One of the most exciting things about caring for the baby is giving them a bath. But even this simple thing can sometimes be daunting, especially for first-time parents. Babies are so delicate and their skin is so smooth that they get even smoother when wet, making it extra difficult to handle them during bath time.
But bath time with your baby should always be a fun and wonderful experience, because that’s what it is. It is supposed to be a special bonding time between parent and child, and the extra intimacy that can develop during the process is a wonderful thing. So here are tips on how to give a newborn baby a bath to make it an enjoyable, safe, and healthy experience for both the parents and the baby.
For the first 10 days to a few weeks, it’s ideal to give a baby a sponge bath. This makes it easier to avoid getting the umbilical cord stump wet. Now, here’s how to actually do it:
- Lay the baby on a flat surface covered with a clean, soft, fluffy towel.
- Cover the baby with another towel, leaving only the face exposed.
- Place a basin of clean warm water nearby, plus a clean sponge or flannel.
- Gently wash one limb at a time with the sponge and then immediately pat dry. Start with the head, neck, body, arms, and then legs.
- Wash the baby’s back. Gently raise the baby’s body (always making sure the baby’s head, neck and upper back are well supported) and place a hand behind the head, neck, and upper back as you use the other hand to gently wash the back of the head, nape, the back of the body, and the buttocks.
- Should the umbilical cord stump get wet, simply pat it gently with a dry towel. [INPOSTLB]
When the baby’s umbilical cord stump naturally falls off – or when the baby is big enough (or as the doctor prescribes) – you can start giving the baby major baths. This time, you need a mild baby soap and mild no-tears baby shampoo. Here’s how to do it:
- Prepare everything you need beforehand: tub with warm water, a basin of warm water, mild soap and shampoo, and dry towel.
- Do the bathing in a secluded area where there is no wind.
- Just put enough warm water in the tub to sit the baby in so that the baby’s buttocks and legs will be immersed.
- Have the basin of clean water close by.
- Sit the baby in the tub with an arm supporting the head, neck and back and the hand supporting and holding the baby’s legs—like cradling the baby in your arm. Gently and gradually pour water on the baby’s head and body using your free hand as a “dipper” to scoop water with. Apply shampoo and soap using your free hand, and then wash with clean warm water again.
- Immediately wrap the baby in a clean, dry towel and gently rub the head dry with it.
Giving the baby a bath takes time and practice. Don’t let your anxiety take over. Learn these steps on how to give a newborn baby a bath and you will eventually be confident in bathing him or her.