Bathing a baby for the first time can be a little bit challenging since babies are too small and the water makes them slippery. Maybe you’d need some help for the first few times. But once you overcome your fear and get some practice, it’ll become one of the funniest parts of the day. Most of the babies like water and enjoy taking a bath. Bathing is a perfect opportunity to make a connection with your baby, especially for fathers. Or your older children who can help with adding you the things you need.
For the first week, or until the umbilical cord stump falls off and the area heals, it's best to give your newborn sponge baths.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby?
Usually, there's no need to bathe your newborn baby every day (two or three times a week would be just fine), but you still need to maintain her hygiene. Of course, you can bathe her every night, if you wish to add bathing to her bedtime routine. Some parents choose to bathe their babies during the day.
Maintaining Your Baby's Hygiene Between Two Baths
Use some wet cotton balls for wiping your baby - take a new ball for each body part. You should wipe her eyes (from the nose outward), her neck and her face, behind her ears, below her armpits, between her fingers... take off her diaper and wipe the whole diaper area. If it's a girl wipe her from front to back. Pay attention to the skin folds. Dry her skin by gently pressing the towel and put some cream on her diaper area when you’re done.
Before You Start
Check-up this list to make sure you’ve prepared everything:
- a bathtub
- a washcloth or a sponge
- a plastic basin filled with warm water
- a soap
- a towel (if possible with a built-in hood)
After you bath her you'll be going to put her to bed, so you'll need these things too:
- a diaper and some cream
- clean clothes
You might also prepare a bottle of milk (if you don’t breastfeed your baby) since sometimes all that bathing makes them hungry.
Make sure the room temperature is about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 Celsius). The water temperature should be about 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 37 Celsius), depending on baby’s age. If you don’t have a baby bath thermometer check it with the underside of your wrist or with your elbow. Mix it well, to make sure there are no hot or cold spots. An inch or two (5 to 8cm) of water will be enough.
A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Gently place your baby’s feet into a bathtub, using one hand to support her back, neck and head.
2. Continue supporting her with one hand, while regularly pouring her with some water, with your other hand.
3. There’s no need to use a mild soap on her entire body, only on her hands and diaper area. You can just use water on the rest of her body.
4. Wash her from top to bottom. When washing her head pay attention to her neck and area behind her ears. Don’t use cotton swabs for cleaning inside her ears.
5. Wash her hair, if she has any.
6. Rinse your baby’s head with capfuls of clean warm water.
7. Wash her torso, her armpits and between her fingers.
8. Washing baby’s genitals differ whether you have a girl or a boy. If you’re having a girl wash her from front to back. There’s no need to clean inside the labia. If you’re having a boy - simply wipe your circumcised baby boy’s penis clean, or if your baby boy is uncircumcised, no need to pull back his foreskin.
9. Rinse her with some clean warm water.
10. Lift her from a bathtub and quickly wrap her into a warm soft towel. Don't rub her, just gently pat her with a towel. Dry her skin well, to prevent skin irritation.
If her skin is still peeling from birth, you can put some mild baby lotion on her.
Now, when you’re finished, it’s a perfect time for a massage.
What To Do If Your Baby Doesn't Like Bathing?
If you think she might be too sleepy or too hungry - move the bath time for half an hour backwards. Try calming her down and taking her mind off from bathing - buy her some rubber toys, sing her a song or play some games. And keep it quick, even if she likes bathing there's really no need to soak her in the water for hours. Five minutes will be just fine.
Be sure everything you’ll need is within arm’s reach. Never, under any circumstances, leave a baby in a bathtub without an adult supervision! Always keep one hand on a baby. Even a small amount of water (as an inch) is enough for a baby to drown. Don’t put your baby in a bathtub when the water is still running – it can quickly become too deep or the water temperature could change.Search articles on: Baby Care Infant Care Parenting