Ask any parent about their first favorite moment with their newborn and many will tell you it was when they were bathing them; the warm water, the wide eyes, the gentle washing, and the squeals when they blew raspberries on their stomachs.
While bathing Baby is enjoyable for both parent and Baby, there’s a great deal of benefit to an evening bath. Putting a fussy baby, always supervised, in warm water is a great relaxation tool. bathing helps set a routine that makes bedtime easier too as Baby falls asleep faster and sleeps more soundly after a bath.
Until Baby’s umbilical cord stump has dried and dropped off, give them sponge baths. When the cord stump is gone, Baby is ready for their first real bath. You may be nervous at first, but by following these easy steps, apprehension will quickly disappear and you’ll enjoy valuable bonding time
First, assemble everything you need within arm’s reach:
Be sure to get everything together before you begin. If you forget any of these items, you’ll have to scoop up your baby, wet and cold, mid-bath to find it. Never EVER leave Baby alone in the water, no matter how little water there is.
Fill the basin with 2-3 inches of warm water. If you don’t have a basin, line a sink with a towel. The water temperature should be just warm to your touch. Swish the water around with your hand to ensure an even temperature throughout before putting Baby in the water.
Never put Baby under the faucet or in the tub or basin while water is running.
Hold the back of Baby’s head with one hand, and hold their bottom with the other hand. Gently slide them into the water. Keep your hand under Baby’s head for the entire bath. With your other hand, use a wash cloth and mild soap to gently wash Baby. Start with the face and eyes, from the inside to the outside. Warm arms, torso and then move down to their feet, bring sure to clean inside folds of neck, elbows and armpits.
Always use a baby safe soap and baby safe shampoo.
To clean Baby’s genitals, use a soft, clean cloth, gentle soap, and lukewarm water. For a girl, wash the genital area from front to back, and don’t forget to gently wipe between skin folds. If your baby boy has been circumcised, wipe his penis clean. If your baby boy is uncircumcised, there is no need to pull back his foreskin. For that tiny bottom, be sure to use a little soap and gently wipe just like during a diaper change.
If Baby has hair, you can wash their hair with a very small amount of baby shampoo. Rinse by tilting the baby’s head back and carefully sluicing water using the plastic cup down the back of the head, avoiding getting water in their face.
Babies lose body heat quickly so wash their hair last and immediately towel dry to prevent them from getting cold.
Wrap Baby in a plush towel and dry their face and body carefully. Dress them in clean diaper and clothes and then it’s off for a bedtime story!
Baby’s first bath should be safe, fun, safe, soothing and safe – did we mention safe? If you have any hesitation about bathing your newborn, call our office at 203-229-2000. We will be happy to help!