love the Burt’s Bees and California Baby products. Pricey, but soooo worth it. I’d add their tea tree shampoo also takes care of eczema issues as well!

    And don’t forget…camera! Babies are so fun and funny in the bath.

  3. I’m going to be purchasing the Puj as well (providing someone else doesn’t). I mean not only is it a space saver, it’s not costly! I have back issues, so I used to put the baby tub on the sink and wash my daughter there, but as she got larger that got to be an issue. I like the Puj as an option because you don’t have to fill the tub up with water and it’s all confined to the sink.

  4. We have used cloth diapers for our second and third children and I LOVE them. So simple, not gross at all (really!), and I never have to make an emergency diaper run! Our favorite brand is bumGenius.

  5. My pediatricians have said to NOT use rubbing alcohol and that it can actually slow the healing.

    I love Bordeaux’s Butt Paste. It has taken care of my kids’ rashes very quickly.

    For bathing I like to use the yellow bathing sponge that you lay baby on in the tub (sorry, I don’t know the name). You can get it at Target for $5-$6.

    If your baby has dry skin or light eczema, I’ve found that Aquiphor works the best for my kids. I just slather it on after bath time and before bed every night.

  6. I totally understand that cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, so this comment isn’t meant to persuade anyone one way or the other. I just thought I’d mention my favorite diaper creams and such for people who are going to use cloth diapers and need products that won’t ruin their diapers. (Of course these would all work for disposable users, too.)

    My all time favorite product is Better Butt(er) Cream made by a company called Northern Essence. (You can order it online.) Their All Natural Diaper Rash Salve is also great for less severe rashes or as a preventitive measure, and it smells great. Northern Essence also makes a non-talc powder called Diaper Dust that I like.

    Outside of that, I like the California Babies diaper rash cream (which is safe for cloth diapers if you don’t overdo it), and the California Babies non-talc powder.

    We use plain cloth wipes with a squirt of water on them. I keep some Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion or Northern Essence’s Foaming Wipes Solution on hand for when baby is older and needs a bit more oomph behind the tush cleaning (or when I am in the mood for a tiny hint of a good scent), but really water will always do just fine.

    Our oldest daughter has eczema and extremely sensitive skin, so we’ve tried MANY different products for bathing. All eczema prone people have their personal favorites that work best with their particular skin, but mine are:
    –California Babies Super Sensitive Shampoo and Body Wash; and
    –Vanicream brand lotion.

  7. About a month before my youngest stopped using diapers, I found gDiapers. And they totally changed my life. They’re cloth diapers that aren’t cloth diapers. They’re no more expensive than Huggies, and they’re adorable, and they are FLUSHABLE. They totally break down.

    I can’t believe I’m talking about diapers. I am ashamed. :)

  8. I loved my european spa baby bathtub. My kiddo loved every bath and we never had any tears.
    I have now passed it along to a friend whose newborn was an angry bather and he loves it too. Happy bath time = a good way to pass the time before bedtime = happy mother.

    I used Lansinoh wipes from day one and my kiddo never had diaper rash. And I am sure Gabrielle is well aware of this but you go through about 23,294,723,895 more wipes than you ever thought you would. I honestly thought my one package of wipes would last a few weeks. With a newborn. I can hear you all hooting and hollering from here.

  9. I have a Puj Tub and I really liked it. I didn’t have it when my baby was first born, but I wish I did. Here’s a link to my review:
    I bet they’d send you one.

    I like baby magic wash and lotion ( My husband’s Mom used it on all her babies and now we all use it on our babies. I love how it smells! And it works.

    I’d definitely like to try cloth diapers. I think I may make the switch in the coming months (my baby’s 9months).

  10. Re: cradle cap. Both of my girls had it and I found the best solution for it (via google). Rub some olive oil in between your hands and then rub it on their head. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then shampoo their hair. Use a fine tooth comb to lift the cradle crap out of their hair. And rinse it all away. It works phenomenally! It uses the principle– like attracts like, to work. Cradle cap is just overactive oil glands and so olive oil adheres to it and softens it so that you can easily shampoo and brush it away.

  11. I have to put in a plug for Tania’s hooded bath towels. I’ve seen them while visiting my NY gkiddies. They really are wonderful. She should do a tutorial on her blog!

  12. I was given alcohol wipes at the hospital when my son was born in November.

    If you have a boy and circumsise….Vaseline.

    I am also a big fan of Emu Oil instead of diaper ointments

    Aveeno makes a great body and hair wash.

  13. I am using cloth diapers for my second daughter and I have loved them so far. I use GroBabies, and haven’t had any problems. I have 12 diapers and an additional 16 inserts. I also have the biodegradable inserts, which really help when I am out and about. I do laundry about every 3rd day, and haven’t run out of diapers yet.

  14. Petroleum jelly — a good thick coat — works better than any diaper rash ointment I’ve ever tried. Also, maybe someone already mentioned this, but using alcohol on the umblilicus will make it take longer to heal. I definitely noticed a difference with the babies I had _after_ my pediatrician told me this.

  15. I love these posts! Thanks for running the series.

    We use gdiapers once she was about a month, and her belly button healed. They now make them for newborns, so it’s not an issues.

    I’ve heard of quite a few diaper creams, but we use A&D. She’s only ever had one diaper rash, and two small irritations (due to some poor diaper decisions on her daycare’s part), so it wasn’t high up on our list. We always keep one handy. Lansinoh is great though too, and if you already have some on hand for yourself, then it’s a win!

    I was an absolute bath snob though. I used the Top n Tail method for the longest time (how dirty do newborns really get anyway?) and then when she was a bit older, we would take baths together. Their bodies are so small, and I hated how quickly she would get cold and start to shiver when it came to the baby tubs.

    I was also pretty dissapointed in the quality of the hooded towels…the ones in stores had cheap embroidery on them, and the rough backing would be on they baby’s head – didn’t make any sense. So we got ours from Etsy, and we love it. She can grow into it and eventually it can become a play cape or a part of dress up.

    Baby washcloths – I laughed at these when I saw them, but after I had Emmeline, I totally got it. Small, finer wash cloths like that are perfect for getting into folds and creases.

    I still did alcohol on the cord, but I followed it up with an ointment (non zinc A&D or lansinoh), so it wouldn’t get dried out an irritated.

    My biggest pet peeve (besides the baths) is lotions. Your baby isn’t supposed to smell like a perfume factory. okay /rant

  16. I love thePrince Lionheart WashPod bathtub, and I love cloth diapering and cloth wipes. My favorites wipes are from Swaddlebees. Sooooooooo soft. And I love how I always have them around and never have to shop for more.

  17. Great post-I love the hooded towels. So comfy and cute! And the Puj tub is really great, I have seen it in action (and counting down the days to use it for my little one!) and it is really nifty! So quick to put together, and then you just hang it on your door to dry and there’s no clean up! I love it. Totally wonderful for first time mommies who will never have to experience the pain of kneeling on the bathroom floor over the side of the tub hanging onto a slippery baby!

  18. You mentioned the “baby brush” and my mother in law swears by brushing the hair with a soft toothbrush while the hair is wet with shampoo. None of her grandkids have ever had cradle cap and it worked for us too!

  19. hi!
    just wanted to make a quick comment about baby baths… we got one but i always felt like my daughter got cold really quick and didn’t love the bath, so my midwife suggested that we take baths together in the big bath (the water doesn’t have to be too cold!)

    this was the best suggestion/advice we got! sylvie loved to snuggle and breastfeed while i washed her in the bath, and newborns also get more immune defense from the skin-on-skin with their parents. it was also a great time for me – a quiet moment together (and after the bath daddy would take her to dry & clothe and i would run a bit more hot water and have some much-needed mummy time).

    so i suppose instead of a bathtub, i think our most-loved bathtime accessory was the temperature-reading ducky!

  20. louise – that’s exactly what we do – and no extra gear required, right? Love it! I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who does this.

  21. Ughh!! This is where all of those sensitive skin issues come into play!!! My daughter has had some trouble with eczema, but for the most part she is just sensitive to most products and develops heat rashes most of the year! We went to cloth diapering because it was the only thing that came close to controlling her rashes. We tried every brand of diaper, cream, and powder….and it is still a fight (even when she was solely breastfed). It took less than two weeks for the sensitive skin wipes to start breaking her out so we switched to homemade wipes and eventually to old baby washcloths. At two she is pretty much potty trained, but I still have to be extremely careful about what we put on her skin. I recently tried some rash cream, liquid powder, and sunblock wipes from MDMoms, and so far I am pretty impressed with their products: gentle, safe for cloth diapers, natural products, etc.

  22. Hi Gabrielle, I’m due next week with baby #6 and this is what I plan to use:
    Soaps – Moondance Soaps unscented baby bar (
    Diaper cream – Baby’s bottom butter – don’t you love the name? From the same place, Moondance Soaps.
    Diapers – I love the little Kissaluvs cloth diapers – check them out here – You’ll need about 24 diapers to be able to wash every other day. It’s really easy – take the plunge! :)
    Cord care – Since my last two babies this has been my standard care – a product called “cord care powder” which has goldenseal in it. I get it from my midwife, but I’m sure its available online somewhere. This truly heals the cord better and faster than alcohol which really does nothing. And this was new to me a few babies ago- but it’s really not necessary to avoid the full baths. So I forgo the sponge bath and do the full bath (in the sink) now from the get go.
    Have fun gathering your supplies!

  23. I have found that the BEST thing for diaper rash is bag balm. You might have to ask for it at the pharmacy, but it is over the counter and so wonderful. A little smelly, but by far the most effective thing I’ve ever used on a diaper rash. And I still buy the Kirkland Baby wipes from Costco, even though my kids are no longer in diapers. They are wonderful for lots of things. I love having a package on hand!

  24. We used gDiapers and Seventh Generation Diapers on our daughter. I signed up for automatic shipments for both through Amazon. Free shipping and major convenience. We used the Seventh Generations only at night due tome limitations with gDiapers at the time; but now that they offer washable inserts, it may be unnecessary.

    For bathing, I love Weleda and California Baby (Overtired and Cranky being my favorite).

    My daughter has never had a diaper rash, just occasional redness, so I don’t have a great recommendation. We still have a nearly-unused tube of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. (Perhaps I’ll finally toss it on her third birthday.)

  25. In case you or some readers hadn’t discovered Lansinoh as a diaper-rash remedy, I simply cannot recommend it enough! Why buy two different products when it’s already on hand for nursing? It also clears up diaper rash within a matter of hours! Simply amazing stuff, if you ask me. I don;t like for my babies to be uncomfortable and if the rash can be gone quicker, then I’m all for it. My babies didn’t get diaper rash until they started solids (we went straight to table food and skipped the jars) and then they knew what it was like to be comfortable all the time. To all of a sudden have a rash on the hiney is pretty distressing! Seriously, apply the Lansinoh and within about 2 hours the rash was GONE! Not just theone time but every time! I think there is a separate product made for bottoms, but I just used the same one I had on hand for nursing. And I don’t work for Lansinoh and have not been compensated in any way to share this opinion.

  26. Well, if we are going to talk hooded towels, then I will plug my friend Wendy’s. Cutest towels you ever did see.

    Baby and kid. And my husband fights the kids for the Spiderman one. It’s embarrassing putting that story on the Internet. Commercial over. Oh, and I used Happy Heinys this time around for cloth diapering Mason. Sure you touch poop every time you dump them out but at least they won’t be renaming the landfill in my neighborhood after me. OK, they already should for the first two. Whatever. I came late to the green game. :-)

  27. I love having new washclothes too for little new ones! We used both a baby bath and the kitchen sink :) for a bath tub until both were outgrown. I love Burt’s Bees products for baths and lotions. We did use cloth diapers and cloth wipes with just some water and a tiny bit of tea tree oil (natural antibacterial spray) in a bottle to spray on the wipes. When we did have severe baby rash–the kind you can’t touch– we poured milk of magnesia over her bottom and it calmed and eventually helped heal the rash a lot quicker than creams! I agree that hooded towels are the best too!!!

  28. My babies have had cradle cap problems too, and I would love to find a super soft brush like the ones I got in the hospital with my first. Then in the comments soft toothbrushes were mentioned. I may have to try that, but if anyone knows a soft bristled brush like those from the hospital, please let me know!

  29. My favorite for diaper rash is Bag Balm. Walgreens carries it in the green tins – my pediatrician recommended just keeping at least a thin layer on for the first several months when they’re pooping all the time. My girl’s 2 and we still use it from time to time.

  30. I agree that keeping the baby warm is the main problem with bath time. I recommend the Tummy Tub. It’s the only bath we have found that actually keeps the baby covered in warm water up to the shoulders. It’s been a lifesaver for us! Of course, I love taking a bath with my baby, too…but it’s not practical all the time.

    Tummy Tub fits in the kitchen sink which is awesome and takes up very little space as well. So the back bending, stooping, cleaning, storage issues are also eliminated. It can also be used up to 2 years of age, so it’s worth every penny!

  31. Someone gave me the baby products from Arbonne when I had Baby #2 and they were so amazing I’d wished I’d had them for Baby #1. The diaper rash creme and baby oil are still staples in my house, even though my kids are now 6 and 4. No parabens, no mineral oils, and they smell amazing.

  32. I had never heard of the Puj tub. And now, I MUST HAVE ONE before my bebe is born.

    We started using gdiapers with our first at about 12 months. We’re going to use them right from birth this time around. We’ve been stocking up on all sizes and colors, thanks to the great coupons they always send us.

    We also swear by penaten cream for diaper rash. We bought it first in Germany (pre kids, in anticipation) and have since been able to find it in Canada also. You can buy it online, but we prefer to travel abroad and stock up.

    Thanks for all the tips ladies. I’m taking notes!

  33. Even though I’m done having babies, I am loving this series. This one has great tips.

    Although it’s not a necessity, I loved having a boppy pillow for nursing. I kept one in the nursery and one downstairs. The boppy is also great for tummy-time and for supporting them when they’re sitting up but still a little wobbly.

  34. My favorite baby bath is this one. It fits in the sink super easily and folds up small enough to put in a cupboard or closet when you’re done. Oh, and it’s only $10 on Amazon (or you can find it at Babies-R-Us). I like Aveeno baby soap and Balmex for diaper rash. Desitin did NOT work for my kids, but Balmex works after one diaper change. I also love the tiny Huggies supreme. Best diapers ever.

  35. For all of the green Moms out there who don’t want to go with cloth diapers…try Nature Babycare diapers and wipes. I LOVE these products…they work as well as conventional diapers/wipes + they’re biodegradable! You can get them on, amazon or

    You will be surprised how great these are! You have to try them!

  36. Thank you for your nod to cloth diapering.
    We have a cloth diaper service and I LOVE it. Fresh diapers are delivered to my door each week and dirty ones taken away. I don’t have to wash a thing, save for rinsing out my pail now and then.
    Services are great for those who really want to minimize their environmental impacts, especially if you find a service like mine that seeks the most efficient means to wash and uses plant based solutions. Though a service costs a bit more than washing by hand, it’s about the same as buying disposables (and way less than gDiapers) and their services are usually more energy efficient than washing at home.
    I’ve found bamboo diapers to be the best, it’s a more sustainable material than cotton and it absorbs well against my baby’s skin. If you do go cotton, best to choose organic so you know it’s pesticide free and ethically grown.

  37. My favorite is WELEDA. Lately I have been seeing Weleda at Target. I have been using over 4 years and love it. It’s great for an entire family, as a first aid.

  38. I love Seventh Generations diapers. The color is neutral and they are chlorine free. Best of all you can find them at a lower price than Hughie’s at some unique stores, like Heine’s, in Cleveland, Ohio. I have been using them with both of my sons,and love the look, and they work great.

  39. Bum Genius diapers are my best friend! We love them, and after 8 weeks already, my little boy has not had a single diaper rash! You’ll be doing a load of baby clothes ever day in the laundry anyway, so throwing a few diapers in with them is no big deal. Cloth diapers have come such a long way, and besides being Earth friendly, they are pocket book friendly, because they’ll grow with him and we’ll never have to buy diapers again! We do always keep some disposable ones on hand though, because there will be those days that you won’t get to the laundry, and they fit better in the diaper bag. Try some Bum Genius though; you’ll love them! :o)

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