When expecting a baby you'll likely find everyone wants to give you their advice. The problem with this is there are many different opinions and ways in which we look after our children. You might find a lot of conflicting information which confuses you, you just want simple and quick answers! We've devised a step by step guide for you to follow to understand the best and professionally suggested way to wash your newborn.
You may be itching to use all those new baby products you've had sitting on the shelves, however it's suggested by professionals that plain water is best to bathe your baby in for their first month of life. They have very delicate skin on their arrival into the world and really won't be getting dirty so it's not essential to open up these products just yet!
Baby's First Week
During your baby's first week it's a good idea to give them a sponge bath, although not necessary if you wish to bathe them in a baby tub straight away. You're probably prepared with all your baby washcloths and sponges, time to put them to use! Dampen the washcloth with plan warm water and give your baby a wash. You can use cotton wool to clean their eyes and ears, ensure you change the cotton wool bud after each wipe to avoid infection. You must wipe from the corner of the eye away from their nose.
Step 1: Preparation
Firstly, ensure you have everything you need for your baby's bath time as you cannot leave them unattended. This will include;
- Bath tub you intend to use
- Cotton wool
- Clean Clothes
- Thermometer (optional)
Step 2: Running Babies Bath
Time to fill the tub of your choice, it's important to have the temperature right for your baby. You can test the temperature yourself by using your elbow, if the water is comfortably warm to your elbow this will be fine for baby. You may want to have complete peace of mind and use a bath thermometer.
A temperature of 98.6 degrees F is perfect for your baby. You don't want to over fill the bath as this will make it difficult for you to bathe your baby, however you'll need to fill it enough to cover your baby so they don't get too cold.
Step 3: Supporting Baby in the Bath
It'll be easier if there are two of you to bath your baby, however we understand this is not always practical. There are various ways in which you can support your baby in the bath. You can find some baby tubs which have special seats/nets you can lay them in which will aid you when you're on your own.
If you're supporting your baby with your arms there are two ways to do this, you can experiment which feels more comfortable.
- Rest baby's head in the bend of your elbow or forearm with your hand holding baby's arm securely.
- Support baby's head with your hand and submerge the rest of baby's body in the water.
Step 4: Bathing Your Baby
As mentioned above it's best to bath your baby in plain water to begin with. It may be easier to wash your baby's face before or after being in the tub as you will be using the cotton wool technique mentioned under 'Baby's First Week' at the start of this article. Whilst in the tub you can use your free hand to use the wash cloth to wash baby's body and hair (if they have any). You can use a soft nail brush to wash baby's head, doing so can help prevent cradle cap, and your baby will probably love it!
Step 4: Time to Get Dry!
Now your baby is nice and fresh it's time to carefully take them out of the tub. Wrap them in their towel immediately as they will feel the temperature change, and you;ll know about it! Dry your baby with their towel, it's essential to make sure you are careful and dry their umbilical cord well. Once baby is completely dry you can get them dressed, hopefully you baby will feel nice and relaxed. If your baby finds bath time upsetting don't stress, not all baby's instantly love water, in fact many will cry to begin with.It's important to note that if your baby finds bath time distressing then you'll want to get them in and out pretty quick. However if they find the warm water soothing it's fine to let them enjoy it for a little while as long as the water is a comfortable temperature.
- Never leave your baby unattended in the bath, even for a second.
- Never put your baby in the tub whilst it's still running
- A child can drown in less than an inch of water in less than 60 seconds, keep them safe and supported