When you’re expecting your first child, you have so many dreams and visions about what you’ll do once you meet them. One of the most precious memories that new parents make is the first baby bath that they give their little one, and it’s something that you’ll likely remember forever.
A baby bath can certainly be a time of joy but for some parents, it’s a cause for concern as they’re not sure about the right way to do it, what baby bath tub to use, or what other things they have to be mindful of with their precious new bundle of joy.
If you’re a new parent or need a refresher on baby baths, this article can walk you through the process and tell you everything you need to know. Arming yourself with the knowledge beforehand will ensure this is a pleasant experience that you’ll want to remember, and a great way to bond with the newest member of your family.
A baby’s first bath isn’t usually as soon as most people think, and it’s not normally something you do as soon as they’re born. Babies are born with plenty of natural help on their skin and you want to keep it intact as long as you can. Therefore, most experts recommend waiting until their umbilical cord stump has fallen off before you give them one.
If you feel they need one, you can offer a quick sponge wipe without getting them too wet. Once they start having regular baths though, you can do this once a week or every few days until they get a little older. Babies don’t do much aside from sleep and nurse, and this isn’t generally dirty work.
Preparation is key when you’re giving your baby a bath and you’ll want to have everything set out and ready to go before you start undressing them. Get a station set up next to the bathtub or your smaller baby bath tubs and grab a washcloth, body cleaning products, a warm dry towel, and a diaper.
Ensure that the room is nice and warm and there’s no draft coming through anywhere. As they won’t be fully submerged all the time, you need to keep them nice and cozy during this experience. Keep the towel close by and make sure that it’s dry.
You might even want to put the baby bath towels in the dryer and make them warm first, but this isn’t necessary. Have their diaper ready so you can put it on them as soon as they’re dry and prevent any accidents.
When babies are very little, they don’t need to use any special wash at all, and just warm water. However, as they get older it’s okay to use a little of something as long as it is made specifically for babies. Some parents prefer the natural or organic route and others will buy regular baby wash, so it just depends on your personal preference.
Again, babies don’t generally have a lot of hair or a need to wash it, so shampoo won’t be required when they’re little. You want the bath to be as gentle as possible which means soaking them in warm water and allowing their bodies to enjoy the natural state of being as long as they possibly can.
Finding the ideal water temperature is something that all parents worry about, as you don’t want to burn them nor make them cold. You’ll want it to measure about 90 degrees Fahrenheit and can use a thermometer for this or test it with your forearm to be sure. This sensitive part of the body is a good indicator of how your baby will feel it.
You only need to fill up the baby bath one or two inches as they won’t need to be fully submerged. Don’t add anything else to the water like baby bath toys until they’re older and able to appreciate it. These first baths are about gently cleansing their skin and creating a nice bonding experience between parents and babies.
When they’re in the bath, you want to ensure they’re not wet but out of the water. The best way to do this is fill up a small cup and pour it gently over their body so that they stay warm. There’s no need to scrub their bodies with the washcloth, just gently wash them. Some parents might even use a cotton ball for its delicate feel, so whatever your preference is will do.
Make sure you’re supporting your baby’s back, neck, and head at all times when they’re in the water. Small babies especially need extra support at this time. Don’t leave your baby in the bath too long as their skin may become dry, aiming for just a couple of minutes at most.
When the bath is done, you want to carefully take your baby out and wrap them up in their towel. Ensure they’re completely dry and warm, and lay them somewhere soft while you dry them off. Babies keep a lot of moisture in between their rolls and creases so you need to be sure you’ve gotten every area.
Put their nappy on first and then dress them gently. Always pour out the bath water as soon as you’re done, as this can create a drowning hazard for other babies and children in the house. Some parents might choose to apply lotions or creams to their skin, but for most babies, this won’t be necessary.