Maternity Glow Presents ...
The Ultimate Guide to Baby Bath Time
Did you just get your little one home from the hospital, and you know you're going to have to bathe them soon, but you're just not sure where to start?
The first time you give your baby a bath on your own can be a nerve-wracking experience.
But it doesn't have to be!
In this guide, we will discuss when and how a baby should be given a bath as well as provide you with some tips to make bath time easier on you as the parent.
You may be nervous about giving your baby a bath for the first time, but hopefully, this guide will ease your fears and help you be prepared.
When Should I Give My Baby Their First Bath?
Your baby will get a bath right after he or she is born, so it is not super important for them to get another one in the next few days.
Until your baby's belly button is healed and the umbilical cord stump has fallen off, you should only give them a sponge bath. This could take anywhere from one week to two weeks.
Regardless of the number of days that you wait before giving your baby a bath, don't bathe them too much because their skin will dry out.
Ideally, you should only bathe your newborn two to three times a week.
Starting with a Sponge Bath
As we already mentioned, your baby's first bath is going to be a sponge or a spot bath.
This does not mean that your baby should actually be washed with a sponge; in fact, it's actually much safer to use a wash cloth. It simply means that they will not be getting in the tub yet.
Your baby's umbilical cord stump is still attached, and until this area heals, it should be kept as dry as possible to ensure that it does not get infected. Be careful when giving your baby a bath because a wet baby is a slippery little one.
Hold on to them tight and use a warm washcloth to gently wash their face and hands.
Work downwards from there, and make sure that you clean their private areas as well.
If you have a little boy who has been circumcised, do not wash the tip of their penis until it has healed. If you have a little girl, make sure that you wash them from the front to the back so that they do not get an infection.
Don't forget to wash between their toes, behind their ears, and between their little baby rolls. Make sure that you always wash their head last so that they do not become too cold.
Once they are washed, wrap your little one in a towel and pat them dry.
Make sure that the towel that you select is soft on your baby's skin. Having a towel with a hood is a great way to get your baby warm and dry quickly.
Make sure that the air in the room that you are bathing your baby in is warm as well so that they do not catch a chill.
About 75 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal room temperature for an infant.
Giving Your Baby a Bath in the Tub
Once your baby's belly button is fully healed, you can begin giving them a bath in the tub.
If you are nervous about giving them a bath in the tub, then the kitchen sink will be a great place for their first tub bath. If you have a little boy who was circumcised, make sure that their penis is fully healed as well.
Always use your non-dominant arm to support your baby's neck and head as you ease them into the water. They will not be used to the water, so it is important that you hold on to them tight.
If you are uncomfortable holding your infant while bathing them, have someone help you the first few times.
In addition, an infant tub is a great tool to use when you need to bath your baby alone. It keeps them out of the tub, and in a comfortable space that makes it easier to wash them.
Some infant tubs are designed for newborns, while others can convert to be used as your baby grows.
Make sure that you do not fill the tub too full; in fact, the water should only be about two inches deep.
Too much water can frighten an infant, and make them harder to hold, so as long as you have enough water to wash them with, it will be adequate.
What Temperature Should the Water Be?
You most likely do not like to take a cold shower or step into a scolding hot tub of water, so let us assure you, your baby will not like it either. Before you put your baby in the tub, make sure that the water is warm.
It is a good idea to keep your water heater set below 110 degrees to make sure the water cannot get too hot. This serves as an added precaution to make sure that your baby's bath water can not burn their tender, sensitive skin.
The ideal water temperature for your baby is 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can easily test the water with your elbow or your wrist to make sure that it is the proper temperature for your baby, but if you want to measure the exact temperature of the water, you can purchase a water thermometer to help you figure out if the water is the right temperature.
Check out this cute little duck thermometer. It will float on the top of the water and measure the current temperature of the water.
The LED screen on the duck's back will turn to blue if the water is becoming too cold, red when the water is too hot, and green when it is safe for your baby.
Which Soap Should I Use?
There are a lot of soaps that are designed for babies on the market that you can choose from, but you are going to need something that is going to be gentle on your baby's skin.
When they first come home, plain water is sufficient for getting them clean, but you will eventually need to choose a soap to wash them with.
The best options are non-toxic soaps that are designed for a baby's skin. When you choose a soap that has a lot of chemicals or strong fragrances, you risk your baby getting a rash or having an allergic reaction to the soap.
Never use soaps that create extra lather; they are good for adults, but they are too harsh for your youngster.
You will also want to use a hypo-allergenic soap because you are not sure how your baby will react to any chemicals yet.
Establishing a Routine
When you start giving your baby a bath, it is important to establish some sort of routine.
If you give your baby a bath when they first wake up, they are more likely to be calm and enjoy it. If you decide to make it something that you do at bedtime, it can be a soothing ritual that helps put them to sleep.
You are not going to be giving them a bath every day, so maybe plan to give them a bath on specific nights. It will help you remember when they had their last bath as well as give you a schedule to follow in your newly hectic life with your newborn.
Also, create a routine when it comes to bathing your baby.
You should try to wash their body parts in the same order so that they know what to expect. If you typically wash their hair last, they will come to expect that each time you bathe them.
Bath Time Toys
When your baby is under three months, toys are basically only visual stimulation.
A rubber ducky or something that floats around on the top of the water may be a good idea, but other than those types of toys, you should wait a while to get them some new bath toys.
As they grow up, they will want to have toys that they can easily hold in their hand. Foam letters and toys are a great idea.
Most children love having boats float around in their bathwater. As they become toddlers, you can add more toys and fun into their bath water.
Bath books that have waterproof pages are great for the bath. If your child has a lot of Fisher Price toys, they are typically a great option to take in the bath as well.
Can My Baby Have a Bubble Bath?
Bubble baths are something that every toddler loves, but is it safe for your infant to have this soap in their bath water?
Well, these bubbles are not mild soaps, so they can easily get into your child's eyes, cause irritation to their skin, or even dry their skin out.
You should refrain from giving your baby a bubble bath until they are at least three years of age.
By that time they will be more interested in the bubbles, which will extend their bath time and give them more enjoyment.
Make sure that when you do give them a bubble bath, the soap residue is fully rinsed off of their skin.
Benefits of Bath Time
Bath time is a special time for you and your baby.
It is a time where you can bond. You can look into their eyes and express the love that you have for them. Your baby will feel your love, and you will start to enjoy this time that you spend together.
You can play with toys, count their fingers and toes, and even sing songs to them as they are getting their bath. Your voice and your touch will help your baby learn while they are in the tub as well.
Splash them a little bit and play as you give them their bath so that they enjoy bath time.
A bath can be a great way to soothe a baby who is hot happy. It can give them comfort, especially if you get in the bath with them.
You can let them lay on your stomach in the tub as you gently rub their back and comfort them.
The warm water that you are washing your baby with is also often a great way to make them feel happy and safe.
Once you dry them off and cuddle them in their towel, it the secure feeling will often put them right to sleep.
Bath Time Safety Tips
Make sure that you have all of the bathing essentials that you need by the tub before you put your baby into the water.
If you forgot something, then don't attempt to take your baby and their infant tub to get it.
Ask someone for help so that you can always keep your attention on your little one to make sure that they are safe.
Always draw the water for your baby's bath before placing them in the tub. This makes sure that the water temperature is appropriate for your baby, and that the water is not too hot for them.
Once your child is toddler age, you can fill the tub with four inches of water, but no more. Make sure to cover the spout in the tub so that your toddler does not hit their head while playing in the water.
Any injury in the tub could be devastating.
Never leave a toddler in the tub without supervision. Teach them that the tub can be dangerous so that they do not try to stand up in the tub without your help.
Also, make sure that they never play with the faucet because if they turn it on, they could easily scold themselves.
Giving your baby a bath can be a frightening experience, but after you learn what to do, it can be a bonding time that both you and you baby love.
To help you get more comfortable with the routine, always follow these tips:
- Have everything ready before putting your child in the tub.
- Make sure that the water and the air in the room is a good temperature.
- If they are frightened, don't rush tub baths.
- Sponge baths are fine for your child when they are young.
- Don't bathe your baby so much that their skin dries out.
- Always hold on to your little one during their bath time.