After spending nine months enclosed in the mothers’ womb surrounded by the amniotic fluid, water is a natural environment for newborn babies. A bath is a wonderful opportunity for newborn babies to go back to their safe and familiar habitat.
Even so, the first few months of newborn baby care are daunting for a new mother. Everything seems challenging, feeding the baby, changing the baby and definitely bathing the baby. When you are not even sure how to hold your baby properly the idea of introducing your precious baby near water seems really intimidating. Well, it need not be, here is a lowdown on how to bathe a newborn baby.
For the first two weeks and till the umbilical cord stump heals completely it is advisable to only give a sponge bath to the infant. For this the following steps can be taken:
1) Gather these items in a room where the temperature is warm and has no draught of air: Warm water, Washcloth (Two), Sterile cotton pads, Rubbing Alcohol and cotton swabs for sterilizing the umbilical cord stump, hooded towel, clean clothes, nappy and nappy rash cream.
2) Remove the clothing of the baby while covering the body with the towel and with a wet washcloth start wiping from the cleanest parts of the body (face, neck, chest, stomach) to the dirtiest parts of the body(back, legs, nappy area and the folds of skin). In case your baby dislikes being unclothed completely remove each part of the clothing when you are ready to wash it. The nappy area should be the last one to be cleaned so that the nappy can be immediately changed after applying the nappy cream, once the nappy area is dried off. Gently pat the skin with the other washcloth to dry off the baby’s body.
3) Washing the hair-It is more than enough to wash the baby’s hair only once a week at least in the initial weeks. For this simply squeeze some water from a washcloth on the baby’s head and wipe it off with a dry washcloth. I don’t recommend using any soaps or shampoo for the baby for the first few weeks because the baby’s skin is very sensitive at this time.
4) Using the cotton swabs gently rub the alcohol around your baby’s umbilical cord area. Now put the clean clothes and nappy on your baby and hope that the baby will enjoy a good nap after the refreshing bath.
Once the umbilical cord heals in a couple of weeks, you can introduce your baby to the bathtub as well as baby soap and shampoo.
1) Choose any room which is spacious and is warm enough (it need not be only the bathroom). Have at hand the following things before undressing the baby:
A baby bathtub filled with 2-3 inches of comfortably warm water, Washcloths, baby shampoo and soap, hooded towel, nappy cream, clean clothes and nappy.
2) After undressing the baby completely gently slip the baby into the bath all the while holding on securely and providing support to the baby’s head. I recommend using a tub that provides for neck and head support like the OK Baby ONDA Evolution Bath which I used for my daughter. It is dual-anatomically shaped to provide support for even 0-6 month’s babies. It also has a rubber moulded seat with a non-slip surface. This basically leaves both your hands-free and you can comfortably bathe the baby.
3) Wash the baby using a washcloth again from the cleanest parts of the body to the dirtiest parts of the body so that the water will remain cleaner for a longer time. You can apply soap with the washcloth and once you are done on the front gently turn the baby on its side and clean the back and the buttocks.
4) Rinse the baby using a fresh washcloth. The hair can be shampooed twice or thrice a week using a no-tears formula unless the baby has a cradle cap.
5) After wrapping in the towel, pat dry the baby and dress.
6) MOST IMPORTANTLY NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR BABY UNATTENDED IN THE BATHTUB EVEN FOR A SECOND, SO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS AT HAND.
INDIANA’S PICKS FOR A FUN-FILLED BATH TIME
1. Johnson’s baby skincare wipes
2. Chicco Moisturising bath foam (0+)
3. Mee Mee Bath toys
4. A personalised hooded towel from
5. Shampoo from All We Know the range of Mothercare
6. OK Baby ONDA Evolution bathtub
Some tips for making bath time more enjoyable for you and the baby:
- A few drops of baby oil in the bath water is good for moisturising the baby’s skin.
- Use Zinc and Castor oil based nappy cream which will form a barrier between the baby’s skin and the urine. In case a rash occurs use a titanium salts based nappy cream.
- A common cause of babies crying during bath is due to water getting into their eyes. While washing the head or the face, make sure you protect their eyes using your hands or a visor so that water doesn’t enter their eyes.
- Massage the baby before the bath so that the baby will be calmed down and will not be fussy during the bath.
- I always used to put on songs before I went to give a bath to my daughter as they distracted her and made the bath a lot more fun.