Baby, Pregnancy, and Parenting Information

Giving Baby a Bath

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Once the umbilical cord has come off your baby you can start giving him baths! Some babies love baths, other babies detest them; if you are lucky yours will love his bath. What do you need to know before you start however and how can you make it easier?

giving-your-baby-a-bath.jpgChecklist:
What items do you need to have prepared before you put your baby in the bath in order to make your job go smoother?

    ____ A sparkling clean baby bath (or sink) with soft insert (towel or sponge, also clean)
    ____ Running water
    ____ Baby soap
    ____ A warm room
    ____ Wash cloth and small face washing cloth
    ____ Clean baby towel
    ____ Clean outfit
    ____ Two clean diapers (just in case)
    ____ A baby!

Tips:

  • Have everything ready before you start the bathing process.
  • Make sure the room is warm – if necessary, use a space heater to help warm it up.
  • In a small bowl, mix a little baby soap with warm water. Use this solution for washing so you won’t have to worry about getting too much soap on an already slippery baby.
  • Want to remember these early days? Get someone else to take a picture or two of your little one in the bath.

Step-by-step:
1. Choose a clean place to bathe your baby. The kitchen sink, since it’s higher it won’t strain your back as much, is a popular place for a baby to take their first bath. You can also use a baby bath. You will want to use a foam bath mat or washcloth at the bottom of your “tub” so that your baby doesn’t slip.

2. Make sure that the room is warm and draft-free and have everything – from soap to towel – ready.

3. Don’t plan on answering the phone or the door or using the facilities. Babies can drown quickly in as little as two inches of water so stay within arms reach of your baby at all times.

4. Fill the bath a few inches deep with warm water. Some babies don’t like the water running while they are in the bath. If this is your baby turn it off before you put him in.

5. Slowly get the baby undressed. Tell your baby what is going to be happening and make it sound like fun. Babies will learn what bath time is and get excited, often kicking and squealing if they know it is something you are excited about as well.

6. Slowly put your baby in the tub, supporting her neck and body the whole way as she gets used to it.

7. Start washing her face. Use a very small amount of soap. (We cut a soft towel into little strips for washing the baby’s face.) They really don’t like having their whole face covered, so just wash one small area at a time.

8. Some people will start with the head next and work their way down, but if your baby isn’t really dirty you may want to do the body first. Heat is lost through babies head so often if you wash their hair first and then wash their body they may get chilled. Don’t forget to get behind the ears, her neck and under the arms – all places where stuff can accumulate.

9. Wash your baby’s arms and legs. It’s amazing the lint that collects in their little fingers and toes, so make sure to rinse those areas well.

10. Clean around the belly button, and finally, the diaper zone. Remember to rinse this area thoroughly so that there isn’t soap left there that will irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.

11. Once you’ve washed the front of baby, it’s time to clean the back. Cup your hand around the baby’s neck and hold your little one up so that with the other hand, you can clean her back and rear.

12. Almost done! Lean your baby back and hold on tight, they are slippery! Place a hand under each arm, lean her slowly forward and pick her up out of the bath. Gently lay her down on the towel.

13. Dry off your baby thoroughly. Some babies like hooded towels (they are cute) and it’s comforting to them and keeps their wet heads warm. (Make sure the hood doesn’t descend into their eyes). Hood or no hood, make sure that you keep your little one’s head warm while you dry her.

14. Your baby’s clean! Time for a new diaper and a clean outfit.


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