You just brought your baby home and are already obsessed with them. You have checked off so many of the firsts from your list. First smile, first cry, first time feeding them. Giving your baby a bath is yet another one of these memorable experiences. Now, it is understandable if you are kind of tense about this task ahead. There are water and soap involved, and the mind cannot help but picture a bad scenario.
But truly, you have nothing to worry about. If you follow these steps you will get a fair idea about how do you bathe your baby for the first time in a safe and thorough manner.
The first bath
Remember that doctors suggest that it is best to wait for a couple of days before the first bath. If you are worried about germs in that period of time don’t be, because prevention from germs in the environment is actually the reason why this delay is suggested. Your baby is covered with vernix, a protective layer that shields your baby from harmful substances in the environment. Before and actual water bath, you can substitute it with a sponge bath. During a sponge bath, you can rub the sponge across your baby’s body in order to clean the diaper and head area. This is a very safe and easy method to clean your baby.
Now let’s see the various steps involved in giving your baby a sponge bath in detail.
- Remember to do this in a room that is quite comfortable and where there is ample space for the baby to be placed safely.
- The list of items you need for the sponge bath is a towel or a blanket, lukewarm water, a clean diaper, a fresh washcloth, and a good mild soap made especially for babies. Keep this within easy reach so that the baby is not left unattended at any moment.
- Take note that the water has to lukewarm, and nowhere near cold or hot – the ideal temperature would be 38 degrees Celsius – be it a sponge bath or in a bathtub.
- Use a thermometer that works in the water safely just to make sure.
- Place your baby safely on a level and stable surface, like a table, baby counter, etc. Make sure you place them in the middle, with ample space on both sides. You have to have one hand on your baby’s body the whole time, preferably their stomach so that they don’t fall or slip. If available, you can ask fellow family members or friends to help you out with it. Or you can also place your baby on the floor, of course on soft and clean blankets or towels.
- Remove their clothes and diapers. Gently wrap them well inside a towel.
- Keep the bowl of water handy, and in a place where you do not knock it off by mistake mid bath.
- Now, you should only unwrap or uncover the specific part you are going to wash. This keeps the baby warm and covered throughout and avoids unnecessary exposure to air.
- First, begin by washing your baby’s head (the topmost region) and their face. Do this by softly dipping the cloth in the warm water and gently rubbing it across those regions. Because you will be working close to the eyes and mouth, it is best to not use soap in this stage to avoid irritation, etc. Also clean the outer ears, neck, and chin.
- The cloth you are using should not be soaking wet. It can cause droplets of water to enter the baby’s ears and that may give rise to infections or irritation too.
- Now it is time to add just a couple of drops of the mild baby soap to the water you are using. Dip the cloth and wring it again.
- Now you can use the cloth to wash and wipe the diaper area, under the arms, back, and stomach, etc.
- It is now time to pat your baby dry. Take a fresh dry cloth to do so. Make sure you pat all the folds and under the knees etc.
How to bathe your baby in a bathtub
If you have a bathtub at home and that’s where you want to bathe your baby, read on. Extra care and attention are needed here.
- As mentioned before, check that the temperature of the water is suitable for your baby – not too hot, not too cold. It should be warm enough to keep the baby comfortable from the start to the end of the bath.
- For an infant-like yours, filling the tub with three inches of water should do.
- Undress your baby and place them in the water as soon as possible. Their sensitive areas like head and ears should be above the water level.
- Again, keep a hand on your baby firmly at all times. Do not remove your attention from the baby at all times. Put your phone on silent, keep any pets away.
- Slowly splash water over your baby. Use a wet cloth or just water to clean their entire body.
- Pat them down and thoroughly after you take them out of the water.
How often does your baby need to bathe after the first time?
As enjoyable or opportunity for bonding bathing your baby may be, do not overdo it. Doctors strongly recommend that a newborn, throughout the first year only needs to be bathed three times a week. This number is enough to keep your baby clean and hygienic given you use a good soap and clean thoroughly well. If you are bathing your baby every other day and also using baby washes or soaps, you may be well on the road to drying out your baby’s skin. As for washing the scalp and hair, reserve it for twice a week only.
Just to be safe, talk to your pediatrician about how to give a safe bath to the head. You should know how to handle soft spots or a cradle cap.