Bathing Your Newborn Baby: Steps You Must Take
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Bathing your newborn baby is a task that requires careful understanding. Doctors generally recommend a sponge bath with a lukewarm, damp cloth to clean all parts of his/her body. A baby’s face and hands should be gently cleaned. Once the umbilical cord stump dries up and comes off and the area undergoes healing, a tub bath will be possible. Use a small tub filled with water that is warm, but not hot. Use a smaller tub, not a standard sized one.
During the first year, too many frequent baths are not advisable as this can dry out your baby’s skin. Warm water is essential. Babies tend to catch a cold if they spend too much time in the water. If your baby cries, try to keep the bath for a minimal duration. Make sure you get a good grip on the baby.
Some Important Pointers
- Never leave your baby alone or with a stranger even for a single minute; in a case of any interruptions such as a ringing phone or a doorbell, take the infant along with you.
- Don’t place the child in the tub while the water is still running from the tap because it can get too hot or cold very quickly.
- Set the water heater to 120 degrees F; a temperature of 140 degrees F or more means a child can get third-degree burns.
- Don’t leave your child unattended;a baby can drown in less than an inch of water and within 60 seconds.
How to Give a Bath
Gather all the bathing supplies such as mild soap, washcloth and a plastic cup. Be prepared with clean clothes, a fresh diaper, and a towel. Ensure that the room is warm so that the baby does not feel chilled.
Next, keep about 3 inches of water height making it warm but not hot towards the inside of your wrist. It should not be more than 90 degrees F or a few degrees less.
Bring your baby to the tub and remove the clothes and diaper. If your baby cries, keep the diaper on as this can give him or her an increased feeling of security and reassurance in the water.
Place your baby in the water, feet meeting the tub’s floor with a hand behind her/his neck or head for support. Pour water over the baby’s body so that the bathwater doesn’t run too cold.
Always use mild soap and use less quantity. Use it sparingly because too much water dries the baby’s skin. Use either a soft washcloth or the gentle touch of your hand to lather the baby’s body. Using a washcloth immersed in soapy liquid, gently clean the baby’s scalp. In case there is any dried mucus material in the corners of the nostrils or eyes of the baby, dab it several times to soften the matter before wiping it out. Routine washing of the baby’s private parts is needed to maintain hygiene.
Rinse your baby with cups of water and wipe the body clean with a washcloth. Then, lift the baby gently with one hand supporting the neck and the other supporting the bottom. Wrap the fingers around the thigh and have an adult help. Wrap the baby in a hooded dry towel and in case the skin is peeling from birth, a mild baby lotion can be applied.
Dry the baby well in the creases as too much moisture can cause skin irritation. Pat the skin dry to avoid skin damage.
Benefits of Bathing Your Baby
- Bath time can become the highlight of the day through the boosting of the parent-baby bond. The time is spent together and the mother-child bond intensifies on the basis of bonding.
- Learning experiences are there in plenty including playing games with your baby to letting your little one kick the water and create a splash.
- Soothing fussy babies is easy as your own bath time memories will tell you. Babies may find the going tough at first, but with a little bit of care, sensitivity and understanding on your part, the process can become easier.
- Working on improving the baby’s quality of sleep? Then, there’s even more reasons a bath can be beneficial for your baby.
Bathing the Baby: Tips for Infant Care
Set a routine: When you give your baby a bath every few days or alternate sponge and tub baths, a nighttime routine can set your baby’s circadian clock. The sleep time gets regulated in this fashion. Bedtime baths need to be relaxing so plan accordingly.
Gather supplies: Everything you need should be at your call. From the baby safe soaping and shampoo lotions to the cotton washcloths, a blanket, some towel and a small tub with warm water. Check for clean diapers and clothes and baby lotion or cream after the bath.
Keep the Bathing Water Warm: Whether you are using an infant tub or a small bassinette, the aim should be ensuring the bathing water is warm. The water should be warm enough so check with your elbow or the inside of your wrist. Why is this so? Quite simply because the water needs to be comfortably warm and these areas are more sensitive than the tips of your fingers.
Apart from these tips, some general points you need to keep is always pat dry rather than rubbing the baby’s skin because it is soft and newly formed. Also, go light on the soap because baby’s skin is very sensitive and an infant may develop rashes or allergies to excessive soap. Wash each body part gently. Remember infants can feel pain if they are handled clumsily. Be careful while handling your baby.
Always support the head and the neck as well as the back and the feet. Check for any soft and mild baby shampoos and lotions specially created in stores. Otherwise, a problem can arise due to the use of strong soap. Be aware of how to choose a time the baby finds convenient for the bath. Time it with the period when the baby is relaxed. Be gentle and careful while drying the body as well. A well-bathed baby is a happy baby…keep your child in good health through soothing baths.