Bathing a newborn baby
Childbirth marks the beginning of a string of wonderful and unfamiliar experiences for the whole family. The infant is about to discover the world, while you, parents, are assuming the most exciting role in life, that of a long grown kid that needs to grow up again along with his/her own child. Your everyday life will be full of challenges. In this article we will talk about one of them - the baby’s first baths.
What time of the day you bathe your baby depends on your own preferences, and on the once of the baby, of course. You may notice that evening baths calm the baby and promote deeper sleep.
Newborns do not sweat, nor get dirty like older kids. Therefore, a full daily bath is not always necessary. However, the baby's bottom should be cleaned regularly to reduce the appearance of rashes and skin irritations.
And for such a gentle creature, choose equally gentle cosmetics.
Bathing in a baby tub
This method would be especially suitable if you do not have a convenient sink or your bathroom is not heated.
- Choose the warmest (at least 25 C) and convenient room in your home to perform the refreshing ritual.
- Keep in mind that you will probably also get a little wet during the procedure, so it is better to protect yourself with a rubber apron.
- Pour water into the baby tub, but do not fill it up, as not the whole body of the baby needs to be submerged. According to some pediatricians, the ideal water level is between 5 and 8 cm.
- Prepare an additional vessel, too, from which to scoop clean water for the final rinse.
- Check the water temperature with a thermometer. It needs to be about 37 C. You could also test it without any special tools, by simply dipping your elbow in it. If the temperature is "pleasing" to this sensitive part of your arm, then it is suitable for your little one, as well.
- You could make the tub more comfortable by placing a towel or another soft padding on its bottom.
- Make sure that all necessary bath accessories (soaps, towels) are at your fingertips. Prepare also clean clothes, a diaper and a rash cream for after the bath.
- Clean the baby's bottom thoroughly before immersing it, so you don’t contaminate it the water.
- Put a special patch on the remainder of the umbilical cord to prevent it from getting wet, which facilitates infections.
- Hold the baby in your one arm, providing support for the head, neck and back, and use your other hand to pour water and to soap. Until you feel completely confident, it is best to secure the help of another pair of hands - that of the responsive dad, for example.
- Immerse the soles of your baby in the tub and observe its reaction. If no crying follows, slowly and gently soak the rest of its body.
- Soap the baby’s scalp and body, paying particular attention to the skin folds.
- Make the final rinse with clean water very carefully, so no water gets in the baby’s ears and nose, while also protecting its eyes from the dripping foam.
- Wrap your little one in a towel and let it rest on a surface suitable for massaging and changing, then dry it well using gentle absorbing movements. Massage it gently with special baby oil.
- Dress the baby with appropriate for the season clothes and don’t forget to apply rash cream on the area that is diapered.
Bathing under running water
You may find this method more comfortable than the first one. It doesn’t require most of the steps described above, but there are still some details you need to keep in mind.
- Be cautious with the water temperature, as it may change suddenly.
- Do not make the stream too strong, because it can irritate the baby’s delicate skin.
- Try not to keep water running for a long time on the same area of the body, as the baby may feel cold.
Some experts recommend avoiding bathing in a tub or under running water, until the remainder of the umbilical cord falls. If you decide to follow their advice, you can clean you baby by carefully rubbing it with a damp cloth or a sponge. For this purpose, you will need a container with warm water, in which to dip the cloth / sponge, and a waterproof pad, on which to lay your baby down.