Your baby’s first bath, another magical first that comes along with becoming a parent. Through all the magic may come some anxiety and the question “Am I doing it right” will arise. Relax! We’ve put together some tips to help you and to make the process run as smooth as possible for you and your baby. Bear in mind, the first few weeks your newborn will only need sponge baths. After the umbilical cord falls off, is a great time to introduce the bathing process. After a while, bath time can turn into the perfect opportunity to engage your baby’s senses, bonding and splish-splash fun. Bath time can also form part of baby’s bedtime routine, followed by a massage. Baby will feel relaxed and fall asleep quicker.
When you are ready:
Some parents choose to bath baby in the morning, when baby is are alert. Others prefer to make baby bath time part of a calming bedtime routine. Its up to you. Choose a time when you’re not rushed or likely to be interrupted. Make sure the room is warm (24 °C) – Babies lose body heat. Be sure to clothes all the window’s and doors (we don’t want baby to get sick!)
Gather everything you may need for bath time:
- Thermometer for the water– The water should be around 37 °C – Test the water with your hand or wrist too – it should feel warm but not hot – Did you know that there are baby bath’s available on the market with a built in heat plug? Check out the Stokke bath on our website.
- Warm and soft towel to dry baby (a hooded towel works best) You can add a blanket over if it’s cold or during winter
- A soft sponge/washrag and baby cleanser (according to the Johnsons website: “Water Isn’t Enough for Your Baby’s Bath. Cleansing with water alone removes only about 65% of oil and dirt. It doesn’t remove the fat-soluble impurities left behind undernappies and clothes, and if they remain, they can cause the delicate skin barrier* to break down. And water alone can actually dry your baby’s skin. Repeated use of water only, especially when hard or chlorinated, has been shown to cause moisture loss from the skin cells, leaving baby skin irritated or red. A gentle baby-specific cleanser like JOHNSON’S® baby TOP-TO-TOE® wash is recommended to help cleanse effectively”)
- A Bowl of clean (boiled and cooled down) water to wash your baby’s face
- Clean cotton pads
- Fresh Clothes and nappy ready for when baby is dry
- If you have a boy, you might want to have an extra wipe and towel ready. He will most likely urinate as soon as his genitals come in contact with fresh air.
Fill the tub with too much water – it should be a shallow bath (8cm – 10cm deep with water)
Step 1 – Face First
It’s easier to wash your baby’s face first before they are in the water and you start the bath. Wash your baby’s face without any soap or cleanser. This is where the cotton pads and clean water come in. Wash with soft cotton pads dipped in water and squeezed out. When cleaning around the eye area, go from the nose outwards. If baby has dried mucus around the eyes or nose, gently dab it to soften and then wipe. This will help you not to get water in their mouth, nose or eyes. When cleaning baby’s ears, clean only what you can see; avoid putting anything deep into your baby’s ear. Use a fresh cotton pad and clean around the ear. Clean under the chin and then dry their face.
Step 2 – The Body
There are two ways you can go about washing your baby’s body:
- After undressing baby (bear in mind to clean your baby’s genitals and bottom first if the nappy that you remove is soiled) Use one arm to support your baby’s neck and head and gently slide them into the bath. If you are using a bath support or bath with a built-in support like the Schnuggle Bath or Stokke (which is highly recommended and will make it much easier for you) you won’t have to support your baby’s head all the time. If not, keep supporting. Use your free hand to wash your baby. Wash baby gently with a sponge and remember too much soap can irritated sensitive areas such as the genitals.
- After undressing baby, you can rub (with your hands) baby’s body everywhere with the cleaner and then just gently rinse baby in the tub. Most parents prefer to do it this way.
Should I wash my newborn’s hair?
If you think your baby’s hair needs washing, go ahead. With your free hand gently massage a drop of mild baby shampoo into your baby’s scalp. Rinse the shampoo with a cup of water or a damp washcloth, cupping one hand across your baby’s forehead to keep soap and water out of baby’s eyes.
Step 3 – Rinse
To keep bath time extra gentle, carefully use a cup to pour water over your baby and rinse away soap (make sure all the soap is off their skin) Being mindful of your baby’s face when doing so.
Step 4 – Dry
After gently removing your baby from the tub, still supporting their head and neck, quickly wrap them in a towel so they stay warm. Make sure to thoroughly dry every cute little crease to help avoid irritating their sensitive skin. Use a patting motion rather than rubbing their sensitive skin dry.
Step 5 – Moisturize and Massage
Before dressing your baby, use a gentle, fragrance-free lotion to moisturize and leave their skin feeling soft and smooth. This is also a great time for baby massage, which can be a special bonding moment for you and your baby.
Step 6 – Dress baby
Dress your baby in clean clothes, wrap a warm blanket around him/her, and VOILA!
- If you bathe your baby after a feeding, consider waiting for your baby’s tummy to settle a bit first.
- Not all babies will like having a bath in the beginning, so if you get a few tears, don’t stress.
- Every baby is different, find a routine that works best for you.
- NEVER EVER leave your baby alone in the tub!!
- Clean only what you see.