How Do I Keep My New Baby Clean
It may be tempting to follow the lead of commercials, slathering your baby daily in sweet-smelling soaps in the cute tub you got for your baby shower, then bundling her up in an adorable hooded towel. But hold on, doctors warn: Newborns and infants have delicate skin, and a soapy bath every day can do more harm than good.
Over-bathing an infant may dry out the skin, making it itchy and rashy, explained Dr. Kelly M. Cordoro, M.D., a professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco who practices at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital. An important distinction here is bathing with soaps or other cleansers, versus soaking in just water. Dr. Cordoro, who is also a committee chair for the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, advises new parents to use soap conservatively. It can be very irritating and unnecessary, as it can wash away the top layer of protective skin cells, natural oils and normal healthy bacteria, leaving the skin dry, itchy and vulnerable to irritation and possibly skin infections.
Since bathing can be stressful in the beginning, there are a few things all parents should keep in mind:
Babys First Bath At Home
Once you get your little one home, theres no set timetable for when to give baby her first sponge bath. Experts agree that the timing for bathing a newborn is up to the parents, and that theres no big rush. Many families are excited about giving a baby their first newborn bath at home, but waiting a few days is fine, says Justin Smith, MD, a pediatrician at Cook Childrens Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Holly S., a mom of two, gave birth to her second baby at home and didnt bathe him for more than a week. Theres no need to wash them right away in most circumstances, she says. Any blood from the birth can be wiped off, and you just need to wipe their diaper areas thoroughly in the meantime. She also made sure to rub the vernix into her babys skin to get the most out of its antimicrobial and moisturizing properties.
How To Give Your Baby A Bath
Get everything ready before you start your baby’s bath:
Ensure that all the supplies you need like shampoo, soap, a hooded towel, and a cup for rinsing are within armâs reachânever leave your baby unattended in the bath, so make sure you have everything you need on hand, including your babyâs fresh change of clothes
Make sure the room is warm before undressing your baby.
Follow these step-by-step guidelines for bathing your baby:
Line a sink or baby bathtub with a towel, and fill it about 2 inches full of warm water âtest it with your elbow or the inside of your wrist to make sure itâs not too hot
While supporting your babyâs head with your non-dominant hand, use your other hand to guide him into the water feet first. Youâll want to do this swiftly so he doesnât get cold, and youâll want to make sure his head and most of his body are above the water level
Wash his body from top to bottom with clear water, and, if you prefer, a mild baby soap. Keep him warm by pouring warm water over his body using a cup. Use a soft cloth to wash his face
If he has hair, itâs enough to shampoo once or twice a week. When you do, massage a drop of mild baby shampoo into his scalp, even the soft spots of his head. Be careful not to get any soapsuds or shampoo in his eyesâcup your hands over his forehead when rinsing his head. If some soap or shampoo does get into his eyes, go ahead and wipe them using a cloth dampened with clear water.
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How Often Should I Bathe My Baby
Giving baby a bath without harming that delicate skin is one more minefield for new parents to traverse. Here are a few tips.
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When you bring your baby home, you also bring home a bundle of new questions. Everyone has different opinions on the best way to do everything when it comes to raising babies even a simple question like, How often should I bathe this kid? can turn into a heated debate. To help you navigate the minefield of parenting advice, I spoke to a few experts to get the dirt on keeping baby clean.
How Long Can You Go Without Bathing A Newborn
You may bathe the baby less than three times a week. Alternatively, you may give sponge baths even after their umbilical cord falls off and only bathe the baby in a bathtub when they are soiled and dirty. Parents may prefer to wash only the face, hands, neck, and bottom. This is known as topping and tailing . Ultimately, parents may choose a frequency of bathing the baby based on their choices and the pediatricians opinion.
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How Often Should You Bathe Your Newborn
There’s a good reason to skip your baby’s bath tonight. Learn how frequently you should bathe your newborn according to experts, as well as tips for preventing eczema outbreaks between baths.
Bath time might be part of your nightly ritual, but doctors actually don’t recommend daily baths for babies. Excess exposure to water can zap their skin of moisture and worsen conditions like eczema. Then again, not bathing your baby often enough can also aggravate eczema, plus lead to other infections.
“It’s a delicate balance,” says Scott Grant, M.D., MPH, FAAP, at Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan. But bathing itself is probably not the entire problem: “The use of bath products, including lotions that contain dyes or fragrances, can react with babies’ skin to make eczema worse even if there isn’t a ‘bath,'” says Dr. Grant.
So how often should you bathe a newborn? Read on for the guidelines.
Topping And Tailing Tips
- Hold your baby on your knee or lay them on a changing mat. Take off all their clothes, apart from their vest and nappy, and wrap them in a towel.
- Dip the cotton wool in the water and wipe gently around your baby’s eyes from the nose outward, using a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye. This is so that you don’t transfer any stickiness or infection from one eye to another.
- Use a fresh piece of cotton wool to clean around your baby’s ears, but not inside them. Never use cotton buds to clean inside your baby’s ears. Wash the rest of your baby’s face, neck and hands in the same way and dry them gently with the towel.
- Take off the nappy and wash your baby’s bottom and genital area with fresh cotton wool and warm water. Dry very carefully, including between the skin folds, and put on a clean nappy.
- It will help your baby to relax if you keep talking while you wash them. The more they hear your voice, the more they’ll get used to listening to you and start to understand what you’re saying.
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How Often Should I Alternate Breasts
Try to offer both breasts during each feeding to sustain your milk supply. Your baby may not take the second breast if theyre full.
Some women find it helpful to alternate breasts in the middle of each feeding session, while others prefer to switch breasts at each feeding so that theyre only nursing from one for an entire session and the other during the next session.
No matter which method you choose, be sure to keep track of which breast you offered last so that youre giving both the same amount of nursing time throughout the day.
Your body is adjusting to a new life on the inside and outside: you have a new baby and a new body! During the first few days postpartum, your nipples may be a little sore from nursing. This can make breastfeeding miserable and uncomfortable. Over time, your body does eventually adjust and sore nipples become a thing of the past! But to help keep your skin comfortable while nursing especially during those first few days try our Nursing Comfort Balm, which is a soothing and restorative nipple cream. This lanolin-free balm moisturizes and protects your nipples, eases discomfort, and helps replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is now a painless pleasure!
Washing And Bathing Your Baby
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day. You may prefer to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom instead. This is often called “topping and tailing”.
Choose a time when your baby is awake and content. Make sure the room is warm. Get everything ready beforehand. You’ll need a bowl of warm water, a towel, cotton wool, a fresh nappy and, if necessary, clean clothes.
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Bathe Your Baby 1 To 3 Times A Week
After that, pediatricians recommend no more than three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
“One to two times may be fine as well,” says Dr. Rob Darzynkiewicz, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Hazel Health. “This will help make sure your baby stays clean. Doing it more than that can dry out the skin, which is very sensitive.”
Over bathing can actually decrease the bacteria that naturally occur on your baby’s skin. This can not only cause dry and irritated skin but in some rare cases, it can cause an infection. But not bathing your baby enough also has consequences.
Bathing your newborn less often than once a week could result in rashes between the folds of the baby’s skin or in their diaper, Darzynkiewicz says.
So stick with the goldilocks range of one to three times a week.
What You’ll Need For Your Baby’s First Bath
For a sponge bath, you’ll want to gather up the necessities before you get started. This makes the process easier for you and your baby, and it can prevent them from getting too cold while you work.
Before you get started, prepare your bath area. You might lay a blanket or towel down on a hard surface to cushion your baby during their first bath. Then, grab:
- A big bowl of warm water
- Gentle baby soap
- A baby towel
- A clean diaper for afterward
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Sample Baby Feeding Schedules
Your babys early days with solids should be about helping her get into the flow of mealtime with the family. Ideally, shell eat at times when everyone else is at the table, too.
Just keep in mind that, since the bulk of your babys nutrition should still be coming from breast milk or formula until she turns 1, those liquid meals should continue to take priority.
You can start off with just one or two solid meals per day whichever ones are most convenient for you.
For instance, offer breakfast and dinner if your cutie is in day care and you want the honors of feeding her solids. If its too hard to squeeze in dinner before her bedtime milk feeding, begin with breakfast and lunch.
As your baby hits 8 or 9 months and starts eating more foods , you can transition to three meals.
These sample schedules below may help you envision how solids can fit into your babys day just remember that every child is different. Your little ones schedule may not be predictable or consistent until she hits toddlerhood. However, you might find that a typical day looks something like this:
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How To Give Your Baby A Sponge Bath
- Keep things simple, but make sure you are prepared beforehand with supplies, such as a washcloth or baby sponge, a basin of water, and a towel.
- Clean your baby on a secure surface such as a changing table or bed. You can also lay a towel or blanket on the floor to soften it, or place your baby in your lap. If your baby is on an elevated surface, you must keep on hand on your baby at all times so they dont fall.
- Be careful not to get water in your babys eyes, and dont directly sponge their healing umbilical cord stump.
- Make sure you keep your baby warm during this process. You may consider wrapping your baby with a towel and only uncovering your babys different body parts when they are ready to be washed.
Your babys umbilical cord stump should fall off within the first one to two weeks of life, at which point you can immerse your baby in water.
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Tips For Safely Bathing Your Newborn
Besides keeping your baby happy and getting them clean, safety should be a top concern when it comes to bathing your baby. Unfortunately, drowning is something all parents of newborns need to be aware of.
As the AAP notes, ost child drownings inside the home occur in bathtubs, and more than half of bathtub deaths involve children under 1 year of age. These are sobering statistics, but they are not meant to scare you instead, they are reminders to take safety very seriously when it comes to bathing your baby.
Here are some other safety recommendations to keep in mind:
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby From Birth Through Early Childhood
One of the most common questions new parents ask has recently become the focus of anongoing social media debate among celebrity parents, including Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell: How often should I bathe my baby?
Some parents bathe their babies daily as part of a bedtime routine or due to regular baby messes, from extra spit-up to diaper blowouts. But for most families, bathing the baby two to three times a week is plenty after the first couple of weeks of life.
In fact, we recommend delaying your newborns first full bath for at least two weeks. Newborns shed about three layers of skin within their first week, which often surprises new parents. Their skin is still adjusting to the dry air, so its perfectly normal. You can prevent further skin irritation by moisturizing your baby with chemical-free lotion and washing their clothes with a gentle, chemical-free detergent before dressing them.
After that first two-week period, its OK to bathe your baby a couple times a week. You can follow this schedule through your childs elementary school years. Of course, you should modify the bath schedule based on your babys skin health and your familys lifestyle.
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