How To Bathe Your Baby Before Their Umbilical Cord Stump Falls Off
For the first weeks, your baby will still have their umbilical cord stump attached. Usually, this falls off in one to three weeks. It is essential to keep this area clean and dry so the stump will dry out and fall off.
That being said, during this time, stick to sponge baths to avoid submerging the umbilical cord in water. Wipe around the area with a warm cloth, but donât let the stump get wet.
How Much Water Should You Fill The Tub With
Whether youre using your bathtub, a baby bathtub, or a sink, keep the water level at a minimum to ensure your little ones safety. A common recommendation is about two inches of water. Some research indicates that having enough water to cover your babys shoulders helps keep them warm and calm. You might also consider periodically pouring water over your babys body to keep them warm during bath time.
No matter how much water you use, its important to keep a secure yet comfortable hold on your baby throughout their splish-splash time. And never leave your baby alone in the tub not even for a split second. Babies can quickly drown in as little as one inch of water.
Safety Tips For Newborn Bathtime
Anytime water is involved with babies, you want to make sure to be extra vigilant and focus on safety. Babies are extremely slippery when they are wet, so you may find it helpful if you have an extra set of helping hands during bathtime.
Of course, this isnât always an option when an impromptu bath presents itself. Here are some helpful safety tips when bathing your baby.
Read Also: What Do I Need For A Newborn
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
Situating And Supervising Baby
To place baby in the bath, gently slide them into the baby tub, feet first.
- As you slide baby in, hold them securely.
- One arm should provide support under their head, and that hand should grasp baby under their underarm.
- The other arm should support baby’s bottom.
Never leave baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.
- There’s a high risk of drowning if baby is left unsupervised in the tub.
- As the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions, babies can drown in as little as 1-2 inches of water.
- And over half of bathtub deaths involve children under one year of age.
Never leave baby in the bath with only another child watching them, either. Babies need close adult supervision in the bath.
If you need to leave the bath area for any reason, you must take baby with you!
Keep one hand on baby at all times during the bath — use “touch supervision” to keep them safe.
- Ideally, use one arm to cradle babys head while you bathe them with the other hand.
You May Like: What Are Newborn Baby Essentials
Some Tips For Giving Your Newborn A Sponge Bath Are:
- Make sure to grab everything you need before you begin washing your baby. Grab necessities like a container or basin of water, a washcloth, a dry towel, and anything else that you choose to use.
- Place your newborn on a flat surface that is comfortable for both you and the baby. You can use changing tables, beds, or clean floors and counters. If you are using a high surface, make sure that you secure your newborn with a safety strap or hold them with one hand at all times.
- Wash the face first. Dampen the washcloth and wash your babys body in the following order: face, body, then diaper area.
- Be sure to keep your newborn warm. While sponging your baby clean, keep them wrapped in a dry towel with the parts that you are not actively cleaning remaining covered. Some areas to pay special attention to are the creases under the arms, behind the ears, under the neck, and the genital area, especially with girls.
This video by IntermountainMoms is a great resource for any parent that wants to see how to properly and effectively bathe their newborn. It explains why frequent bathing is not needed and gives advice on how to clean your baby. Additionally, it gives a step-by-step audible and visual explanation of how to sponge bathe your newborn before their umbilical cord falls off.
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.
Don’t Miss: When Will My Newborn Sleep Through The Night
Should You Bath Baby In A Sink Or Full Bath
There are sink inserts available to bathe a newborn. This can be a good option if youre traveling or short on space in your home. Follow the bathtub steps above for giving your baby a bath in the sink, but take care that the water coming from the sink faucet isnt too hot.
When your baby is able to sit up on their own , you can use the full bathtub. Fill the tub with only a few inches of water and supervise them at all times, making sure their head and neck stay well above water.
How To Dry A Newborn After A Bath
Heres how to wrap up your babys bath, including a bit about rinsing, drying and using lotion:
- Rinse well. Use clean, warm water for that final rinse cycle, holding your little one football-style, with the back of his head cradled in one hand, his body draped along your arm, and his head over the basin. Fill the cup with water and gently pour it over your baby’s head and then the body parts.
- Dry her gently. Next up, pat your baby’s skin with a soft dry towel. Be sure to thoroughly dry her bottom and any other areas where there are folds of skin. Chubby babies have lots of those!
- Go easy on the baby lotion. That beautiful and ultra-sensitive skin doesn’t need much, if any, in the way of lotions, oils or creams, though a little baby-safe lotion is okay. But avoid baby powders, which can irritate an infant’s breathing passages. If your practitioner recommends it , massage a hypoallergenic lotion into her skin after warming it in your palms.
- Diaper and dress. Slip on a fresh diaper and dress your baby in some clean clothes. If she needs a little soothing after the sponge bath, swaddle her up in a blanket, then get settled in for a snuggle with your clean, sweet-smelling baby.
You May Like: Can You Bathe A Newborn Everyday
What Do I Need To Bath My Baby
After some practice runs, youll work out what suits you best. Generally, its helpful to have:
- A table or bath stand which is stable and at a comfortable height so you dont need to bend over.
- At least one large towel and a washer.
- A mild cleanser any baby wash is fine or if your baby has dry skin, a non-soap, moisturising cleanser. Many baby washes are also suitable to use as shampoos, just make sure you rinse their scalp well.
- A clean nappy and clothing.
How Often Do You Need To Bathe A Baby
While you might have pictured making bath time part of your daily ritual — and it will almost certainly get to that point — your newborn doesn’t need a bath every day. Because newborns aren’t mobile, they don’t get exposed to much dirt or other grime. As long as you thoroughly clean their diaper area each time you change them, they shouldn’t get dirty very quickly. Plus, bathing your baby too frequently can dry out their delicate skin.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bathing your baby three times per week during their first year. Also, if your baby has been circumcised, it’s best to stick with sponge baths until their penis has healed unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
Don’t Miss: How To Handle A Newborn
How To Give Your Baby A Sponge Bath
During a sponge bath, you will wash your baby all over, just without putting them in a bathtub. Instead, you will use washcloths to clean them.
First, lay a towel down on the floor, changing table, bed, or counter by the sinkâanywhere you feel comfortable laying your baby down for their sponge bath. Some baby bathtubs even come with a mesh sling that fits over the tub. This can also be used for sponge baths.
If you choose a high location, make sure to keep one hand on them for the entire bath. Lay your baby on their back and cover them with another towel to keep them nice and warm.
Next, wash your baby in sections. It is helpful to have one washcloth with a small amount of baby soap and another washcloth that is just used to rinse. You can use a large bowl of warm water so you donât have to keep adjusting the temperature of the sink.
Be careful not to get soap in their eyes. Try to use fragrance-free soap to avoid rashes or eczema, and be mindful of your babyâs soft spots.
If your baby has hair, use a small amount of baby soap or baby shampoo to gently scrub their hair. Once you finish, you can soak the washcloth in water and carefully squeeze the excess water over their hair. The water should only fall over their scalp and not on their face.
Once you are finished bathing your baby, make sure they are fully dry before you put on a fresh diaper and clean, warm clothes.
When Should You Bathe Your Baby For The First Time
For many years, babies were given a bath within the first few hours of being born. If the baby was born in a hospital, the nurse would come and give them their first bath, either in the nursery or in the recovery room with mom. This recommendation is changing though!
Recent studies have shown that waiting until 48 hours after birth preserves the body temperature and moisture of the babyâs skin. Most hospitals will give babies their first bath near the 24-hour mark â so, if you want to wait a little longer, donât be afraid to speak up and let the staff know!
Delaying that first bath may also benefit breastfeeding as well, because baby and mother may have more skin-to-skin time before the first bath is given. The natural smells between the mother and baby are also preserved, encouraging the baby to latch.
Depending on how long you and your baby stay at the hospital, their first bath may be there or at home. If you give your baby their first bath at home, all they will need is a light sponge bath.
Read Also: What Temperature Should Newborn Bath Water Be
What Is The Correct Bath Temperature For A New Born Baby
Posted a response on 8/1/20
Red Nose Education
Red Nose does not have specific information on water temperature for a babys bath.Raising Childrens Network has the following information:
Check the water temperature is 37-38°C before you put your baby in. If you dont have a thermometer, use your wrist or elbow to test the temperature it should be comfortably warm, not hot.
© 2022 Red Nose. All rights reserved. Website by Malt Creative
Red Nose Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land in which our families, volunteers, staff, Board and committee members work, live and visit. We pay our respects to the Elders of those many nations from past and present, recognising their continuing connection to land, waters and community.
Red Nose respects the knowledge and expertise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with their strong culture and traditions whose hands have touched many babies birthed and children reared on this land, and acknowledges their experience of loss in many forms.
Babys First Bath: When Should It Happen
If you give birth in a hospital, nurses will probably bathe your baby within a few hours of delivery. However, the World Health Organization recommends waiting 24 hours for your newborn’s first bath. WHO claims this delay regulates blood sugar and body temperature, promotes bonding, improves breastfeeding success, and keeps Baby’s skin from drying out.
Your baby won’t be ready for the infant tub until the umbilical cord stump falls off . This usually takes about two weeks or longer. In the meantime, you’ll be giving your newborn a sponge bath.
Read Also: What Are The Best Diapers For Newborns
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.
When Baby Can Have First Bath
After babies are born, they are covered with vernix. And while the substance is not the best to look at, it does help to keep babies’ skin moisturized. This is why many mothers ask for it to be massaged in versus wiped off after birth.
At some point, however, the vernix and other substances covering the babies’ bodies do need to be washed off. And because of this, babies will have their first bath at the hospital approximately 24 hours after birth.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it used to be that babies would receive a bath within hours of being born. But over the years, per the publication, it was determined that babies were more prone to hypothermia, skin drying out, and less success with breastfeeding when bathing occurred within a few hours of birth. Therefore, the decision was made to delay bathing for the first time. And there was nothing but benefits for babies and their mothers as a result.
Recommended Reading: What To Give A Newborn For A Cold
Bathing Your Baby Safely
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day, but if they really enjoy it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
It’s best not to bathe your baby straight after a feed or when they’re hungry or tired. Make sure the room you’re bathing them in is warm.
Have everything you need at hand: a baby bath or clean washing-up bowl filled with warm water, 2 towels, a clean nappy, clean clothes and cotton wool.
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.
Also Check: How To Interact With Newborn
Check The Water Temperature
Babies have incredibly sensitive skin. They can be too cold or too hot in an instant. Keep their water temperature between 98.6â to 99.5â to protect them from getting a chill or from burning, and test it on the inside of your wrist first.
An easy way to check their bathwaterâand the most effectiveâis with a bath thermometer. If you do not have a bath thermometer, you can always use your elbow or wrist to check and ensure it is not too hot or too cold. The water should feel warm to these areas and not hot.