Bathing your Baby
One of the most special moments with a baby is bath time. I remember the moments just before I bathed my newborn for the very first time and I was so nervous. But when I got the hang of bath time I used to look forward to it as it was such a happy experience for both of us.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby?
Newborns don’t need to be bathed as often as toddlers. Too frequent bathing can dry out their delicate skin. A bath two or three times a week is enough to keep your newborn clean. Between baths ensure to wash baby’s face and bits regularly. However if you enjoy giving bub a bath every day for bonding, play or to ensure a good sleep then go for it.
Big Bath or Baby Bath?
From a shallow big bath, to a bath dam, to sharing a shower, to in sink bathing or bathing in baby bath, how you choose to bathe your little one depends on many factors. It is really up to you to pick what works best for your family and where you happen to be at bath time.
If you don’t have a bath and are not into showers I highly recommend the Skip Hop Moby Soft Spot Sink Bather as it is perfectly sized to cradle newborns and infants.
I personally preferred bathing my newborn in a baby bath and when she was older I moved her to the big bath so she could kick and splash about. I would set everything up on the dining table as that was the warmest spot in the house and when bath time was over I would transfer her to the towel and dry her off and give her a little massage all on the table which she loved and I didn’t have to worry about moving her around the house.
The best baby bath on the market today is the Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling 3-Stage Bath which has a mesh sling perfect for newborns which can be removed for older bubs.
Setting Up the Bath Area
It is so important to have everything set up and within arms reach before you pop baby in the water. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to wrangle a wriggly wet newborn while trying to find a clean towel or a fresh nappy.
Here are some things you will want close by before hand:
- Soft towel
- Baby oil
- Baby shampoo
- Face washer
- Cotton Balls
- Change of clothes
- Fresh nappy
Baby & Bath water
Babies have very sensitive skin, which means that hot water can scald them very quickly. A safe temperature for a child’s bath is between 37°C and 38°C (or about 36°C for a newborn). A special purpose bath thermometer can help you get this just right and ensure the bath doesn’t get too cold.
I recommend the Skip Hop Moby Floating Bath Thermometer as it’s LCD screen shows the temperature, and flashes red when too hot, blue when too cold and green when just right.
Do not over fill the bath. You only need about 8cm – 10cm for newborns and water to the hip for sitting bubs.
Never ever ever ever leave a child unattended in the bath even for a second. Never leave a baby with older siblings to supervise as they may not recognise when a small child is in danger, or react as quickly as an adult.
It’s Bath Time!
Before you place your newborn in the water, undress them down to their nappy and use a damp face washer and warm water to cleanse their face. If it is cold pop a towel on them as you do this. Use a damp cotton ball to wipe clean their eyelids. Wipe from the inside out and use a fresh cotton ball for each wipe.
Once you are done, remove your baby’s nappy and give their bottom and genitals a clean before putting her in the bath.
When you lower her into the tub, do so feet first keeping a secure hold on your baby, but one that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable. Support your baby’s head and torso with your arm, using the other hand to wash. You can do this by wrapping your arm around your baby’s back. When the time comes to wash their back and buttocks, shift your baby so they are leaning forward on your arm.
If you have a baby bath with a sling then you can lay bub on the sling freeing up both arms and giving your back a break but always keeps one hand at the baby.
You can gently pour water over your baby during the bath to keep her warm. Many babies feel very vulnerable when they first start having baths. To make them feel a little more comfortable it’s a good idea to place a soft face washer on them which also keeps them warm. Then only expose the areas that you are washing. Plain water is often enough to clean bub. I used to add a few drops of organic baby oil in the tub which helped to clean and moisturise at the same time. If bub needs a better clean then use a gentle baby safe moisturising soap.
When bub gets older and you move them into a big tub it is a good idea to line the bath with a rubber mat to prevent slipping. My kids are much older but we still use the Skip Hop Moby Bath Mat at bath times to prevent slipping and it is super cute too!
One thing to watch when they are older is the bath. I don’t know how many baths ended in tears due to one of my kids whacking their heads on the hard cold top. This is easily fixed with a super cute that fits most taps
When bath time is over remove baby and dry them off with a towel. Now is also a good time to give them a massage which can help them relax for sleep time. Then get them dressed and give them one of those beautiful cuddles where you hold their warm little body breathe in their baby smell.