Delaying Babys First Bath: 8 Reasons Why Doctors Recommend Waiting Before Giving A Newborn A Bath
My newborn daughter was screaming during her first bath as I watched helplessly from my bed. She was only about an hour old. I was trying to breastfeed her when the nurse took her from my arms, telling me that the baby had to be bathed before I was transferred to a different room. We dont do it this way anymore it is now standard protocol at many hospitals to wait 8-24 hours to give a newborn his or her first bath, and up to 48 hours if the baby was delivered by cesarian section. Delayed newborn bathing is consistent with World Health Organization recommendations and based on medical research. As a hospital-based pediatrician, I know that delayed bathing is the safest medical choice for babies. As a mom, it just seems right.
How Do You Bathe A Newborn After Circumcision
A sponge bath is a wonderful way to relax. As soon as the infant cord does not fall away and circumcision heals , sponge bath must be used. This is done not only to keep all the areas free from infection, but also so that the baby is ready to go home. Place warm water in a small basin. When you test the water on your wrist, the temperature shouldnt be too high.
Best Temperature For A Bath
You can experiment to see what temperature your baby likes their bath best. In general, lukewarm temperatures are ideal. You dont want the bath to be too cold, but you certainly dont want it too hot.
Some parents err on the side of heating the bath up too much, and risk scalding their babies. The AAP recommends that your babys bath be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Its helpful to fill the baby tub or sink with a few inches of water before immersing your baby in it. Test the water first to see if it is an appropriate temperature for your baby.
You May Like: How Often To Bathe A Newborn Baby
How Do You Give A Newborn A Bath
Step 1: Fill the tub with a few inches of warm water. Aim for about 2 to 3 inches of water, to keep baby safe. Making sure to support babys head at all times, gently lower your little one into the water. The bath temperature for a newborn should be between 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, never hotter than 120 degrees.
How To Give A Baby A Tub Bath
After the sponge bath stage, the real fun begins. First, choose the right tub thats safe and easy to use. There are many types of baby tubs on the market, or you can simply use the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink is easy to use because it is the right height. If using the kitchen sink, observe the following safety tips:
- Purchase an insert-type plastic or rubber tub that fits into your sink, or line the bottom of the sink with a folded towel or sponge mat to keep your baby from slipping.
- If you have a movable faucet, be sure to turn it away from your baby.
Before the water touches your baby, make sure it is comfortably warm but not too hot. Tie a towel around your neck to keep yourself dry during the bath, and in case your baby needs to be picked up quickly and cuddled. Most newborns do not eagerly await their bath. Singing a few songs, making eye-to-eye contact, and gently massaging your baby during the bath often relaxes the reluctant bather.
Don’t Miss: What Is A Heart Murmur In Newborns
After The Bath In The Baby Tub
After rinsing, immediately wrap baby in the towel, and pat baby dry. This way, baby won’t lose too much body heat.
- Don’t miss the creases and folds of skin!
- Only apply moisturizer after the bath if baby has eczema, or if baby’s doctor recommends it for another reason.
Dress baby in a clean diaper and clean clothes.
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.
Also Check: How To Avoid Gas In Newborns
How Hot Should The Water Be
The water temperature to bathe your baby should be warm, never hot. The ideal temperature is 98.6°F . You can use a bath thermometer to monitor the temperature, or check the water with your wrist or elbow to confirm its warm and not hot.
Also, check different sides of the tub or baby bath to confirm there are no hot spots. If using a tub or basin, turn on the cold water first and then the hot water to fill it.
If you live in a house, you can also adjust the water heater to ensure it doesnt go above 120°F , which can badly scald your babys skin. You likely cant adjust the water heater if you live in an apartment complex or condo.
When Should You First Bathe A New Born Baby
Your baby shouldnt be given a bath straight after theyre born as they need to stay warm. But dont worry, the nurses will have given them a good clean after birth.
While you can give your little one a bath as soon as a few hours after theyre born, many parents prefer to give them a while to get used to their new surroundings, so will just give them a top and tail for the first few days. This involves just making sure your babys neck, face and hands are clean and you can do it using moist cotton wool pads.
Many parents will wait until they feel a little more confident lifting and handling their baby, so will wait a week or so before they put them in a bath, but its safe to do so as soon as you feel comfortable.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Newborn Diaper Rash
Giving A Newborn Baby A Sponge Bath
Newborn babies have a scab-like stump on their belly button where the umbilical cord was attached before birth. The stump lasts for around a week or two before falling off. Until it does fall off, you can’t give your baby a regular bath because of the risk of infection. Experts recommend giving your newborn baby a sponge bath until a normal bath is safe.
Follow these steps to give your newborn baby a sponge bath:
Vernix Is A Natural Moisturiser That Protects Your Baby From Infection
Delayed newborn bathing is consistent with world health organization recommendations and based on medical research. Don’t use any massage oil or lotion until your baby is at least 1 month old. If your baby finds bath time scary, having a bath together might help. Before you give a baby a bath, gather all of your supplies, like a towel, a pitcher, soap, and a clean diaper. Delayed newborn bathing is consistent with world health organization recommendations and based on medical research. How to bathe a baby.
When should i give my baby a bath? . Delayed newborn bathing is consistent with world health organization recommendations and based on medical research.
Never leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a second. Always rub the cream or oil in your hands before making contact with your baby to warm both your hands and the cream. Lots of first time parents feel a bit nervous about the best way to bathe their baby without.
You will also need a cup to use to rinse him and a washcloth. Vernix is a natural moisturiser that protects your baby from infection. Water basin to hold the water for the bed bath.
Always rub the cream or oil in your hands before making contact with your baby to warm both your hands and the cream. Have a bath with your baby. Midwife miriam maldonado shows new parents how to give their newborn a sponge bath.
This is the video of nurse giving our cute newborn son h. . You’ll clean your baby without putting her in the water.
You May Like: How Do I Add My Newborn To My Medicaid
Where To Bath Your Newborn
You can give your newborn a bath in a small plastic bath or even in the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink might be easiest in the first few weeks. A plastic baby bath is probably easier once your baby gets bigger.
You can bath your baby in any room thats warm, safe and clean it doesnt have to be a bathroom.
You can also shower with your baby. Keep your babys face away from the pouring water and make sure to use warm, not hot, water.
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.
Read Also: How Long Can You Let A Newborn Sleep
Best Kind Of Soap For Babies
Newborns dont need a ton of soap, and baby shampoo isnt strictly necessary.
Doctors recommend using the most mild soap you can find, as baby skin tends to be very sensitive. Unscented soaps are usually your best bet, and you can stay away from antibacterial soap or soap with many additives.
Read labels: If the soap has a long list of ingredients, its probably best to try something simpler. After bathing your baby, it can be helpful to follow up with some baby-friendly moisturizer, especially if your baby tends to have dry skin.
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.
Recommended Reading: How Much Milk Can A Newborn Drink
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.
Scrubbing The Baby Too Hard
If youre used to only washing yourself, you might momentarily forget that baby skin requires an extra sensitive touch. When you are washing the baby or massaging baby after bath, you need not apply much pressure. Using a special baby washcloth, which is thinner and softer than normal ones, is preferable. They also come in really cute patterns and colors.
There is nothing wrong with using just a bar of soap, your hands, and a cup to rinse baby off with. Baby bathing is not as complicated and expensive as some make it out to be. You dont have to buy a special rinsing cup or anything like that if you dont want to.
The only time you might need to gently scrub the baby is if they start to get cradle cap, which is the formation of dry, crusty skin. It is best to consult with a dermatologist with any baby skin issue before you try to take matters into your own hands.
Don’t Miss: How Warm Bath Water Newborn
Bathing Your Newborn In A Bath
Youâll still want to give your baby girl or boy a proper bath every few days or so. If you feel a bit nervous about giving your newborn his or her first bath, donât worry. Bathing a slippery, squirming newborn baby can take some practice, but youâll soon get the hang of it.Bath time is also a great time for your partner, a grandparent or other close relative to lend a hand. Delegating bath duties isnât just a fantastic bonding opportunity for the person doing the bathing, it can be an opportunity for Mum to grab a little extra âme timeâ â especially during the whirlwind first few weeks with your newborn.When the time comes, itâs important to be prepared, so make sure the room is warm enough and get everything ready before you start giving your baby a bath:
Your babyâs bath â this can be a special baby bath or you could use a clean washing-up bowl. A smaller baby bath might help your child feel more secure.