Bathing Your Newborn Baby

Bath time is a great time for bonding, playing and, of course, hygiene. Here are a few tips and pointers to help you have fun while bathing your baby, as well as feeling confident when it comes to giving the bath.

As long as you clean your baby's diaper area well after each bowel movement, washing every two or three days is plenty. You may want to spot-clean daily in areas that get particularly sweaty, oily or dirty: the diaper area, face, neck and skin creases.

Some healthcare professionals suggest you wait until the umbilical cord has fallen off and the circumcision site has healed to give your baby a tub bath.

Before you begin, make sure you have everything you need:

  1. Washcloth
  2. Mild soap
  3. Baby shampoo
  4. Cotton balls
  5. Hooded towel
  6. Rubbing alcohol
  7. Cotton swabs
  8. Diaper
  9. Clean clothes

Giving a Sponge Bath

Begin by washing your newborn baby's face with plain water, especially behind his ears and under his chin.

Wash your baby's chest, arms and hands, making sure to cleanse thoroughly between his fingers. If you use a mild soap and cotton ball or washcloth, rinse immediately to avoid drying or irritating the area.

Wash your baby's back. With a washcloth or towel, gently pat dry the upper half of his body. Vigorous rubbing could irritate your baby's skin.

Wash your baby's genital area from front to back, then the legs and feet, especially between the toes. Gently pat dry the lower half of his body.

To wash your baby's hair, squeeze a bit of water on top of his head with a washcloth. Apply a dab of baby shampoo (a no-tears formula) and gently massage the scalp. Don't worry about the soft spot; it is actually tough underneath, and you can do no harm as long as you're gentle. Remove all traces of the shampoo with a washcloth dipped in warm water.

When you're finished, dry your baby thoroughly with a towel and put on a fresh diaper and clean clothes.

Giving a Tub Bath<
It may be easier for you to wash your baby's hair before putting her into the tub. First, hold your baby in a football hold and squeeze a little water on top of her head with a washcloth. Then, apply a dab of baby shampoo (a no-tears formula) and gently massage the scalp. Remove all traces of the shampoo with a washcloth dipped in warm water. Dry gently but thoroughly so your baby won't feel chilled.

To lower your baby into the bath, support her shoulders with one hand and her legs or bottom with the other. Even if she cries-and she probably will the first few times-keep talking to her as you place her gently and confidently into the tub. (Make those early baths quick if your baby seems upset.

As you bathe your baby, keep one hand under her armpit so that her head stays out of the water, and use your other hand to wash, then rinse, the front of her body.

Now wash and rinse the back of her body.

After your baby is clean and rinsed, lift her gently onto a towel and dry her thoroughly. Put on a clean diaper and clothes.

Bath Time Check List

  • Never leave the room for any reason while giving your baby a bath.
  • When bathing baby, keep the room warm and draft-free.
  • Make sure your hot water heater is set lower than 120 degrees and always test bathwater temperature on the inside of your wrist first.
  • For small babies, use a towel in the bottom of the sink or tub so she doesn't slip
  • Avoid strong soaps and shampoos made for adults.
  • Never use soap products on baby's face.
  • Don't clean the insides of baby's ears.
  • Babies don't like their faces covered, so use a washcloth to clean one area of the face at a time
  • To wipe eyes, start near the nose and wipe outward.
  • Wash hair more frequently if your baby develops "cradle cap," a scaly, yellow buildup on the scalp.
  • To "cure" cradle cap, rub baby oil into the scalp and let sit for half an hour. Wash hair with shampoo, using a brush to lather up, and then remove scales with a comb. Wash one more time.
  • Cover baby's head with a towel as soon as you are done washing the hair. This will help prevent your baby loosing heat.

Babies can be so cute when they're in the bath. And they can also do some pretty humorous things, both in and out of the tub. If you have a funny story that you would like to share about your baby, then visit Pregnancy Stories to post your tale today.

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