Adding bath time to a baby’s routine is something you can begin right after your baby is born.
But as the baby’s skin is sensitive to the environment, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying a baby’s first bath for about six to twenty-four hours after the baby’s birth.
If you have a hospital delivery, the nurses clean off the amniotic fluid and blood after your baby is born while ensuring to leave excess vernix if you want. It helps keep your baby skin moisturised and well protected from environmental germs.
However, there are certain things that you should take care of while bathing the baby in each of the ways – first bath, sponge bath, and bathtub bath.
Read on to learn about how to bathe your baby, as well as other essential things you need to know about bath time.
Baby’s First Bath
If your baby is delivered in the hospital, then the healthcare workers (most of the time nurses) will take care of your baby’s first bath. In case the baby is delivered somewhere else, you’ll have to make sure that the healthcare worker cleans your baby while leaving the vernix on the baby’s skin.
Vernix is a white waxy substance. It covers the baby’s skin when the baby is delivered and is out of the mother’s stomach. The white coating helps protect the baby from environmental germs and provide their skin with natural moisturisation.
However, they should clean other fluids and blood left on the baby due to the delivery procedure. While bathing, the room should be warm enough, having 37°C as the newborns are sensitive to temperature.
How To Give Baby A Sponge Bath
After the very first bath, you may need to bathe the baby using a sponge until the umbilical cord is attached to it to keep your baby clean. Sponge baths are also the best solution for the boys who are circumcised and may continue to it until the site heals.
The newborns are sensitive to temperature, so you should get the baby bathing done as quickly as possible while being careful. Also, the temperature of the room should be around 37°C.
However, do not give a sponge bath immediately after their feed time or when they are hungry, as the baby gets uncomfortable during the bath.
You should keep following supplies within your easy reach when you are giving your baby the sponge bath:
- Spare of sponges – Just in case you need more than one.
- Lukewarm water bowl – Ensuring that the water is lukewarm and clean.
- Thermometer – To check the temperature of the water.
- Clean mid-sized basin – To be filled with water to wash the baby.
- Mild baby soap – To keep the baby’s skin moisturised.
- Cotton washcloth – To dry the baby’s body during bathing.
- Baby towel – To cover and dry the baby’s body after the bath.
- Clean diaper – Put the diaper but make sure the diaper area is properly clean and dry.
- Baby blanket – To cover and keep the baby warm after the bath.
After gathering the supplies, you can begin the bathing of the baby by following steps:
1. Choose a warm room, having a temperature around 37°C.
2. Place all the essential supplies in that room.
3. Remove the outfit and diaper of the newborn.
4. Cover them in a baby towel to keep them warm.
5. Lay your baby on a flat surface near the area where you will give a bath.
6. Check the water temperature with the thermostat to ensure the water is lukewarm.
7. Remove the towel from only that part of the body you are going to clean.
8. Dip the clean sponge in warm water without soap.
9. Wipe your baby’s upper body part, their face and head – around eyes, chin, cheeks, nose, forehead, outer ear, and head hair. Then dry it with a soft cotton washcloth.
10. Again dip the sponge while adding one or two drops of mild soap into the warm water.
11. Use the soapy water on the sponge to clean around the rest of the baby’s body and simultaneously dry these areas with a washcloth.
12. Make sure to clean the skin folded areas, such as the neck, underarms, elbows, and knees.
13. Gently clean the genital area. If your baby was circumcised, avoid cleaning the penis to keep the wound dry until it completely heals.
14. Use the baby towel to dry the baby’s body.
15. Then put on a clean diaper and fresh outfit on the baby.
16. Finally, cover your baby with a hooded blanket to keep the baby warm from head to toe.
You can give your baby a sponge bath at any time. Generally, newborns should be washed thrice a week because washing them too much will make their skin dry. So, you should keep your baby clean and bathe them only when needed.
How To Bathe Baby In A Bathtub
Once the baby’s umbilical cord falls off on its own, then your baby is ready for the bath in the bathtub. As the baby gets older, you’ll require additional baby stuff to clean them. However, make sure that the bathtub in which you will clean your baby follows the current safety standards.
Some parents place the bathtub in the sink or directly use the sink to wash their baby. So, if you are using a sink to wash your baby, follow the bathtub baby bath steps.
You should follow the mentioned steps to give a bath to your baby in the bathtub safely:
1. Place the bathtub in a warm room having 37°C temperature so the baby doesn’t get cold while bathing in the bathtub.
2. Fill the tub with 2 to 3 inches of warm water, ensuring the baby’s head and neck stay above the water level.
3. Check the water temperature with a thermostat, or dip your wrist to ensure the water is warm enough for the baby.
4. Undress and remove the diaper of your baby.
5. Place them in the bathtub filled with lukewarm water from the bottom baby’s body parts.
6. Support the baby’s head with one hand all the time during the bath. At the same time, use your other hand for all the bathing procedures.
7. Gently pour the lukewarm water over your baby’s body parts to keep them comfortable and warm in the bathtub.
8. Use a wet washcloth to clean their face and head.
9. You can use a mild shampoo after placing the shampoo shield on the baby’s head to wash the scalp.
10. Wash the rest of their body from the top to down, using warm water and a wet washcloth.
11. Lift your baby out of the bathtub carefully and gently, as the baby might be a bit slippery or restless.
12. Pat them dry with a baby towel, and also be sure to dry the folded skin.
13. Dress them in a clean diaper and neat outfit.
14. Wrap them in a hooded blanket to keep the baby warm after the bath.
Generally, newborns do not need lotions for their skin as it is already moisturised. But you can apply mild baby moisturisers to their dry skin or massage your baby’s muscles to relax them after the bath.
Things To Remember:
To avoid mishaps, never leave your baby alone or unattended during bath – not even for a second. Ensure that the water is warm enough, and keep their head above the water level to avoid getting water into the baby’s mouth or nose in an uncomfortable way.
Also, use mild soap and shampoo to clean your baby. Dry and wrap them well after each bath. And apply mild baby moisturisers if your baby’s skin is dry.
Knowing the basics can help you give your baby a proper bath leading you to take care of their hygiene. Most importantly, you must make sure that your baby stays comfortable and safe during the bath.