What if he slips from my hands?
What if the water enters his nose?
What if I unknowingly press his belly a little too hard…
The fears are many. The pressure is just too much to handle when you are bathing your newborn. It is even more difficult if he is your first baby. The tiny life is so delicate that you cannot believe he needs a bath! But yes, he does need a bath. Then, how would you manage it?
MomJunction helps you with a step-by-step guide on what you need to do before, and after giving your baby a bath, and the precautionary measures such as the positioning of your baby, you need to take in the bathroom.
Preparations That Go Into Bathing A Baby
Bathing a baby is a ritual that needs meticulous preparation. You need to keep several things ready before you bathe your baby. You would have to check in on the bath products, the temperature of the water, the baby’s feeding schedule, body temperature, and more.
1. Collect all the things:
Imagine you go to a store and then realize that you have forgotten your wallet. Painful, right? The feeling is the same when you sit down to bathe your baby and realize that you forgot the soap or his towel or something else. Also, your unnecessary movements (especially getting up and sitting down) may irritate your baby, and he may not want to take a bath.
- Therefore, line up all the necessary baby products around the bath tub, at an arm’s length.
- You would need soap, shampoo, towels, powder, moisturizing cream, comb, brush or even toys to keep your baby calm.
- Keep a diaper handy as you would need it immediately after the bath.
- You could use a few cotton swabs or balls to wipe the baby’s eyes and ears gently.
- If the baby is a few months old, you may put some toys in his tub to keep him engaged. However, this trick will not work with a newborn.
When using these products, make sure that they are suitable for a baby and are clinically tested.
2. Check your clothes and accessories:
Wear clothes which are comfortable and dry up quickly.
Your clothes should be comfortable for your baby too. They should be devoid of buttons, zippers or emanating objects.
Remove any jewelry on your hands and fingers, as they can scratch the gentle skin of the baby.
Also, trim your nails and make sure that the edges are not rough.
3. Set up the bathing tub:
When buying a bathtub, decide on what type of a tub you would want: the tub’s material, make, size, etc.
- The bathtub should not be made of slippery material as the baby can slip and get injured while bathing. Spread a cloth at the base of the tub to prevent the baby from slipping.
- Do not use an adult bath tub as the baby’s needs to be smaller in size. The tub should not be so deep that you cannot hold your baby comfortably.
- There are different kinds of tubs available. Buy the one that has an option to hold your baby’s head and keep it afloat.
- Choose tubs which do not submerge the baby, even partially.
- You could use a kitchen sink too. However, cover the sink faucet with a think cloth or faucet covers. This would ensure that the baby’s head or any other part is not hurt while you bathe him.
Note that you need to add less water in the tub when the baby is young, and increase the level as he grows.
4. Check the water temperature:
Babies’ skin is more sensitive than adults’. This would mean that a temperature that is comfortably warm for you could be hot for them.
A temperature between 36ºC and 38ºC is the best for babies.
Do an elbow test to know how comfortable the water temperature is. As your elbow is a sensitive part, you could know the right temperature that will suit your baby. If your elbow feels warm, then add cold water.
You could use bath thermometers as well. They would give you the best idea of the temperature.
Now, you are ready with the bath items, tub, and water and sat down to bathe your baby. But how would you do that?
How To Bathe Your Baby?
Well, it is not all that tough, but it requires some concentration and a lot of patience. First things first, if you can get someone’s help, do so. In the initial weeks, make sure that someone is present by your side to help you bathe the baby. You will eventually manage to bathe the baby all by yourself.
1. Put your baby in the tub:
- Put the baby in the tub with his legs first. Hold his head, back, and neck with the other hand and then give him a bath.
- Only when you have lowered the baby well and held him properly, should you start pouring water.
- Use a small cup or cup your hands to pour water on him. Do not pour water over his eyes, mouth, or ears.
- If there is someone to assist you, ask them to cup their hands above the baby’s eyes and ears. This would ensure that the water or soap would not go into the baby’s eyes and ears.
2. Soap the baby:
- Start by soaping his arms, legs, and stomach. Once you have washed these areas, gently lift him up to wash his back. Do not turn the baby around. The soap that you use should be mild, clinically tested, and safe for babies.
- Do not wash the baby’s face. You could gently wipe it off with a damp cloth or with cotton swabs.
- When cleaning the genitals, use only a dab of soap. For a baby girl, wash from front to back to prevent infections, as the urethra in girls is closer to the urinary bladder and prone to infections.
- If your son has been circumcised, wipe the area gently with a wet cloth and dry it immediately. Do not let moisture or water stay in there for long.
- Do remember to clean behind the ears, between fingers, under the arms, and such places which accumulate sweat.