You’ve ticked off most things on your baby to-do list; furnishing the nursery, stocking up on baby essentials and gear, and of course, brought bubba home from the hospital. Now’s the time to put theory into action, but an unexpected hurdle most new parents face revolves around the newborn’s first bath. When and how exactly should the baby get his first bath? What do parents have to prepare? What is the correct water temperature? These questions may lead to bath time seeming more intimidating than it really has to be.
In actual fact, bath time can be one of the best bonding activities between parent and child. And it is a great way to help bubs wind down for the night. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll find there’s nothing to fear. Read on to learn tips that will make bath time a total breeze.
#1 Give sponge baths in the first few days
Experts recommend delaying the first bath till the little one is a few days old so don’t rush into giving the baby a full-on bath. Especially if your newborn still has the umbilical cord stump, opt for sponge baths instead to avoid getting it wet. The good news is, bathing baby two to three times a week should be enough as long as the nappy area, as well as his hands and face, are kept clean.
When sponge bathing baby, avoid getting the umbilical stump wet. Keep baby warmly wrapped in a towel while gently sponging down one limb at a time and patting dry after. Additionally, it may be difficult for new parents to cope alone, so be sure to have another parent or family member assist you during this period of time.
#2 Prepare everything you’ll need
It is important to have everything you’ll need ready to go even before getting baby ready for bath time. For first-time parents, it will be easier to organise your supplies accordingly. Clean washcloths, baby soap, bath towel and a plastic cup for pouring water over baby should go in the bathroom, while the changing mat, fresh diapers, nappy products should within close reach of the changing area. Also, remember to wash your hands to get rid of any germs that could be passed on to the baby.
#3 Set up the tub
Ensure that the baby tub is set securely on a flat surface top, and lay a rubber bath mat or a towel at the bottom to minimise any sliding around. Fill the tub with five to eight centimetres of room temperature water.
#4 Use the head-to-toe method
Keep baby covered with a warm washcloth to retain body heat, and make sure to support baby’s head at all times. Start from the head down. After wetting the body using the plastic cup, take a soft washcloth and gently wipe down your little one’s facial area, behind its ears, around the neck and genital area. Pay extra attention to areas where dirt can easily be trapped, such as the rolls and creases on bubba’s chubby arms and legs. Bath time should be limited to just five minutes to avoid baby catching a cold.
#5 Soaps, powders and lotions aren’t really necessary
Lathering up with baby soaps and shampoos may seem like the natural thing to do, but experts reveal that using warm water and a cloth is more than enough to get baby clean. Similarly, babies don’t actually need additional lotion or moisturiser to keep their skin plump and soft – opt for all natural coconut or sunflower oils to treat any dry patches you spot.
#6 The final wrap and dress
Once every step has been completed, carefully lift baby out of the tub and into a soft and dry towel, and quickly pat dry. Make sure every inch of bubs is dry, including within their little folds and creases. After which you’ll be ready to put on a fresh diaper and clothes.