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.
When Should Babies Have Their First Bath
In fact, your newborn baby will only really need a bath two or three times a week at first a sponge bath, until his umbilical cord stump heals , then a baby tub bath, and eventually a tub bath, when baby can sit up on his own and outgrows the infant tub).
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All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
FDA Acknowledges Qualified Health Claim Linking Early Peanut Introduction and Reduced Risk of Developing Peanut Allergy in 2017:
For most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age. FDA has determined, however, that the evidence supporting this claim is limited to one study.
If your infant has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, check with your infants healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.
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Should You Use Lotion After Bathing A Newborn
Take a peek in any baby store, and youll see two items always side-by-side: baby soap and baby lotion. Its understandable to think you need to apply a moisturizer daily, but babies dont need lotion after baths. In fact, many pediatricians dont recommend it. Too much moisturizer on a newborns skin can interfere with the skin barrier function.
Give Your Baby Sponge Baths
How often should you bathe a newborn baby. 2 Of course even that is not a hard and fast rule. A 2019 study including nearly 1000 babies found that waiting at least 12 hours after birth may promote breastfeeding. The rest of the time simple sponging should do the trick.
Make sure you wash the babys hair and scalp. You are free to bathe your newborn two or three times a week after the umbilical cord stump has. Some important tips to bathe your newborn.
You should bathe your baby only once or twice a week. This is often called topping and tailing. Bathing your baby too much can dry out his or her skin.
Bathing more than thrice a week may dry the babys skin and cause discomfort. The babys first bath should always be a sponge bath since the umbilical cord stump would still be intact. Babys first bath.
How often to bathe babies can sometimes. Theres no need to give your newborn a bath every day. Adequate frequency of bathing is important to keep the newborns skin healthy and prevent any discomfort.
You may then bathe your baby the conventional way in a bathtub. If youre quick and thorough with diaper changes and burp cloths youre already cleaning the parts that need attention the face neck and diaper area. Bathing the baby 3-4 times a week is sufficient.
It is best to bathe the baby no more than three times a week for the first year 1. AAP recommends bathing your baby no more than three days per week. Using a dye-free soap is one of the wise decision to take I think.
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Best Time Of Day For A Bath
Similar to the question of how often to bathe your baby, what time of day to bathe your baby is really up to you!
Many families adopt the bath before bed routine, as baths can help your child relax before bedtime, and can become part of a routine that signals to them that sleep is coming.
Evening is also when parents usually have the time to dedicate to bathing their baby. However, if you prefer bathing your baby in the morning or during the day, thats perfectly OK.
When considering what time of day to bathe your baby, also consider when you are going to be most alert. Bathing babies, and especially newborns, takes good hand-eye coordination, patience, and must involve vigilance on the part of the parent.
If you think you will be distracted with other responsibilities, or with your other children, choose another time to bathe your baby.
How To Sponge Bathe A Newborn
For the first week or so after birth, youll want to give baby a quick, gentle sponge bath. Heres how.
Step 1: Gather supplies. Use our handy baby bath supplies checklist to make sure youve got everything you need. At a minimum, youll want a dry towel, clean diaper, washcloths and baby soap at the ready. Have all your supplies within arms reach so you dont have to step away, Smith advises. Never leave a baby alone in the bath, even for a second.
Step 2: Pick a place. Decide where youll be giving baby that newborn bath. While not strictly necessary, baby bathtubs are convenient. They can be placed in the sink or tub, and some have a hammock-style sling that supports babys head. Choose a spot thats fairly warm and where its comfortable for you to kneel or stand while keeping a hand on baby at all times.
Step 3: Wash small sections at a time. After removing her clothes and diaper and placing her in the baby bathtub , youll want to cover baby with another towel, lifting only a small area at a time and patting dry as you go. Using a washcloth dipped in warm water, gently wipe baby all over, paying special attention to her diaper area and any creases and rolls.
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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.
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.
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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.
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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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.
How To Keep Infants Clean Between Two Baths
Just because you dont keep bathing your baby every day, it does not mean that you dont need to make sure that your baby is clean. It is important to make sure that certain areas of your babys body remain clean.
As babies tend to dribble and drool a lot, you need to always ensure to wipe down their faces. Make sure that you gently lift the chin and clean under the neck as milk and drool can slide down and cause rashes if not cleaned.
In the same way, you should be sure to clean your babys genital areas frequently. If your little boy is not circumcised, you will need to gently pull back the foreskin and clean around the area. This way you will not have any build-up of urine. If you are unsure how to do this, be sure to ask the nurse at the hospital.
For girls, there are folds around the vagina that need a good cleaning every day as well. Your little one will need to have their bottom cleaned well.
Always ensure to use lotion to moisturize the skin that has been cleaned. This will make sure that the sensitive baby skin does not get dry.
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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.
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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Can I Give My Baby A Bath Too Soon After Birth
Theres nothing like mommys warm, bare skin to give comfort to a newborn baby and importantly, help regulate the little ones temperature soon after birth. However, giving baby a bath too soon can cause hypothermia, and if baby gets too cold, this may result in his blood sugar dropping and other issues.
Benefits Last Beyond The Hospital
Exclusive breastfeeding provides a benefit for the baby that extends beyond the first hours or days of life, she adds. Research has shown that it can benefit the health of both mother and child for years to come.
Now, thanks to this research, all Cleveland Clinic hospitals are moving to adopt this new delayed bath practice. DiCioccio says she hopes that this research will encourage additional nursing research and contribute to the newborn bath guidelines being changed in the future for other hospitals.
Complete results of the study can be found found in the Journal for Obstetrics, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing.
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