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.
Setting Up A Newborn Bath: Tips
Heres how to get ready for a newborn bath:
- Take the phone off the hook or turn your phone off while bathing your baby. Youll be less likely to get distracted.
- Make sure you have everything you need within reach for example, towel, washcloth, cream or ointment, clean clothes and clean nappy.
- Avoid using soap because this will dry out your babys skin. If needed, use a fragrance-free oil or a gentle non-soap cleanser at the end of the bath.
- Position the bath somewhere stable and at a height where you can comfortably hold your baby.
- Fill the bath with just enough warm water to wash your baby. Use jugs of water to fill the bath if youre planning to bath your baby away from the tap.
- Take off your watch and jewellery and wash your hands.
- Check the water temperature is 37-38°C before you put your baby in the bath. If you dont have a thermometer, use your wrist or elbow to test the temperature it should be comfortably warm, not hot.
- Before bathing your baby in a sink, briefly run cold water through the tap once youve finished filling the bath.
- Dont add extra water while your baby is in the bath.
When Should You First Bathe A Newborn
Before you give your baby their first bath there are a couple of things that you should remember. One is to have someone help you handling the newborn for the first couple times. Whether it is a sponge bath or tub bath, chances are you might have forgotten something in the other room out of reach. Also being the first bath, handling your bundle of joy may not be so joyous. A wet soapy, slippery baby can be a lot to manage on your own on the first time of asking.
When should you first bathe a newborn baby depends on when the umbilical cord stump falls off. The stump can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks to fall off. Until it doesnt fall off you should give your infant sponge baths using a soft washcloth. Washing their face and hands frequently, and genitals after each diaper change is crucial.
Now you might be wondering why you shouldnt give your baby a bath until the umbilical cord falls off. Thats pretty straightforward. You want to avoid the chance of infection.
Before you begin giving your newborn a bath make sure you have everything you need at arms reach. Here is a list to help you:
- wash clothes
- a hooded towel
It is also worth keeping in mind the quality of water that is being used in your home. If you live in areas that have hard water, too much tap water can dry out the skin of your newborn very quickly.
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Setting Up A Baby Bath Safely: Tips
Drowning and scalds are the two main risks with bath time. With these simple tips, you can avoid these risks and keep bath time fun and safe for your baby:
- Take the phone off the hook or turn your phone off while bathing your baby. Youll be less likely to get distracted.
- Make sure you have everything you need nearby for example, towel, washcloth, bath toys, lotion or shampoo, clean clothes and clean nappy. This way you can keep your eyes and hands on your baby at all times.
- Make sure all bath lotions, shampoos and electrical appliances are out of babys reach.
- Take off your watch and jewellery. Wash your hands.
- Check the water temperature is 37-38°C before you put your baby in.
- Dry and dress your baby on a towel on the floor if possible. Its safer than on a change table. If youre using a change table, always keep one hand on your baby.
- Place your baby in a safe area like a cot after theyre dry and dressed.
- Empty the bath as soon as youre finished with it. Remove bath plugs from the bath when theyre not in use.
Children can drown in a few seconds in very shallow water. Never leave your baby alone in the bath, even if youre using a bath seat or cradle. Never leave older children or siblings to supervise. If youre disturbed by the phone or another task, take your baby out of the bath.
How To Give A Baby A Traditional Bath
Once the babys umbilical cord stump has fallen off, they can have a traditional bath. The AAD recommends the following method:
thinner skin than adults, a temperature suitable for an adult will be too hot for a baby. To test the temperature of the water, dip an elbow into the water. If the water does not feel cooler or warmer than the elbow, it is likely for a baby.
To bathe a baby safely, caregivers can follow this advice from the NCT:
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Doctors Recommend Sponge Bathes To Start
For the first two weeks, or so, pediatricians recommend sponge baths. Two weeks is about how long it takes for the stump left from the baby’s umbilical cord to fall off and heal. If you completely submerge your baby in water before the wound heals, this could increase the risk of infection or cause irritation, says Daryznkiewicz.
Also, if your baby is circumcised, pediatricians recommend sponge bathing until the circumcision site is healed, as well.
“The sponge bath should start with washing the face and working downwards until you are done,” says Daryznkiewicz. “As you get comfortable you can extend the bath but you want to make sure your child stays warm.”
As they get older, you can transition to a warm bath in a few inches of water. When choosing a soap, Daryznkiewicz suggests a scent and fragrance-free option, since scents can irritate sensitive skin or cause flare-ups of eczema.
Putting Baby In The Bath
To put your baby in the bath safely:
- lower them into the water on their back
- support their head, shoulders and back with both hands
If you use your bath youll need to lean over your baby, which isnt very comfortable. Usually it’s easier to use a basin or a small baby bath on the floor. When theyre bigger and youre feeling more confident, you could try a slightly deeper bath.
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When To Bathe A Newborn For The First Time
According to the World Health Organization , caregivers should wait 24 hours after birth before bathing a baby. If this is not possible due to cultural or other reasons, they should wait at least 6 hours.
According to a 2019 study, in the past, hospitals best practice was to bathe a newborn around 2 hours after birth, but there is evidence that delaying a babys first wash can be beneficial. The study, involving around 1,000 newborns, found that delaying the first bath until 12 hours after birth improved the chances of successful breastfeeding.
In a smaller 2019 study , delaying the first bath until 48 hours after birth helped preserve the babys temperature, improved skin moisture, and might aid skin development.
Babies are often born with a white, creamy substance on their skin called vernix caseosa, which begins forming in the third trimester of pregnancy. This naturally occurring substance protects a baby in the womb and aids with delivery.
After that time, caregivers can give a baby a traditional bath. Learn about these methods below.
Sponge baths are a good way to clean babies without submerging them in water. It can often be quicker, and some people may find it easier.
People will need to gather the equipment they need beforehand. This will usually include:
Why Not Every Day
While it may feel odd to bathe your baby so infrequently, babies simply dont need to bathe as often as adults. They dont sweat or get dirty in the same way as older people, and their skin is much more sensitive than that of adults. Frequent bathing can actually do more harm than good.
To avoid drying out babys skin and worsening conditions like eczema, bathe your little one to two times per week and wash them with a mild, fragrance- and dye-free soap. When you get them out of the bath, pat them dry before applying a dye- and fragrance-free baby moisturizer and promptly dressing them.
If your little one has a known skin condition, consult their pediatrician to make a plan for exactly what products and routines you can follow to help them stay comfortable.
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Staying Clean Between Baths
On the days you dont bathe your baby, they might still need a bit of freshening up. When your little one isnt dirty enough to warrant the baby bathtub, simply give them a quick wipe-down, kind of like the sponge baths they got the first couple of weeks. Baby wipes to the rescue!
With Babo Botanicalss 3-in-1 Sensitive Baby Face, Hands & Body Wipes, you can quickly, easily, and safely clean not only your babys bum but also their hands, face, and body. Made with oat milk and organic calendula oil, these plush wipes are non-drying and good for daily use. And the cherry on top is that the natural cloth fabric is 100% plant-based and biodegradable. Great for your family and the earth!Now, lets look at the best and safest way to wash your baby when you do put them in the baby tub.
Helping Baby Enjoy Bath Time
To help your baby enjoy bath time, you can try placing your hand gently on their tummy. You can also place a warm wet washcloth on their chest and tummy. This can help your baby feel safe and secure in the bath.
If your baby doesnt like baths, give them a top and tail bath one day and a proper bath the next. Generally, babies get used to baths by around three months.
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Hospitals Give Parents Inconsistent And Sometimes Conflicting Bath Time Advice
Newborns enter the world wearing a protective coating, a layer of good bacteria and vernix a white, creamy biofilm that covers the skin of the fetus during the last trimester. How and when that layer is washed away has been connected to that babys ability to regulate temperature, develop normal blood glucose, and fight infection. So whats the best time and way to bathe newborns? A new study surveying nurseries across the country revealed theres no consensus or standard when it comes to a babys first bath. The truth is, we dont really know.
Theres some things we do in medicine because weve always done them this way, says Ann Kellams, MD, professor of pediatrics at University of Virginia and lead author of the study. But in reality, theres very little evidence to support most hospitals newborn skin care approach, she says.
How Often Does A Newborn Need A Bath
Growing up, you may have heard that babies and children must be bathed daily for optimum cleanliness. However, this isnt the case. Especially with a newborn, bathing daily can actually dry the skin, and irritate it.
Additionally, most newborns do not get very dirty, so its not necessary to fully immerse them in a bath each day or night. You can spot clean any areas of concern in between baths.
For these reasons, most doctors recommend only bathing your newborn baby a few days per week.
AAP recommends bathing your baby no more than three days per week. Of course, even that is not a hard and fast rule.
If you want to bathe your baby more often, thats fine, and if you only bathe your baby one or two days per week , thats fine too!
As your baby gets older and ventures into the toddler years, they are going to get dirtier, because they will be exploring everything and playing outside. Your bathing frequency will likely naturally increase during this time.
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