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.
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.
When Will Your Baby Be Ready For His First Tub Bath
After your babyâs umbilical cord stump falls off, you can transition from sponge baths to actual baths in a sink or a baby bathtub.
His first bath in a tub should be gentle and quick however, you might need to go back to sponge baths if your baby fusses a lot and simply doesnât like this new activity.
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Washing And Bathing Your Baby
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day. You may prefer to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom instead. This is often called “topping and tailing”.
Choose a time when your baby is awake and content. Make sure the room is warm. Get everything ready beforehand. You’ll need a bowl of warm water, a towel, cotton wool, a fresh nappy and, if necessary, clean clothes.
What Do I Need For A Tub Bath
Nonslip mat or pad
Bath thermometer . These often have “safe” bath temperature ranges marked on them.
When bathing your baby in a tub:
Clear the counter or table top of breakable objects and electrical appliances to prevent injury.
Fill the tub with warm water, making sure the water is warm, not hot. Always test the water before placing your baby into the tub. Some parents feel most comfortable using a baby bath thermometer to confirm the correct temperature of the water.
Follow the same general bathing instructions for a sponge bath.
NEVER take your hands off your baby, or walk away, even for a moment.
Be sure to clean the bathtub after each use.
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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.
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.
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When Should Baby’s First Bath Be And When Should You Bathe Your Newborn
Wondering whats a good time to give your newborn a bath and when baby’s first bath should be? The scheduling of this event is entirely up to you as long as you pick a moment when you wont be interrupted or tempted to hurry through the bath. You should probably plan for baby’s first bath within a week after birth. Just avoid bathing your newborn right after a feeding or when she’s overtired.
Babies tend to be more alert in the morning, which is appealing to some, though others may slate it in the early evening as part of her goodnight activities. When its time to wind down, make her bathtime part of a relaxing bedtime routine that also includes a final bottle or nursing session, a book and a little song.
Keep in mind, however, that newborns dont need a lot of washing and at first, youll just be giving her a quick a sponge bath until her umbilical cord stump falls off, which usually happens about one to three weeks after birth.
How Frequently To Bathe Newborns
The AAP recommends bathing your infant three times a week until their first birthday. “Obviously there are unique messes that babies can find themselves in as they get older and more mobile that may require an extra bath from time to time,” says Dr. Grant. “But in general, this rule is sufficient as long as the diaper area is cleaned appropriately at each diaper change.”
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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.
Risk Factors To Consider When Bathing Your Baby
You have to be extra cautious to bathe a baby. As a father, I always remind myself to check the water temperature before I put my baby into the water, and remember that most adults prefer temperatures that are a little hot for babies. It helps to have a baby bathtub with a temperature indicator which changes in color when the temperature is too hot or not warm enough.
Never leave a baby unattended. Ask someone in the house to replace you if you have to leave your baby. Stay with you baby if you are the only adult in the home even when all hell breaks loose outside. According to CPSC, From 2004-2006, nearly 100 children younger than 5 years of age drowned each year in bathtubs. I think most of these cases are preventable if their parents keep an eye on their children.
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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.
Drying And Dressing Your Newborn After A Bath: Steps
Heres how to take your newborn out of the bath, ready for drying and dressing:
Bathing your baby takes practice, so try to relax and take your time. You might like to start by bathing your baby when someone else is around to help. If youre worried about losing your grip on your baby, you can make the bath less slippery by lining it with a clean cloth nappy or towel.
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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.
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.
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Wash Your Baby’s Face
Wash your baby’s face before you take off any of their clothing because some babies freak out when they’re naked and cold. Dampen a cotton ball or a washcloth, and wipe their eyelids from the inside corner out. Use one cotton ball for each eye. With another damp cotton ball, clean around their nose. You don’t need to use soap on their face. Always keep one hand on Baby when dipping the washcloth in the sink, and don’t soak it completely in order to minimize drips.
Can You Bathe Your Baby While The Umbilical Cord Stump Is Still Attached
During your babyâs first few weeks, while the umbilical cord stump is still attached, you should only give sponge baths.
A sponge bath is as simple as wrapping your baby in a towel, and wiping her with a damp washcloth and soapy water. Youâll want to do this on a comfortable surface such as a changing table. Keep your baby wrapped in the towel, bathing one part at a time.
The umbilical cord stump typically falls off in a few weeks. If it stays on longer than that, you might want to check with your babyâs healthcare provider.
Youâll want the umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off on its own, which is why only sponge baths are recommended until that time.
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