Baby's First Bath a Step-by-Step Guide
When you bring your infant home, there are many firsts: the first feeding, the first diaper change, the first spit up... Each one presents a new difficulty in terms of finding your rhythm and determining what to do as a parent. Bath time is no exception.
Bath time is an excellent opportunity to bond with your infant. The first bath may seem intimidating, but with these instructions, you'll be prepared. In this article, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of bathing your infant.
When Should a Newborn Get Their First Bath?
When a new baby is born, it can be tempting to bathe them immediately away.
The World Health Organization recommends waiting at least 24 hours after birth, or at least six hours if a full day is not possible due to cultural considerations. Delaying the first bath is advantageous because:
- It helps to maintain a newborn's body temperature steady, as bathing them too quickly can cause them to get cold.
- It prevents the little stress of taking a bath too early, which may result in a dip in blood sugar as a stress response.
- There is no disruption in skin-to-skin bonding between a woman and her unbathed kid, which may boost nursing success compared to those who bathe their baby right away.
- Babies' skin has a waxy material called vernix, which works as a moisturizer. Bathing too soon can cause their skin to dry out by removing this protective coating.
The Best Time of Day to Bathe Your Baby
Bathing your newborn at any time of day is appropriate. Baths can take place at any moment. Babies are more attentive in the morning and can enjoy the sensation of warm water on their skin. Some parents incorporate a bath in their child's bedtime routine to help them relax before falling asleep. Choose a time that is convenient for both you and your child.
Is it better to use soap or not?
Washing a baby is an easy and relaxing task. Soap can only make matters worse. Soap products might dry up your newborn's sensitive skin, so avoid using them until your infant is a little older. However, if your infant has a diaper rash or spits up a lot, you may feel the need for soap. If this is the case, use a mild, pH-neutral soap.
How to Bathe Your Baby
Gather all of the bath time necessities so that everything is within arm's reach. A basin or baby tub, a washcloth rinsed in soap-free water, and a dry towel are required.
Make bath time enjoyable! Don't rush the bath if your infant appears to enjoy it. Before bath time, devote this time to your kid and remove any distractions. Distractions can include your phone, other small children, or pets.
The best technique to wash your baby is to start with their face and work your way down their body, finishing with their diaper area.
Bathing a newborn while the umbilical cord is still intact (sponge bath):
Sponge baths will be used for the first few infant baths. Use this strategy to keep your baby clean for one to two weeks, or until his or her umbilical cord breaks off.
- For the sponge bath, use a flat, clean surface such as a changing table, the floor, or the counter. Cover the area with a blanket or soft towel. Use a safety strap to prevent falls, and keep one hand holding your infant at all times.
- Prepare a basin of warm (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit) water for rinsing the washcloth during the bath.
- To keep your infant warm, remove their clothing and wrap them in a dry towel. During the sponge bath, clean one region at a time, then cover with a towel again.
- Gently wipe your baby's face, neck, arms, back and stomach, legs, feet, and diaper area with a damp washcloth.
Bathing an infant after the umbilical cord has been severed (tub bath):
- Baths in the tub should be quick and gentle. Babies should only be placed in a tub of water after their umbilical cord has been severed.
- Fill the wash bowl with two inches of warm water on the inside of your wrist. A temperature of roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
- Undress the baby and immediately immerse them in water to prevent them from becoming cold.
- Hold your infant firmly with one hand at all times while cleaning them with the other.
- Wash your baby from head to toe with the washcloth, finishing with the diaper area.
- When your baby has finished their sponge wash or tub bath, quickly dry them off to keep them warm. It is optional to apply a tiny amount of moisturizer (fragrance-free, hypoallergenic lotion) to help avoid dry skin.
How Often Should a Baby Be Bathed?
It's a popular misperception that babies need to be bathed every day. Bathing too frequently is not recommended because it can dry out a child's fragile skin. During their first year, newborns only require about three baths per week.
Babies, with the exception of a few spills and accidents, are quite clean. Newborns rarely sweat and are not as dirty as older babies and toddlers. You can probably avoid bathing your kid if you detect a spill and wipe it up promptly.
Bath time Safety Guidelines for Newborns
Bath time safety must be practiced by parents and guardians from the start. Here are some tips for keeping your child safe as you clean them:
- Never, ever leave a baby alone in the bathtub.
- Always maintain one hand securely on your infant and make sure your newborn's head is supported at all times.
- During the bath, keep the majority of your baby's face and body above the water's surface.
- Cover your kid with a towel during a sponge bath or pour warm water over their body in the tub to keep them warm during bath time.
- Baths should last no more than five to 10 minutes.
- If you're washing your baby on a surface higher than the floor, use a safety strap or keep one on hand (such as the bathroom counter).