Bathing your baby is an important part of keeping him or her happy and healthy. It might seem scary at first, but with the right preparation and a little practice, you’ll have this routine down.
Until his or her umbilical cord falls off, it’s best to give Baby sponge baths.
- Gather everything you need. Once you start, you can’t leave Baby alone, even for a second:
-bowl or cup
-change of clothes
- Choose a flat surface that’s not too cold, and one where you can keep a hand on Baby at all times. You can lay a towel down so it’s warmer and more comfortable for him.
- After Baby is undressed, lie her down and begin gently wiping her with a warm washcloth. If you would like, you can use a little bit of baby soap on her body.
- If your baby is unhappy, you can lay a towel over him and only expose each section at a time. This will help him feel warm and more secure.
Once the umbilical cord falls off, you can start giving Baby real baths!
- Again, gather all of your supplies first. Again, once you start, you can’t leave Baby alone, even for a second. For a real bath, you’ll need the same supplies as a sponge bath. A small baby bathtub/sling-type contraption can also be useful. If you don’t have one, you can bathe Baby in the kitchen sink or in the regular bathtub supporting her head and neck carefully.
- Fill the tub with a few inches of warm water. Check the temperature by sticking your wrist in.
- Undress Baby and lower him carefully into the water.
- Supporting her head and neck with one hand, work up a light lather into the warm washcloth and gently wipe down Baby.
- Pay special attention to places that are more likely to get dirty, like the creases under Baby’s neck.
- If you’re using soap on Baby’s scalp, cup your hand across his forehead, or gently tilt his head back so soap doesn’t get into his eyes.
- For her face, rinse out the washcloth so it’s just warm water.
- Keep testing the temperature during the bath to make sure it’s not getting too cold.
- Once Baby has been washed with soap, use cupfuls/bowlfuls of water to rinse him off.
- Carefully lift Baby out of the tub, supporting her head and neck.
- Place him into the towel and gently pat her dry, then dress her. Newborn babies generally don’t need any type of after-bath products like lotions, and baby powder is usually no longer recommended because of the dangers of inhalation.
Once Baby can sit up, you can move to using the normal large bathtub. She can also play with toys and splash around in the water — this is when bathtime starts to get fun for both of you!
A few more things to know:
- You don’t need to bathe your baby every day; three times a week or so is fine.
- If Baby urinates in the tub, it’s OK. Urine is sterile, so you can just keep going.
- If he has a bowel movement, you’ll have to drain the tub and fill it back up, but he won’t get sick as long as he doesn’t get any in his mouth.
By following these helpful tips, bathing Baby can become a fun bonding experience for both of you!
By Stella Masucci