Bathing a New Baby
The first bath can be a little scary – your precious newborn in water is slippery, your confidence as a parent is a little shaky, and you’re probably very tired and sore!!
We’ve compiled some of our favourite tips for getting started – be sure to comment below about anything that helped you!!
Have everything ready before you undress your baby. You will need:
- a small towel
- a change pad/large folded towel
- change of clothes
- You may also want a thermometer, any creams and soaps, a large wrap or cloth nappy.
You can use the kitchen sink instead of a baby bath. You can also shower your baby, but you will need two sets of hands.
Remember that you cannot leave your baby in the bath alone (even when they can sit) or laying on the change table (even if they cant roll yet). So just ignore the ringing phone or anything else, and focus on your baby.
Bathing baby is a really neat activity for Dads and babies to bond, and is something your partner can help you with.
The traditional and safe temperature is lukewarm 37 deg. However this can be too cold and unpleasant for some babies – consider a warmer bath (closer to the temperature you would shower at, 40 deg). Always test the water with your elbow or wrist, or a Bath Thermometer to make sure it is safe.
Babies don’t get very dirty so there is no need for harsh soaps or lotions on their precious skin. Just use water and a soft cloth! When you are ready to use soap, consider something organic and gentle, like Organic Shampoo andOrganic Body Wash.
Position your hand and fingers into an ‘L’ shape (if you are left handed, you may use your right hand to make a backwards L!). Fit your baby into this L so that her head and neck is supported by your hand and wrist, and your thumb scoops under her armpit to hold her in place.
Gently wash all over, starting with her head. Continue speaking to baby in a soft and soothing voice. Make sure you wash under their fat rolls, and try to open their clenched fist to wash their fingers and palms. There is no need to be intrusive on the genital area, just a gentle swipe is fine. Scoop her out of the bath and into a cuddly towel.
Always wash eyes separately – you don’t even have to do this in the bath. To wash baby’s eyes, use a clean cloth to wipe gently from the inside to the outside of the eye in one smooth stroke. Repeat with a clean part of the cloth for the other eye. If your babes eyes are gunky, use saline solution and cotton balls – throw the cotton ball away after each sweep. A little breastmilk in each eye can help.
If your precious bundle is blessed with gorgeous little rolls, make sure they are very dry after the bath, use baby powder or pure cornflour. Moisturise any dry skin with Baby Moisturiser.
For younger babes, or winter babies, wash their hair and face before putting them into the bath.
There is no need to wash your baby every day. You can even just sponge bath. Keep it easy for you! Many parents use the bath as a part of the evening routine which can help settle babe for the night, and Dad’s enjoy the bonding time.
Baby Doesn’t Enjoy Bath
We hear from lots of friends who report that their baby doesn’t enjoy a bath. We have found great success with these two tips. The first is to make the water a little warmer – the same temperature as we shower in. The second tip is to wrap baby to put her into the bath. Use a clean dry cloth nappy or light wrap, and when baby has been undressed, wrap her. Lay her into the bath and when she is settled, unwrap her (leave the wrap in the bath when you get her out). We found this stops the startle reflex and eased her into the sensation.
Ask the nurses in the hospital to help you with the first bath, it really helps get your confidence up and if you’re tired you can just watch!
Feel free to share your tips on the comments section below