How to give your baby a bath?
Bath time can be one of best things happened to you and your baby.
How? Well, scroll down and let’s see.
How to give your baby a bath?
Babies need to have a daily bath from birth. Just like us, babies do not enjoy the feeling of pee or poop on their body from day one. Therefore, my recommendation is to give baby a daily wash, from the first day they arrive home from hospital, regardless of the healing of the umbilical cord stump.
Although the daily task of giving baby a bath can be somewhat daunting for parents, especially for first born and in the first days, I believe it can be turned into a meaningful experience. But in order to enjoy it one should be aware of some basic general medical and non-medical guidelines.
Health and safety issues in baby bathing
It is important to remember that without planning, bathing can be a dangerous for babies. Therefore, bath time should be planned in advance, directing your attention to the following key safety principles:
Checking water temperature.
Watching baby during the entire bath-time.
Do not leave baby alone in water even for a split second.
Plan in advance the duration on the bath. The planning should take into consideration preparing the bathroom and the tub, undressing the baby, ending the bathing process when baby is dressed in your arms, when everything is within reach.
How to turn bath time to magical time?
I would suggest that bath time becomes precious time with your baby. If parents are calm and willing to put phones aside for 45 minutes and dedicate themselves to bath time, no baby will resist this magic. Therefore, even when baby is hesitant, doesn’t like being naked or cries with the touch of water, I believe that parents can lead the situation into a good place by being calm and accommodating.
In case baby cries while undressing (I have noticed this is more common with boys but am not aware of a medical explanation for this observation), try to undress slowly whilst singing or playing.
Heat up the bathroom in advance if necessary for it to be pleasant.
Calmly describe to the baby all the actions you are doing. Quiet songs always work. If parents are bickering and stressed, baby cannot be calm and enjoy this special time.
If the baby is crying and screaming and the experience is not pleasant, do not force it. Gently take baby out, try to sooth and retry the next day in a different atmosphere.
Try to wash in two, at least in the beginning:
Most of us never bathed a newborn. Therefore, it would be helpful to get a partner’s help. In the first several bath times, it is also helpful to get assistance from someone who has experience in bathing babies such as a grandmother or a friend who is a parent.
Bathing a baby by yourself is more difficult and would usually require the use of a safety seat.
How to prepare for baby bath?
Prepare ahead everything you’ll need for the bath
▪︎ Heat up the room a few minutes before starting if necessary. 25℃ is the recommended temperature.
▪︎ Run the bath to the right temperature, 36-37℃. You can use a thermometer or your elbow to make sure the water is not too hot or too cold.
▪︎ It is advised to fill up the bath up to 1/3 of the bathtub.
▪︎ Plan in advance where you will undress and later towel dry and dress baby and prepare it before starting the bath.
▪︎ Keep bath oil or baby body wash within reach.
▪︎ You can use a container to help rinse the baby.
▪︎ Prepare the towel so it’s handy.
▪︎ Prepare moisturizing cream to apply after the bath.
▪︎ Nappies and nappy rash cream.
▪︎ Cotton pads and rubbing alcohol for treating the umbilical cord stump if necessary.
When to have bath time?
I recommend having bath time in the evenings. The time would be determined by the time you plan to put baby to sleep. Assuming bath time takes about 45 minutes followed by a 30 minutes feed (breastfeeding or bottle), the bathing process should start 90 minutes before the desired sleep time.
It is advised to also take in consideration that bath time is not too far or too close to the previous feed, so baby is happy when getting in the bath.
Please remember these are guidelines. You can be flexible according to your own experience.
Children are not robots but routine is a blessing for you and your children. The goal is to have a similar time frame every day. I do appreciate the differences between having one child where all the attention is directed to him/her and when operating a household with several children.
How and what to use when giving baby a bath?
There’s an eternal argument rather to use baby wash or baby bath oil.
In the baby’s first several weeks you can certainly use baby bath oil. Baby wash can also be used for baby’s bottom and genitals. I find this combination of a generous amount of bath oil and body wash for genitals to be good at any age.
Some people wash baby bottom with some soap and running water before entering the bath in order to have a clean bottom when going into still water. I think this is a good approach for the first child. In the second child, there’s no time.
When baby is in the water you can gently splash his body with water, using your hand or a container. Attempt to rinse the baby’s head towards the end of the bath.
Try to avoid spraying water directly into the ear canal but if some water does go in, do not get alarmed. This does not cause an ear infection.
Baby’s face can be cleaned using cloth or wet cotton ball.
For children with dry skin (for instance behind the ears), use a cotton ball soaked with baby oil.
There is no need to get the baby out of the bath and change the water if he/she pees in the bathtub but it is necessary if the baby poops in the water.
There are recommendations online suggesting putting the baby slowly in the water after it is wrapped in a muslin. It might be nice for some babies. I find this approach somewhat awkward.
How to dry the baby?
At the end of the bath, wrap the baby in a towel, taking him to a surface where we will get him dry, put on a nappy and dressed.
It is advised to use gentle movements with a soft towel to dry the baby, rather than wiping and rubbing the baby’s skin. Paying attention to absorb the water from skin folds. With boys, you can carefully pull the penis out of the skin folds to gently dry it, to prevent water building up in the area.
I recommend using the next ten minutes for baby massage using baby lotion, giving extra care to the areas that are prone to dryness such as behind the ears and the back of the knees, making sure to apply moisturize the whole body.
I have noticed many parents investing in expensive creams. This is unnecessary. A simple Cetomocrogol-based cream does an excellent job.
Should vitamin D or iron supplement be given during bath time?
One benefit of giving these supplements during bath time is that it becomes a part of the bath ritual, therefore they are less likely to be forgotten.
Another advantage in giving iron in the bath is that it makes it easy to clean in case the liquid iron drips on the baby.
Remember that iron has to be taken at least 30 minutes before or after feed.
To conclude, bath time can be either an unpleasant chore or one of the daily highlights and the connection with baby. I believe this article will help young parents to make it special.