One of the most challenging things for new parents is figuring out how to bathe your newborn and keep them warm and happy at the same time. Baby bath time shouldn’t be a terrible experience for either of you, here is a guide for you to follow so that you feel more comfortable and avoid the tears.
You will learn how soon you should bathe your baby after getting home from the hospital, how often you can bathe them, what temperature to make the water, how to give a sponge bath and what baby products to use.
By the time you are done reading this article, you will be an expert at baby baths, once you know how, it’s not hard to do!
How to Give Baby a Bath
When you first bring baby home, you only need to give a sponge bath, you can’t start bathing your little one in a bathtub until his umbilical cord has fallen off, which is around ten to fourteen days according to BabyCenter.
If you have a circumcised boy you should not give him a bath until his wound has healed or you risk infection.
Never leave your baby alone in a baby bath or get distracted by your cell phone, turn all distractions off during this time and enjoy being with your baby. You want to keep them warm, safe and avoid getting water in their eyes.
Doing these things will make bathtime a lot more enjoyable for both of you!
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What Products to Use on your Baby
Here is a list of products you will need in order to give your little one a bath.
- Sponge bath cushion or towels that are thick
- Soft washcloth
- Cotton Balls
- Baby shampoo and baby soap
- Hooded bath towel
- Basin or Sink
- Cup for rinsing
Here is a list of baby bath products are best for babies delicate skin including my number one pick
- The Honest Company Shampoo & Body Wash – This is my number one pick and it’s the best for babies’ skin, all natural ingredients and made by a mom who wants only the best.
- Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel – Uses natural ingredients and won’t strip the oils from babies’ skin.
- Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo – Soap-free, Tear-free, and made for the most sensitive skin (we love all their products).
- Earth Mama Sweet Orange Baby Wash – Made with organic herbs and oils, perfect for babies’ hair and skin but you must be careful of the eyes because of the vegetable oil they use.
How to give Your Newborn a Sponge Bath
- Make sure the room temperature is set at around 75 so your baby doesn’t get cold.
- Get all of your supplies together so you don’t have to go get anything, including clothes and a diaper for after.
- Fill the sink or a bowl with lukewarm water ( test it with your wrist or elbow to make sure it isn’t hot according to parents.com ).
- You will have your baby on the counter to bath her, so use a cushy towel for under her.
- Remove all of babies clothes and wrap her in a towel to keep her warm, some babies hate being cold and will cry.
- I would keep her covered and only uncover each part you are going to bathe one at a time.
- Always have a hand on your baby the whole time you are bathing her to make sure she doesn’t fall.
- Use a cotton ball to clean her eyes ( use a new one for each eye ) with only water, start at the bridge of her nose and go down.
- Take a damp cloth with your baby soap ( just a touch of soap ) and gently wipe her face and behind each ear.
- Rinse the soap off with another cloth as you go and dry with a towel.
- Clean baby’s neck along with his hairline and scalp.
- Work your way down the front of the body making sure to get all the wrinkles and folds.
- Make sure to avoid the umbilical cord stump and keep it dry.
- Wash babies bottom and genital area last and don’t worry about pushing back babies foreskin if he hasn’t been circumcised If he has been circumcised avoid this area until it’s healed.
- Dress your baby in a clean diaper and clothes.
Newborn First Bath
Once the cord has fallen off your newborn you can do a bath instead of a sponge bath, for babies’ first bath you can use a bath sponge or baby bath. I recommend the bath sponge that fits in your sink so you don’t have to bend over the bathtub or find someone to move the baby tub every time you want to bathe your baby.
One of the best ways is to bath your baby with you in the tub, makes it so much easier and you both get clean. In order to do this make sure you have someone else to help you so that you can keep baby from getting cold when you are done ( hard to dress your baby and yourself especially postpartum ).
You may be interested in reading this article about postpartum recovery that has a ton of tips Postpartum Recovery Timeline| What to Expect
How to Hold your Baby in the Tub
If you choose to bathe with your baby you will need to know how to hold him properly so that he feels secure, comfortable and safe. Use your nondominant arm to support his head and neck while you use your other to help his feet into the water first and cradle him like this while you wash his face and chest. You may have to place your arm on his back to support him while washing the rest of his body.
- Get all your supplies ready ahead of time.
- Set your house at 75 so baby won’t get cold.
- Get your bath sponge in the sink you will be using.
- Fill the sink or tub with lukewarm water about 2 or 3 inches is fine, check it with your wrist or elbow to make sure it isn’t hot.
- Undress your baby.
- Supporting babies head lower him into the tub onto the cushion.
- You may want a warm washcloth to place on babies’ belly to keep him a little warmer.
- Using a warm cloth wash your babies face and behind ears with a dab of soap, wash babies hair last.
- Work your way down the front and back of his chest and wash the butt and genital area at the end.
- When you are rinsing make sure to protect babies eyes from the water running down (keep a dry washcloth on hand just in case ).
- Pick baby up always supporting his head and dry him off, apply baby lotion to his skin ( if you have a boy I recommend lotion to the bottom and a diaper so you don’t get peed on ).
- Dress him in his diaper and clothes.
Keep the bath short about five to ten minutes is best especially if he has dry skin or sensitivity to anything. Don’t fill your babies bathtub after he is in it so you avoid accidental burns or overfill and run some cold water through the tap on the sink if you are bathing in it so that it won’t drip hot water onto your baby.
When is the Best Time to Bathe your Baby
The best time to bath your baby is in the evening before putting him to bed this sets the mood and gets him more relaxed and ready for sleep. You can bathe your baby at any time that you want, make sure you are relaxed and baby isn’t going to be hungry or just ate.
Most babies will go to sleep better if they had a soothing bath and lotion massage, so if your baby isn’t sleeping well you can just do the lotion massage and see if that helps her fall asleep. Rather than trying to bathe her every night which isn’t good to do at this age.
How Often Should you Bathe your Baby
You can bathe your baby once or twice a week, bathing more than that will make her skin dry out and could damage. Most babies don’t get dirty until they start moving around more so a bath every day isn’t necessary and can cause rashes or really dry skin which will make her fussy and uncomfortable, I bathed our son once a week because of his sensitive skin and the fact that it was wintertime.
After a few months, a daily bath will be okay though I don’t think it is necessary if you choose to do so make sure to use a really good moisturizer to keep babies skin soft and protected.
Final Thoughts on Baby Bath Time
It is always a good idea to remove your jewelry on your wrists and hands before giving your little one a bath, you could scratch their delicate skin while washing them ( this is why I always kept my nails short as well ).
If the first bath is too overwhelming for you have your mom or a good friend help you so you don’t feel stressed out, it’s always better to have someone that has done this before help the first time.
If you use a baby bath you can place it on a table or kitchen counter instead of having to lean over the bathtub ( which we all know at this time is not going to happen ). Be sure to have someone else move the bath for you so that you aren’t straining your muscles too much especially if you had a c section.
To learn more about how to recover from a c section here is an article you may want to read Recovery After C Section
Dress your baby someplace safe like your changing table or a bassinette so you don’t lose your grip on him or make him uncomfortable, it makes it so much easier to use babies changing table so that everything you need is there and you don’t have to worry that she will fall off of it.
Giving your baby a bath should be a relaxing experience for both of you, every baby is different so you will have to adjust for both of your needs to make it better.
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