How to Bath a Newborn

You don’t need to bath a baby every day. You should aim for 2-3 times a week, with a ‘Top and Tail’ wash in between. But if your kids are like mine, (prone to poonamis and love messy play), there’s no reason why they can’t have a bath every night!

Bath time is a great part of that all important ‘bedtime routine’ in our hope to get our little ones off to the land of zzzzzzzzz. 

Our daughter’s first bath was less of the prepared, calm, bonding experience you read about on parenting webistes. It was more of a state of emergency after major poomani situation. This resulted in 5 minutes of my husband Matt racing around the house grabbing what we needed while I got covered in poo paste! Joy!

After this experience, we learnt very quickly how best to bath a baby!

It can be a little nerve wracking the first time, so here’s our top tips so it’s more of the fun milestone you read about.

  1. Be prepared. You never know when a state of a poonami emergency hits, so it’s best to be prepared! If you have the space to lay out what you need so it’s to hand when the proverbial hits the fan, we would definitely recommend it!
  2. What you need:
    • A warm room.
    • Bath (a baby bath placed inside the bath tub is ideal as it’s easier to fill and drain. That way you can also avoid bath error number 2 in our household when we had to move the bath from the floor to the bath; ooops!).
    • Towel.
    • Cotton pads.
    • Fresh nappy.
    • Clean clothes.
  3. Water temperature:
    • The water should be warm, not hot. Mix it well so there are no hot patches.
    • A temperature of 37oC is ideal. There are lots of baby bath thermometers and baths with thermometers in them on the market and these are great for getting the temperature right. If you don’t have one of these, you can test the water by placing your elbow in. If it doesn’t feel hot or cold, it’s the right temperature (this is a great sanity check too).
  4. Face and Hair First:
    • Before putting your baby in the bath, clean their face and hair first.
    • Lye your little one on a changing mat and take off all their clothes except their vest and nappy. Wrap them in a towel to keep them warm.
    • Dip the cotton pad in the water and squeeze the excess out. Wipe gently around one eye from the nose outwards. Use a fresh cotton pad to wash the other eye. This helps to stop spreading any stickiness or infection from one eye to the other.
    • Use another fresh cotton pad to clean around your little one’s ears, but not inside them. Wash the rest of your little one’s face, neck and hands in the same way and pat them dry with the towel.
  5. Get In the Water’s Lovely….
    • Take off their vest and nappy and clean away any mess before getting them into the bath.
    • Lower your little one into the bath and lock your hand around the top of their arm furthest from you.
    • Your arm will naturally support their head and shoulders as a kind of pillow, keeping their head out of the water.
    • Wash your baby with your other hand, making sure you get around their neck, under armpits and into the lovely chunky arm and leg creases!
    • Your little one will still have their umbilical cord stump for about 5-15 days after birth. To avoid infection, try not to get it wet. If you use cotton pads or a face cloth, it can really help to avoid getting water on it for those 2 weeks.
  6. Drying Off:
    • Carefully lift you little one out, wrap them in a towel and pat them dry. Make sure you dry in those skin creases too!

In the inevitable sleep deprived state you’ll be in when you have a newborn, it’s easy to forget something you need for bath time. If you do forget something, lift your baby out of the bath, get them dry and take them with you to get it. Either that, or do what we did….shout your partner / someone else in the house REALLY LOUDLY to get it for you. That way you can tick off rule number one of bath time; never leave your baby baby alone in the bath. 

Happy bubbles!

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