The first few weeks of your baby’s life you may not want to rush into bath time. It’s perfectly ok to give him sponge baths. As long as his face, hands and genital area are clean, there really is no rush. Bathing your baby for the first time can be intimidating but doing so in a relaxed and safe environment will make it enjoyable for both of you.
Prepare yourself before bath time and don’t worry about getting the umbilical stump wet – it’s safe to do so, just make sure you dry it gently after bath time.
Here are some tips for bathing your wee one safely:
Make sure that everything is within arms reach while you’re bathing your baby. You don’t want to take your hands off of her while she’s in the bath, so it’s best to plan ahead and have everything you need before you begin. You may want to use a baby bath or a cradle type bath for your baby. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your baby is supported, but remember to always have one hand on your baby, even if they are in a baby bath.
Choose your location wisely
There is no unwritten rule that you have to bathe your baby in the bathroom. I’m not advising you to bathe him in the kitchen sink either, you may be surprised to read that the kitchen sink usually has more bacteria than your toilet seat!
The bathroom is an obvious choice, but you do have other options. You can use your dining table or your change table (remove the padded top). Pretty much any safe surface where you will be comfortable, either on your knees next to your own bathtub or standing up in the room of your choice while using a baby bath. This is a personal preference, and there is no right or wrong answer, just be sure that you’re not in a cold room, as little ones have a lower body temperature than we do, so while you don’t need to heat the room, you may not want to do it in the coldest room in the house. Your priority is to keep baby safe and comfortable.
The right time
Choose a time when your baby isn’t sleepy, hungry or too full. You want your little one to enjoy bath time and doing this at a time when they are generally happy is a great way to ensure that they enjoy it. It is a great time for bonding either with mom, dad, grandparent or caregiver. Look your baby in the eye, speak to her and tell her what your doing. She’ll love the sound of your voice,
sing to her, whatever you can do to make her feel safe and enjoy the calmness of water.
Your baby doesn’t need to be fully bathed everyday. Sometimes you may just want to wash their face and their diaper area. That’s ok. They’re not rolling around in the mud yet so you are fine to omit bath time out of your day when you like. A frequency of once or twice a week is fine. You may also not want to add it to your bedtime routine just yet as the frequency might not accommodate it. Once they are a few months older you can incorporate it into your bedtime routine. Nothing sets up bedtime better than the B’s: bath, breast/bottle and book.
Take off your baby’s diaper and make sure you clean their genitals you don’t want to get poop in the bath. If your baby poops in the tub, don’t panic, just lay your baby on his towel, wrap him up, put him a safe place, clean the tub, get a fresh towel and start over again.
Be prepared, newborns are oh so little and when they are wet and squirmy they sure are slippery! Consider using a washcloth to help you hold your baby so they don’t slip away. Wash your baby’s face first. When washing her eyes, wipe from the center of her face out.
Always hold baby with one hand and wash with the other. It is imperative that you never leave your baby – not even for a second. It only takes less than two inches of water for a baby to drown. You may want to turn off the ringer on your phone for bath time. You don’t want to be distracted and feel like you need to answer the phone if it rings.
Prepare the bath water before you put your baby in – hot tap water can be hot enough to burn your baby so running the water while your baby is in the bath is never a good idea. Use a baby bath thermometer so you know that the water temperature is just right — aim for anywhere between 36 and 38 degrees Celsius.
Lay your towel out beside your baby bath so when bath time is done you can pick up your baby and put her directly onto her towel and wrap her up. You don’t want her to get cold. Now it’s up to you on whether or not you’d like to moisturize her — this may be a nice time to introduce some infant massage techniques. If necessary use a soft brush on her hair and dress your clean and fresh smelling baby for bed or for a nice start to the day.
What you need:
Gentle soap (can double as shampoo)
Safe Baby Bath (meant for newborns)
Towel, or hooded towel
Small cup to help with rinsing hair
If you decide to bathe with your baby, please be sure to put your baby in a safe place while you get in and out of the tub.
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