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.
Giving Your Newborn A Bath: Steps
These steps make bathing your newborn easy:
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.
When To Give Your Newborn A Bath
You can bath your baby at any time of the day. Its a good idea to pick a time when youre relaxed and you wont be interrupted. And its best to avoid bathing your baby when baby is hungry or straight after a feed.
If bathing relaxes your baby, you can use it as a way to settle your baby for sleep in the evening.
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Where To Bath Your Baby
You can bath your baby in a baby bath until theyre too big to fit comfortably. Then it might be easier to bath your baby in the big bath.
You can help babies get used to the big bath by putting the small baby bath into the big bath a few times.
Once your baby is ready for the big bath, you might like to take a bath with your baby .
You can also shower with your baby. Keep your babys face away from the pouring water and make sure the water isnt too hot.
A big bath allows more room for games and toys. Bath toys can be very simple try a plastic cup or a washcloth to start with. Or you could take your baby for swims up and down the bath just support under your babys body and head .
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:
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Clean Baby Using A Soft Wash Cloth Or Sponge
Use one arm to support babys back, head, and neck use your other hand to sponge babys body parts one at a time. Start with the cleanest parts of your baby and work to the dirtiest parts . Never retract or clean uncircumcised penises or put soap inside the vagina. And be sure to pay close attention to any folds or rolls, under the neck, under the arms, in the upper thigh rolls, and the bum.
What if baby still has the umbilical cord stump??
When it comes to the umbilical cord stump, the best rule is to leave it alone. If it does get wet, dry it in the process, simply dry it with a soft cloth. Read more about umbilical cord care.
Transitioning Your Child From A Baby Bath Tub
The baby bath is the perfect vessel in which to wash up your little one, but at what point does your child outgrow it? There’s really no fixed rule about when you should stop using a baby bath, but most babies are ready for the bathtub at around 6 months or whenever they’re able to sit up and support themselves on their own.
Your child’s size might have a lot to do with why you haven’t switched. Some children quickly outgrow the baby bath, while others still fit inside comfortably at one year old. There are also other factors: Maybe your baby can sit up but doesn’t have complete control of her body just yet. Maybe you want to save water by sticking to a small baby bath. Do whatever you’re comfortable doing and what works best for your child.
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Baby Bath Time: Step By Step
Here are basic steps for giving your baby a bath:
Try to keep soap, shampoos and bubble baths to a minimum they can irritate skin and cause nappy rash. A mild non-soap cleanser is a good alternative.
Your baby will probably try to pull themselves up or stand up in the bath. If you cant stop them trying this, at least make sure youre holding them so they cant slip. You might like to use a non-slip bath mat and have a non-slip surface in your bath.
Baby Bath: Time For A Sponge Bath
Gentle sponge baths are perfect for the first few weeks until the umbilical cord falls off, the circumcision heals, and the navel heals completely.
The basics of bathing a baby:
- First, undress baby — cradling the head with one hand. Leave the diaper on . Wrap baby in a towel, exposing only those areas that you are washing.
- Using a baby bath sponge or wash cloth, cleanse one area at a time. Start behind the ears, then move to the neck, elbows, knees, between fingers and toes. Pay attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck.
- The hair comes toward the end of bath time so baby doesn’t get cold. While newborns don’t have much hair, you can sponge the few wisps that are there. To avoid getting eyes wet, tip the head back just a little. There’s no need for shampoo just use water.
- Now it’s time to remove the diaper and sponge baby’s belly, bottom, and genitals.
- Wash little girls from front to back. If there’s a little vaginal discharge, don’t worry — and don’t try to wipe it all away. If a little boy is uncircumcised, leave the foreskin alone. If circumcised, don’t wash the head of the penis until it’s healed.
- Gently pat baby dry. Rubbing the skin will irritate it.
Bath time is over, and your fresh little baby is ready for a clean diaper and clothes!
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The Best Time Of Day To Tub Bathe Baby
Theres no hard and fast rule about when to tub bathe your baby. The most important thing is to do it when you have adequate time and when your newborn is calm and relaxed. If your baby is due for a nap, becoming tired, fussing, gassy or reached a point of complete overtiredness, then adding a bath into the mix is likely to make things worse.
A bath can be a lovely way to calm and soothe your newborn and for this reason, its a common addition to a pre-sleep/nap or wind-down routine. In time, a solid routine will help signal to your newborn that its time to sleep, so if you decide to tub bathe your baby as part of an evening wind-down routine, make sure bathing is at the same point in the routine every time. I.e. feed, bathe, re-dress, swaddle, bed.
However, if your baby enjoys bathing too much and it overexcites her, dont bathe her too close to nap or bedtime. You want bathing to be a calm, relaxing experience.
Same goes for the opposite situation if your newborn hates bathing and it upsets or stresses her then avoid bathing close to bedtime.
Additional Newborn Bath Tips
- As you move from one area of the body to another, change the washcloth parts to keep the clean cloth on cleaner parts of the body.
- Pat the skin with a washcloth and blot dry with a towel rather than vigorously scrubbing, which may irritate your bathing babys sensitive skin.
- Spot-cleaning works best for babies who do not like either a total sponge bath or an immersion bath. Clean the areas that get the oiliest, sweaty, or dirty.
- Clean the eyes on an as-needed basis rather than during the regular bath. Infants often protest eye cleaning, which may set off a protest for the entire bath. Using cotton balls and warm tap water , wash accumulated discharge out of the corners of your babys eyes.
- Cotton-tipped applicators are handy when cleaning little crevices in and behind the outer ear, but never try to clean inside the ear canal, as you may damage the canal or eardrum.
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How Often You Should Bathe Your Newborn
Newborns dont need daily baths in their first few months of life. In fact, bathing your loved one too often may dry out their delicate and easily irritated skin. Three baths per week is plenty, as long as youre following a basic daily hygiene routine.
For example, always clean your babys bottom thoroughly when changing a dirty diaper. Your babys diaper area needs to be kept clean to avoid infections and rashes.
Use gentle baby wipes, like Mustelas Soothing Cleansing Wipes or Stelatopia Cleansing Wipes. This will keep your little one clean while protecting their delicate skin.
On the days when you arent bathing your newborn, you can use micellar water to cleanse their most important areas. Mustela No Rinse Cleansing Water is both gentle and effective! Use it to keep your little one clean without drying out their skin.
When using micellar water, focus on your babys face, hands, feet, neck, armpits, and the backs of their knees. These areas need to be cleansed more often than their arms, legs, and tummy.
What To Look For In A Baby Bathtub
Safety is the first element you should consider when selecting a baby bath seat. There are a few things that you need to look for with a baby bathtub. Always keep in mind where youll be using the tub, whether its the kitchen sink, on the changing table, or in your own bathtub. Location makes a big difference when it comes to picking the right baby bathtub for you. Here are the most important safety features a bathing seat should have:
- Non-skid surfaces both in the tub itself and outside, to ensure the tub doesnt move around when your baby is splashing and wiggling
- Smooth, rounded edges to reduce the risk of bruising if the baby slips
- Convertible flexibility as your baby grows
- Portability, especially if you want to bathe your baby in the sink when theyre small and later in the bathtub
- Ease of draining and cleaning, as mold and mildew can build up in a tub that doesnt drain well, and many new parents dont want to pick up a full tub of water, particularly immediately postpartum
If you dont have a lot of space, consider purchasing a soft, foldable baby bathtub or a collapsible sink insert that has a hook or hanger for easy drying and storage. Fully inflatable baby bathtubs may not be the best choice. Although inflatable tubs are a great space-saver, they also have a much higher instance of tipping over, which can be dangerous.
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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.