Caution! Slippery when wet.
Bathing a newborn is one of the scariest jobs for new parents. Babies are slippery, squirmy and usually crying, which makes for a nerve-wracking experience. Rest assured, practice makes perfect and soon both baby and parents will grow to love their bath time! Before you begin bathing your baby, make sure to gather your supplies first. You will need:
- Wash cloth
- Soap and or shampoo
- Clean diaper
- Clean clothes to dress the baby in
- Tub with warm water
The Sponge Bath
If you choose to sponge bath your baby, simply start in one area and continue on to the next. Be sure to dry the baby thoroughly after completing each area.
The Tub Bath
Always be sure to cleanse the diaper area of stool before you put the baby in the tub, then wash from head to toe. Remember to hold on tight - wet babies are slippery! Do not use soap on the baby’s face and when cleansing the eyes, start at the nose and wipe toward the ear. Use a different part of the cloth with each wipe. Pay particular attention to the folds at the knees, neck and thighs, armpits and behind the ears as these areas tend to accumulate dirt. Dry each area thoroughly to prevent rashes from forming. Always try to keep the baby as warm as possible.
Always keep one hand on your baby while they are in the bath so that they don’t accidentally slip under the water. Usage of bath seats or rings is not recommended until they can sit up on their own. Never leave the baby unattended in the tub. If the phone or doorbell rings, wrap the baby in a towel and take them with you.
The bath temperature should be warm to touch but not hot, you don't want to scald the baby. Think about what would be comfortable for you to bath in. Test the water with your wrist or inner arm. If you wish to use a bath thermometer the temperature should be between 32-37.8C (90-100F). Don’t overfill the tub; you really don’t need any more than 3-5 cm of water in the bottom of the tub.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: How often should I bath my baby?
A: It depends on the age of the baby. Newborns don’t really get dirty and they get cleansed with each diaper change so there is no need to bath them daily. Two to three times a week should be enough, although it is a good idea to make sure they get a face washing and hand washing on a regular basis. As they get older and start to eat solid foods you will find that they probably need a daily bath.
Q: Should I bath my baby when they still have the umbilical cord?
A: You may wish to sponge bath your baby until the cord falls off (approx 10 days to three weeks) but if you decide that your baby needs a bath in the tub ensure that the cord is dried well following the bath.
Q: Should I wash my baby’s hair?
A: Not all babies are born with hair but if your baby has hair you need to wash it regularly. Simply apply shampoo, massage it all over the head, and then rinse well. To prevent your baby from developing cradle cap or dry scalp, ensure that the shampoo is well rinsed.