Baby’s First Baths
Your baby’s first bath can be a special moment for you. It could also be scary. Newborns are so tiny and slippery, it’s hard to hold on to them while they squirm, especially when they’re wet and soapy. You may also have plenty of questions about your baby’s first baths, like where do you wash them? Do you put them in a tub, or do you give them a sponge bath? How do you clean their umbilical cord area? How warm should the water be? What things do you need to have on hand while bathing your baby? First of all, deciding to give your baby a tub bath or sponge bath while their umbilical cord is still attached is ultimately up to you. Some hospitals suggest sponge baths, while others say it is perfectly fine to give them a tub bath. If you’re unsure, ask your baby’s doctor to see what she recommends.
You may decide to sponge bathe your baby until the umbilical cord falls off. Make sure you bathe your baby in a warm room without any drafts. Have a soft washcloth and a pail of lukewarm water ready. Also have some towels or blankets handy to cover the areas of your baby that aren’t being washed.
It can be awkward to bath your baby in a big tub, so many parents use the sink or a plastic tub to bath their baby for the first few months. I chose to bath my baby in the tub after I purchased a Baby Bath Seat. You should never, ever leave your baby alone in the tub, even with the bath seat. If your baby is left in less than an inch of water, he can still drown.
Bathing Your Baby
Have everything ready before you put your baby in the tub. Soap, lotion, washclothes, toys, towels and a clean diaper and change of clothes should be within reach while bathing your baby. Fill the tub or sink with about 2-3 inches of lukewarm water. To be on the safe side, you can test the water temperature with a thermometer. It should be about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can get a bath seat with temperature strip built in.
Some babies love being bathed, others not so much. If your baby fusses at bath time, ease him slowly into the water feet first. Once in the water, keep a wet washcloth on his stomach so he doesn’t get cold, and regularly pour more bath water on his tummy to keep him warm.
Before you get any soap in the bath water, wash baby’s face with a washcloth. Use one corner for one eye, and another corner for the other eye. For the rest of his body, use a mild soap. Make sure to get in the creases of his neck, armpits and genital area. His hair can be washed with a mild soap as well. Don’t forget to wash behind his ears.
Before lifting your baby out of the tub, make sure you have a good grip on him. Their soft skin is especially slippery when it’s wet and soapy. Dry him off with a soft towel and apply a little baby lotion if you like. Now get a diaper on as soon as possible before he gets pee everywhere!