Bathing baby can seem a daunting experience for parents. Your baby is so small and precious (and slippery) and trying to juggle holding your baby in the water while cleaning her can seem a bit tricky at first.
We recommend having your midwife or the nurse at the birthing centre to give you a baby bathing demonstration before you go home with your baby to help you feel more comfortable.
Here are a few pointers for bathing baby safely:
- Firstly, fill the bath no more than half full with warm water. You can test the water is not too hot by placing your wrist or elbow in the water and adjust accordingly. The water temperature should be no warmer than body temperature or 37°C.
- Start bath time by washing baby’s head. Undress baby and wrap her in a towel so she feels safe and secure. Hold her by tucking her body under your arm in a football style hold. Her body should be lying on your forearm and your hand should be supporting her head. Hold baby’s head over the bath and using your other hand, wet a face cloth and gently wash her face and head.
- Now you can put baby in the bath to clean her body. To hold your baby, put your arm around her back and using your thumb and index finger, hold her arm closest to the armpit. Baby’s back and head should be supported against your forearm. Use your other hand to gently swish the water around baby, using a face cloth to clean her.
- In the early months you will only need to bath your baby every second day and as she starts to get older, her bath time will become part of her daily bed time routine.
- Baby’s are born with vernix on their skin which is full of natural moisturisers and soap will wash these off. If you want to you can put a drop or two of baby bath oils in the water, but oil and soaps are not necessary.
- These days you can get useful bathing aids to help support your baby (like the bath seat seen in our photo). When you are using a bath aid or not, please make sure to supervise your baby at all times when she is in the water. Never leave baby alone in the bath.
- And most importantly…Enjoy it!! Babies love bath time (some baby may take a while to warm to the idea). It’s a great time for Mums and Dads to bond with your baby with plenty of talking, eye contact, singing and splashing.