One of the most-asked questions we get from new mothers is how to give a newborn a bath. The little ones seem so fragile that bath times can be a little daunting for the inexperienced. As a general rule of thumb, a sponge bath is good enough for the first stage before the baby’s umbilical stump drops off. Most mothers sponge the infant three to four times a week, graduating to a baby tub bath and then to a full tub session when baby’s able to sit up on his/her own. However you choose to bathe baby, there are a few constant tips that will help keep baby safe using bath time as a great bonding session for you and the little one.
- Establish a Routine
Whether you choose to bathe baby first thing in the morning and then another round after dinner or simply stick to a pre-bed time schedule, it’s good to have a fixed timing daily to help set baby’s body clock. For example, you can reinforce the sleepy time message by dimming lights, playing soft music and giving baby a soothing baby massage as part of the ritual. However, hold off the bath if baby is hungry, has a tummy ache or is grumpy. Bath times are meant to be relaxing for baby and mummy, so wait it out for a bit when you detect stress signals from baby.
- Prepare All The Supplies Before Getting Baby
The most important thing about bath time is to keep baby safe and the best way to start doing so is getting ready all the items you need in advance. These may include:
- a plastic basin filled with warm water
- a sponge or flannel
- pieces of clean cotton wools/pads
- a mild baby liquid cleanser or bath emollient, as using these products will protect your baby’s natural skin barrier
- one clean dry towel.
- a hooded towel is also good to wrap
- a bath thermometer for testing water temperature if you are not comfortable with the elbow or back-of-hand test.
- clean clothes
- diaper ointment or barrier cream
- cotton buds and rubbing alcohol for baby’s umbilical cord stump if it hasn’t dropped off yet
- Keep Room Warm and Toasty
Babies lose body heat easily so close the windows if there is a draught and keep the room warm before undressing baby.
- Rub a Tub-Tub Time
- Do not fill the tub with more than a couple of inches. Baby should not be submerged in the water. As a rule of thumb, for newborns and babies up to six months of age, three to five inches of water is sufficient.
- Aim for water temperature around 36.6 Degrees Celsius (98 Degrees Fahrenheit)
- Always put baby feet first into the water, holding baby securely with one arm to support his neck and head, slipping that same hand around to hold baby’s underarm. Use the other hand to support his bottom as you place baby comfortably into water.
- Continue to hold baby securely with the main hand under his neck and head while using the other hand to wash baby.
- Be careful as baby will tend to get slippery with the addition of a liquid cleanser or bath emollient. Baby might tend to be wriggle about too.
- Face, Head & Shoulders, Feet & Toes
- Most of us start washing baby from the face first. Undress baby, leaving on the diaper, wrap the baby with a towel and lay him/her down on a towel or dressing surface. Gently use cotton balls and a soft flannel cloth to wipe baby’s eyes, softly wiping the face from inside out.
- Do take note to wash inside skin folds and be extra careful when washing the genital area. For baby girls, clean gently with a soft cloth from front to back.
- There is no need to wash a newborn’s hair everyday but if baby’s hair is dirty or baby has cradle cap, pick a mild baby-safe shampoo and rinse off the shampoo with a wash cloth.
On a really warm day, I like to give little Laura a tub bath in the patio surrounded by greens. She loves it! I’ll put in a pump of Pigeon Newborn Pure Purifying Body Wash, which is non-oily yet moisturising. And the scent, reminiscent of clean, fresh baby skin and summer florals lulls her into a calm, restful mode. She usually falls asleep right after water time.
Like with most newborn activities, it takes a few tries to be absolutely comfortable managing bath time like a pro, but you will get there, trust me.t
Brought to you by Newborn Pure