How to Put Together a Baby Grooming Kit
When you’re expecting a baby, you already know you’ll need a bunch of big-ticket items like a stroller, crib and car seat (to name a few). But another important item to add to your registry is a baby grooming kit. After all, just like adults, babies’ hair, teeth and nails need attention. But what items go into a grooming kit? Read on for expert tips on what to stock up on, plus our top picks for grooming essentials and the best grooming kits you can buy.
There are several items you’ll want to have on hand for baby’s first year and beyond. Here’s what to look for (and why):
Baby nail clippers. Many babies are born with long nails, so you’ll need nail clippers to prevent them from scratching you or themselves. Baby nail clippers are extra small and easy to grip, so you can safely cut those teeny tiny fingernails. Some even come with a built-in light, so you can quickly trim those nails while baby sleeps!
Baby nail files. Po Chang Hsu, MD, a Boston-based doctor, also recommends new parents buy an emery board for infants. “A file is a safe tool for shortening and smoothening the nails, to help prevent baby from scratching themselves early on.”
Nasal bulb. Surprise—babies don’t know how to blow their noses! In fact, it’s a skill they likely won’t develop until late toddlerhood. Instead, a good nasal aspirator can help remove mucus from baby’s nose and mouth, says Hsu, especially when they get a cold.
Toothbrush. An infant toothbrush is another baby grooming kit essential. “Once baby’s teeth start to emerge during the third to sixth month, it’s important to brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid tooth decay,” says Hsu.
Cradle cap brush. Cradle cap is a common skin condition in infancy. According to Hsu, a purpose-built comb will help parents gently remove dry, flakey skin from baby’s scalp.
Baby hair comb. Picture a baby and you’ll probably think of a little bald head, but the truth is that plenty of newborns arrive with a full head of hair that will need some brushing. A pint-sized baby comb will do the trick.
Buying these products individually can be a good idea if you already own some of the items listed above or want to be more selective about the items you get. “While purchasing the items separately can be more expensive, it gives you more flexibility in terms of what items you want to include in baby’s grooming kit,” Hsu says. Here, we’ve included a list of individual baby grooming essentials you can shop now.
If baby ends up with a case of cradle cap, you’ll notice a yellowish rash or dry flakey skin on their scalp. Fortunately, a cradle cap brush like this one can help loosen and lift flakes, while still being super gentle on baby’s sensitive scalp.
For most babies born with hair, a comb is all that’s needed for daily hair care—and a fine-toothed comb makes a great choice for baby’s fine hair and sensitive scalp. We love this three-pack from Amazon, which is similar to the type of comb given out by many hospitals at birth. The two-sided comb features one side with fine bristles and another with extra-fine bristles. Plus, a wide handle gives you better control as you brush.
It can be intimidating to handle those teeny tiny nails (seriously—you won’t believe how small they are!) once baby’s born. But believe it or not, a mani-pedi is one of the first things baby will need as they’ve spent nine months growing those nails in-utero. Thankfully, a nail file can make the process a little easier. We like these innovative S-curved files from Frida Baby, that contour to baby’s nails for a perfectly smooth finish.
Another way to handle baby’s fast-growing nails? These trimmers made by the American Red Cross. A helpful magnifying glass ensures you can see exactly what you’re doing in order to avoid clipping baby’s skin as you get comfortable with the process.
Even before baby starts eating “real” food, oral hygiene is an important part of their daily routine. A quick, gentle swipe with a soft infant toothbrush is the best way to keep baby’s mouth clean, even if no teeth have emerged yet. Our top pick? The iconic Baby Banana Toothbrush. Made from 100 percent food-grade silicone, it features a small tip that’s perfect for little mouths. Conversely, the oversized handles are just the right size for your little one to grasp as they eventually learn to brush their own teeth. Plus, a suction base makes for easy (and hygienic) storage when not in use.
While you can buy all of the above items separately, a baby grooming kit contains everything you need in one convenient place. It’s also handy to buy a travel grooming kit to keep in the car or in baby’s diaper bag, because you never know when a pesky hangnail will appear! Basic baby grooming kits should include a brush, comb, nail clippers and file. More robust grooming sets typically come with a few additional healthcare items like a nasal bulb, a medication dispenser or even a baby thermometer. Below, we’ve included some of our favorite baby grooming sets to buy right now.
When it comes to price and selection, we think this 16-piece baby grooming set by Fisher Price is one of the best options out there. Suitable to use from birth, it contains a brush, comb, scissors, nail file, clippers, a fingertip toothbrush and a few other essentials to boot. Plus, all of the items are contained in a zippable carry case, making this a convenient option for at home or on the go.
- The kit contains healthcare and grooming essentials
- Zip-up carry case
- Affordable price point
- Basic digital thermometer may not be the best option for newborns
Next up is this set from Safety First, which contains 25 essential items for baby’s care. Inside the stylish clutch case you’ll find a cradle cap comb, hairbrush, bottle medicine dispenser, bulb aspirator, nail clippers, emery boards and more. Ready for the standout feature? Unlike other options on the market, this set includes a three-in-one thermometer that can take oral, underarm and rectal temperature readings. (A rectal reading is the most accurate and is recommended until baby is 12-months-old.)
- Set comes with a three-in-one thermometer
- Laminated card for emergency contact numbers
- Kit doesn’t contain a toothbrush for infants
Looking for a simple baby grooming kit to toss in your diaper bag? This basic kit gets the job done for less than $10. With a comb, brush, nail clippers and a nasal bulb, it features all the necessary items for sprucing up baby.
- Affordable price point
- Gentle brush helps remove dry flaky skin associated with cradle cap
- No carry case
- Some parents report that the bulb aspirator has poor suction
Cutting baby’s nails can be stressful, but with the right gear it doesn’t have to be. This sweet set includes a clippers, baby safe scissors, tweezers and a nail file neatly tucked inside a reclosable pod. Everything you need for a mini mani-pedi.
- Durable plastic case is perfect for traveling or use in a diaper bag
- Scissors feature a rounded tip to help prevent cutting baby’s skin while trimming nails
- This kit doesn’t come with a magnifying glass
Perhaps you already own a bunch of baby grooming essentials, and simply need a baby hairbrush. Or maybe you’re looking for a practical baby shower gift that still feels luxurious. In either case, the KeaBabies brush and comb set will do the trick. This beautifully packaged wooden set includes a bamboo-bristle brush, wide-tooth comb and a goat-hair brush that’s perfect for gently brushing away cradle cap flakes.
- The brushes in this set can be used on a wet or dry hair
- Set doesn’t come with a travel bag or pouch
About the expert:
Po Chang Hsu, MD, is a doctor based in Boston, Massachusetts with a focus on pediatrics. He received his medical degree from Tufts University; prior to medical school, Hsu did a master thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Harvard Medical School. He is currently a full-time medical writer and consultant.