Bathing and dressing your baby might not seem like a daunting task until you try it. Squirming 8-pound wiggle worms can be slippery when wet and worse still you might not feel comfortable holding on to her tightly to help maneuver her during bathing. While you can and should use a product designed to make bathing baby easier, it can still be challenging to know how and when to use them and exactly what aspects you should concentrate on when getting baby clean. For a quick break down read on:
First, you don't need to bathe the baby every day. A few times a week or every other day is probably good enough considering that your baby is getting a quick clean up after every diaper changes and feeding anyway. If your baby has any special needs, you might need to bath them more often or pay particular attention to certain areas, so ask your pediatrician what schedule might be best for your baby.
Once you know how often you need to clean baby, you can concentrate on the where and when. It is best to choose a time of day where you are not rushed and can focus on your baby without distractions. Evening time right before her last feeding and bedtime might be a great time to establish a routine to soothe baby and put a clean baby down for bed.
- Choose a safe location for bath time. This location might be a specific baby tub that is independent of your standard tub, or it could be an insert that goes inside your tub.
- Fill the chosen bathing station with only a few inches of water, 2-3 inches is plenty.
- Choose a water temperature below 100 F. You can purchase a thermometer for the water or judge based on how the water feels on your wrist (not your hand).
- Be sure to support your baby's body as you slowly move her into the water. Support her head and hold under her armpit. If you are using a support device, never take your hands off of baby! You should still hold the baby and support her head and under her armpits.
- Gentle rinse and wash the baby from head to toe. Start with the cleaner parts like her face and hair and finish up with the dirty parts like genitals and bottom. Pay close attention to the skin folds or areas where dirt might collect or get little exposure to daylight.
- We recommend that you use a chemical-free shampoo and body wash for baby. You can also use plain water for newborns. Either way, you should avoid bubble baths and products with fragrances.
- Pat baby dry with a soft towel and redress her, so she doesn't get cold. It isn't necessary to put lotion on baby, however, some babies like a gentle lotion massage and if you choose a delicate lotion, it can help baby's skin stay soft and increase your bonding time with the baby. If you choose to massage baby, use the towel to cover the areas you aren't working on to keep baby warm. Be very gentle and do not use significant pressure.
For more tips on bathtime and bathing your baby, see our review of the Best Baby Bathtubs.
- Mayo Clinic - Baby Bathing