Learning how to give a newborn baby a bath is one area that many parents struggle with. It is difficult to manage both holding your baby upright, and washing them safely at the same time.
If you have a newborn baby, and you are wondering how to give a newborn bath, follow along to learn tips for giving a proper baby bath.
1. Know When to Move to a Tub
First, it is important to know that you can’t start off using the bathtub right away. You need to stick with sponge baths until the baby’s umbilical cord falls off, and then you can move to a baby bath tub.
Choose a baby tub that is designed to keep your baby from slipping. Stay away from bath seats, as these can tip over.
2. Getting the Tub Ready
You will want the water lukewarm—not too hot, and not too cold (it’s safest to adjust your water heater to 120 degrees). Test the water before you put the baby in, and keep testing it throughout the bath.
Once the water gets too cool, that is a sign that bath time is over. For soap, choose a mild baby wash that doesn’t have any added scents or dyes, as these can irritate the skin.
Many parents wonder how much water to place in the tub with your baby. Research differs on this question, so it is really up to you.
When giving a newborn bath, some parents choose to fill the tub with about 2 inches of water, using a cup to pour warm water on the baby throughout in order to keep them warm.
Other parents prefer more water, to avoid the chill that comes from water evaporating on your baby’s skin. The choice is up to you, but keep in mind that you need to keep a hand on your baby at all times, and that babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
3. Washing Your Child
Once you have your baby in the tub, use a soft washcloth to clean them. Gently scrub, being careful to keep any soap away from their eyes.
Most start with the baby’s face and move down to dirtier parts of the body. It also keeps rinsed areas from getting soapy again.
If your child does not like bath time, don’t try to force it. Instead, place your baby on a soft towel, and do more of a sponge bath by cleaning them with the washcloth.
4. No Need for a Bath Every Day
It is not essential that you give your baby a bath every day. As long as you are cleaning the face, hands, neck and diaper area daily, you can get away with giving a newborn bath two or three times per week.
After bath, most newborns do not need lotion. But if their skin is really dry, you can apply a small amount of baby moisturizer.
5. Handling Accidents
Occasionally, your child may pee or poop while in the tub. If this happens, don’t stress about it. While you’ll need to clean the tub if the child poops, urine is sterile and is okay, provided it does not get in their mouths.
While it is not a pleasant experience if they pee in the tub, you are probably better off continuing with the bath, rather than taking your child out and starting over again.
6. Keep the Baby Safe
The most important thing about bath time is making sure your child is safe. To do this, there are several things you need to do.
First, it is a good idea to keep everything you need close by, so that you can keep one hand on the baby at all times.
Second, make sure the tub is secure, and that it will not slide around as you are bathing your baby. Lastly, once you finish bathing the baby, immediately wrap them in a warm towel to ensure that they do not lose too much body heat.
Hopefully this guide helps to make your next bath time a little simpler. Once you get the hang of it, giving a newborn bath becomes easier, and some of the stress begins to go away.