Baby Bath Essentials
For some, bathing your baby is the most fun you can have as new parents. I wish it could be bath time every hour. Some newborns love it, for others it can be a real stressful time. Most doctors recommend a bath every other day and only washing hair once or twice a week. Always wash hands, feet and face at least twice a day (newborns tend to have their hands in their mouths a lot of the time). Always keep the diaper area clean to protect against rashes.
Suggestions for good clean fun:
Relax and play with the baby a little before you begin. Bath time should always be fun!
Temperature: Babies have very delicate skin and it can burn very quickly. The water should be around body temperature so either invest in a thermometer or test with the underside of your wrist. (32-35 degrees C/90-95 degrees F). Babies generally prefer a cooler bath than adults. Never put a baby in a bath with the water running as the temperature will change.
Get a grip: Use both hands as a wet baby is a slippery one. Use towel gloves for extra grip Invest in a baby bath with non-slip sponge on the bottom.
Speed bathing: Wash babies quickly so they don’t get a draft.
Air temperature: If it’s summer, switch the A/C off or block air ducts while bathing. You don’t want baby to get too cold. In winter, make sure the room is warm – turn the heat up to prepare a warm room.
After the bath: Wrap a towel around the baby covering his head and dry him off (not rubbing) gently patting. Make sure to dry all crevices, particularly under the neck. Until the umbilical cord drops off make sure the area is clean and dry. Never leave your baby unattended and always make sure you have everything you need at arms reach before putting your baby in the tub.
Bath Supplies: Below is a list of useful bath supplies which you can modify to suit your needs:
- Baby bath tub-use until they can sit up unassisted. There are a few different types: the traditional (newborn), the rest-on-rim (new born), bucket baths (newborn), bath seats/supports (4-6 months), & sit up baths.
- Baby shampoo
- Baby soap
- Washcloth or washcloth bath gloves
- Hooded fluffy towels
- Bathtub thermometer
- Baby lotion
- Baby powder
- Cotton balls/Q-tips (for circumcision, umbilical cord care, ear care)
- Alcohol (circumcision/umbilical cord)
Boy Care: The foreskin does not need any special cleaning. Normal bathing with plain water is best. Do not rub lathered soap around the foreskin as this will cause irritation. Do not pull the foreskin back and do not clean under the foreskin till at least 3 years of age. Never force the foreskin back at all. If the boy is circumcised, give the baby a sponge bath till healed.
Girl Care: After the bath, gently dry the vaginal area by dabbing with a soft towel and remember to always wipe from front to back
After a few months: Once your feeling confident, you can take a bath with your baby. This is a great way for fathers to bond with their babies, and a great family activity if your tub is big enough! Start by getting everything ready so you’re not scrambling for things last minute. It’s a good idea to enter the tub by yourself first, then reach out and pick up your baby. You want to avoid slipping while holding him. Enjoy this time with your baby, let him float with your hand supporting his head. Sing, splash, talk to your baby and play games. For more adventurous types try showering together. It’s a good idea to get him used to the water on his face at a young age. Whether you are having a bath or a shower together, a good idea is to set up an area on the floor of your bathroom that is safe to lay your baby down. This gives you an opportunity to enter the tub/shower safely, wash & rinse yourself before you bring your baby in, as well as lay him down before you get out of the tub. Have fun and take advantage of these times, before you know it you won’t be needed at bathtime!