Before Your Babys First Bath
While most parents are eager to give their babies the experience of their very first bath, it is important to ensure that your baby is truly ready. When you first bring your newborn home from the hospital, the stump of their umbilical cord must be kept clean and dry. While it is still attached, sponge baths are the best option for your baby.
Typically, after about 1 to 3 weeks, the umbilical cord stump will dry up and fall off. It is important to continue caring for the umbilical cord until the area completely heals. The ideal way to do this is to moisten one end of a cotton swab with water, gently clean around the base of the umbilical cord stump, and dry with the other side of the cotton swab.
Although moisture and drops of blood around the belly button is normal during this period of time, keeping the area clean and dry will help fight infection and prevent delayed healing. Check out our blog post on bathing a baby with an umbilical cord for more information.
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.
Gently Pat Your Newborn Dry
Once youve finished bathing your newborn, you can remove them from the bathtub and set them on a clean, soft towel. Use the towel to gently pat them dry, going in the same order that you washed their body.
Your baby might feel a little cold when first coming out of the bath, so it helps to dry them off quickly.
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How Long After Birth Should I Wait To Bathe My Baby
Dr. Dina Kulik answers the question that pretty much every new mom is faced with: When should I give my baby her first bath?
Depending on where you give birth, your baby may be offered a bath before you go home. This old-school practice is becoming less common, because the World Health Organization suggests waiting at least 24 hours after birth to give the first bath in order to keep the baby warm. Otherwise, the timing is up to personal preference.
Why you should delay baby’s first bath I didnt bathe my children for a couple of days after birth because some of the substance that coats newborns skin has immune properties that may help babies stay healthy. This waxy coating is a natural cleanser and moisturizer, and it protects against infection that could enter through the skin. It also helps regulate the babys temperature.
Babies have sensitive skin, so use gentle, hypoallergenic soap and avoid washing them too frequently, as that can lead to irritation and dry skin. Bathing twice a week is reasonableyoull be cleaning the diaper area all the time anyway.
Tips For Sponge Bathing Your Baby
Keep your baby covered in a warm towel while youre bathing them. Only uncover the parts of your babys body that youre washing, keeping the rest of their body warm and wrapped up in the towel.
Dont forget to wash hard-to-see areas, like behind your babys ears, under their arms, around their neck, and the genital area. And if your baby has sweet little rolls on their legs and arms, move their skin to wash in-between the creases.
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How Do You Bathe A Newborn After Circumcision
A sponge bath is the best method for absorbing bubbles. When an infant comes in, sponges need to be left wet only untilamniotic cord and circumcision heal themselves, allowing these areas to remain free from infection. Warm water should be filled into a small basin. If you test the water on your wrist, the water will feel warm rather than hot.
More Baby Bath Time Tips
Give your baby a massage. Just after a bath is a great time for a soothing baby massage. This may help your child relax and sleep. Donât use any massage oil or lotion until your baby is at least 1 month old.
Have a bath with your baby. If your baby finds bath time scary, having a bath together might help. Check the bath water temperature to make sure it isnât too hot, and preferably get someone to help by holding your newborn while you get in and out of the bath yourself.
Talk or sing to your baby. The sound of your calming voice can help reassure and relax your little one during bath time.
Use bath time to treat cradle cap or other skin conditions. If your baby has cradle cap, it might help to wash his or her hair with a baby shampoo and use a soft brush to gently loosen any flakes of skin. If your baby is prone to dry skin or eczema, after a bath is a good time to apply a gentle moisturising cream to the affected areas.
Never leave your baby alone in the water. Not even for a moment. If you have to turn away or leave the room urgently, lift your baby out of the bath and take him or her with you, wrapped in a towel to keep him or her warm.
Donât add anything to the water. Thereâs no need to use any soap or add any cleansers or bubble bath for babies. Experts advise washing your babyâs skin in nothing but plain water for the first month.
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Have All Of Your Supplies Handy
First things first: make sure to have all of the supplies we listed above easily available. Choose a stable place to set out all of the items. Some parents like to use a bathroom countertop, or even just the bathtub itself.
Other folks prefer to use a changing table or a kitchen countertop. Whatever surface you choose, just make sure that its safe and stable.
Washing Baby During A Sponge Bath
Start with baby’s face — and wash their eyes first.
- Dip a clean cotton ball in the water bowl .
- Gently use the cotton ball to wipe baby’s eye from the inner corner out.
- Then repeat the process with a different clean cotton ball, to wash the other eye.
Gently wash around their mouth, and the rest of their face, next.
- Use a wet washcloth for this.
- Start by gently washing around their mouth with water only .
- Then, you can wash the rest of their face with a tiny bit of soap — or just use water, that’s up to you.
- Pay special attention to the chin areas, as lots of drool usually builds up.
- Also pay special attention to the areas behind the ears, as spit-up can easily collect there.
- Gently wash the scalp and neck areas with the washcloth and a bit of soap.
- If baby has hair, use a little bit of tear-free baby shampoo on their hair and scalp.
- Gently massage it in , then rinse.
Wash the rest of baby’s body in any order .
- Wash the hands, arms, feet, legs, back, and torso with water and a bit of soap.
- Uncover each part as you wash, then cover it back up as you finish.
- Use gentle strokes — don’t scrub hard.
- Pay special attention to skin creases and folds, including under the arms.
- Also be sure to gently wash in between the fingers and toes.
- Carefully wash the area around the cord stump.
- You can clean off crustiness in this area, but be gentle.
Finally, gently wash the private area.
Gently Place Your Newborn In The Bath
With one hand supporting the back of your babys head and the other under their bum, gently lower your baby into the bathtub. Dont let them dive in head first! Let your little one dip their toes in first.
Expert tip: It may also be helpful to place a towel at the bottom of the bathtub, which makes it feel softer and prevents your baby from sliding around too much.
Bathing Your Baby In The Sink
Giving your baby a bath in the kitchen sink is another option. For this type of bath, you would use a sink insert instead of a traditional baby tub that you place in your bathtub.
Sink inserts are recommended for infants up to six months of age and sit inside your sink to give your baby a nice cushion against the hard, cold sides. This way, your newborn is comfortable for their bath and can relax!
These are also a great option if youre running low on space or are traveling. Whats more, giving your baby a bath in the sink is better for your back! You can stand up while giving your baby a bath, instead of having to lean over the bathtub.
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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When Is The Best Time Of Day To Bathe Your Newborn
There is no one perfect time to give your baby a bath â itâs your decision. Choose a time when youâre least likely to be interrupted and you arenât in a hurry.As a general rule, youâll find bathing your newborn is usually easiest when he or she is wide awake and content.Itâs best not to bathe your newborn baby when he or she is tired or hungry. If you plan to give your baby a bath after feeding, wait a while to give your childâs tummy a chance to settle.When your infantâs a little older , you might like to schedule bath times for the evening as part of his or her bedtime routine.
How Often Do Babies Need Baths
In your babys first year, they may only need about three baths a week. This is usually frequent enough if you wash the diaper area thoroughly every time you change your baby.
Bathing once a day or every other day is also OK, but any more frequently than that could dry out your babys skin. Thats especially the case if you use soap or other baby wash.
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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.
Getting Ready For A Baby Tub Bath
Select a plastic baby tub that meets current safety standards.
- It should have a sloped design and textured surfaces, designed to keep baby from slipping.
- An included sling or cushion, that can keep baby from sliding, may also help.
Keep the bathroom at a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so baby won’t lose body heat too quickly.
- You can also have a warm washcloth ready to help keep baby’s exposed tummy warm while in the bath.
Before placing baby in the tub, fill the baby tub with about 2 inches of warm water. This should be just enough to cover the bottom of their body.
- Never fill the tub with baby inside!
The water should be comfortably warm — not hot, so it doesn’t burn baby
- Make sure the water isn’t too hot by testing it with your elbow or the inside of your wrist.
Gather all your supplies, and set them up within arm’s reach.
- You’ll need the same supplies you used for the sponge bath, minus the blanket and extra towel.
- Grab a cup to rinse off baby, instead of the bowl.
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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 Babys First Bath
It used to be the norm at hospitals to whisk newborns away right after birth for a bath. Not anymore. Recommendations have shifted in favor of waiting at least a few hours, if not longer, for babys first bath .
Research indicates that there may be significant physical and emotional benefits to delaying that initial newborn bath. Since young babies are especially sensitive to cold, it can decrease cold stress, says Katherine Williamson, MD, a pediatrician at Childrens Hospital of Orange County in Orange, California. Cold-induced stress can cause the body to work to keep itself warm, which can cause blood sugar levels to drop, she explains, citing studies that show delaying babys first bath decreases rates of hypothermia and hypoglycemia. Plus, babies are born with a waxy, cheese-like coating on their skin, called the vernix, which you dont want to wash off, Williamson says, since it helps retain heat and can serve as an additional barrier to infections. In addition, a 2013 study found that delaying babys first bath in the hospital until at least 12 hours after birth led to an increased breastfeeding success rate, since mom can nurse more quickly and have more time for skin-to-skin bonding, Williamson adds.
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