How To Bathe A Newborn In 10 Simple Steps
At first, bathing your newborn might seem like a big ordeal. After a few weeks, however, giving your baby a bath will be as easy as changing their diaper.
We mentioned this earlier in the article, but its worth repeating: until your babys umbilical cord stump falls off, stick to sponge baths. The steps below are instructions for bathing your newborn once their umbilical cord is gone.
Heres how to bathe a newborn in 10 easy steps!
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.
Your Baby’s First Bath
Your midwife or public health nurse will show you how to bathe your baby for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to see it done once or twice before you try.
You can also give your baby a ‘top and tail’ clean instead of a bath. When you are more confident, you can wash your baby in the main bath or in the sink, or in their own small baby bath. You could also have them in the bath with you.
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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.
When To Begin Bathing Your Newborn
Many new moms arent sure when to begin bathing their newborns. The World Health Organization recommends waiting at least 24 hours after your babys birth to give them their first bath. There are several reasons for this.
First and foremost, your baby has just left the comfort of your tummy and will get cold easily. Youll want to give your loved one some time to adjust to life outside the womb.
Experts believe that 24 to 48 hours is plenty of time to allow your infant to regulate their body temperature. The risk of hypothermia drops considerably after the 24-hour mark.
Second, your newborn will likely have a coat of vernix on their skin when you bring them home from the hospital. Vernix shouldnt be washed off intentionally, as it provides several important benefits to your baby.
For instance, vernix has antibacterial properties and keeps your baby healthy. It also protects their delicate skin as they become accustomed to dry air. Its best to let the vernix fall off your little ones body naturally, which will happen in the first week or two of life.
To sum up, its safe to begin bathing your newborn 24 hours after birth. Or if you prefer, you can wait 48 hours. Whatever you choose, just be sure to start with sponge baths.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends waiting for your newborns umbilical cord stump to fall off before submerging them in water. This normally happens sometime between one and three weeks after birth.
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Lather And Rinse Carefully
You may choose to use an ultra-soft washcloth, or you can simply use your hands. If you prefer to use your hands, remove any rings, bracelets, or watches youre wearing.
After lathering, use a small plastic cup to rinse your baby off. Just scoop up a cup-full of water and gently pour it over a soapy area of your babys body. Be careful so that no soapy water gets in your loved ones eyes or nose!
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.
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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.”
S On How To Bathe A Newborn
The first newborn bath can be a little daunting. Once you get the hang of it, though, you’ll probably find it to be relatively easy and supremely cute.
Here’s how to bathe a newborn.
1. Gather all your baby bath essentials, including a washcloth, towel, soap, and potentially a couple of toys.
2. Fill the tub with about three inches of warm water, making sure it’s no warmer than 120 °F.
3. After undressing your infant, carefully lower them into the water, feet first, while holding them close and cradling their head with one arm. Depending on the shape of the tub and how old your infant is, you may need to continue supporting their head while bathing them.
4. Dip a washcloth into the water and gently run it over their face, neck and body, rinsing with clean water as needed.
5. You don’t necessarily need soap the first month or two the warm water should be enough to clean their body and eliminate germs. However, you can use a small drizzle of mild shampoo or bath wash on their scalp, bottom and between skin creases if necessary.
6. Carefully rinse the shampoo with a wet cloth or a small cup, avoiding the eye area.
7. When you’re finished, lift your infant out of the tub while supporting their head.
8. Place your baby on a clean towel, either on the changing table or on the floor to prevent falls.
9. Wrap your baby in the towel and gently pat them dry, paying attention to crevices and creases.
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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.
Monitor Your Baby Closely
Keep a close eye on your little one and make sure theyre enjoying bath time! Some newborns take to the water naturally and have a blast in the tub. On the other hand, some infants need time to get used to the feeling of being in water and being bathed.
Whatever the case may be, just monitor your baby closely. If theyre having fun, let them play in the tub for a while! If they seem uncomfortable, try to get through bathtime quickly.
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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.
When To Bathe A Newborn For The First Time
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics , newborn babies should get their first bath about 24 hours after birth. The delay might decrease the risk of hypothermia and hypoglycemia, contribute to breastfeeding success, and moisturize the skin. Stick with sponge baths until after their umbilical cord stump falls offusually within a couple weeks of birth. You must also rely on sponge baths until circumcision incisions heal.
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Separate Your Babys Clothes
You want to keep your babys whites bright. So the first step in washing baby clothes by hand is making sure youve split your laundry into light and dark colours.
This is to avoid dye from your babys colourful clothes staining their white babygrows as you hand wash them.
And dont be tempted to tip everything into the sink or bucket before adding water and detergent. Leave the clothes on the side for now.
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.
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Bathtub For Babies Who Can Pull Up And Sit Up
Then, once baby could sit up from the angel care bath support we did an inflatable bathtub with all of my kids. The sides are soft so if they fall over they wont hurt their heads. I start with this one with this support in the lap and then progress into this or this one.
I just found this neat seat that was not available with my other two kids. Im trying it out and I will update this post soon!
STORE THESE ITEMS INSIDE BABY BATHTUB IF YOU BATHE BABY IN THE KITCHEN SINK. OTHERWISE, KEEP THESE ITEMS IN A LITTLE BASKET IN THE BATHROOM TO BRING OUT AT BATHTIME EVERY DAY.
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.
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