Bathing your baby for the first time is an exhilarating experience for new parents. It is a perfect time to connect with your tiny newborn as they splash and spatter in the warm water. It is a joy ride for both the parents and the baby. However, managing a delicately small and slippery body can be a little challenging with all the what and how questions in mind.
To make bath time exciting rather than frantic, here is a start-up guide to help you understand the essential steps for a smooth bath day with your newborn.
Bath time can be the perfect time for new moms to bond with their children and can be started momentarily after birth. Some pediatricians, however, recommend postponing the bath until a few days after, to prevent washing off the waxy substance called vernix that covers the baby's sensitive body and provides a protective layer from environmental germs.
Your baby’s delicate skin only requires a bath two or three days per week for 10 to 15 minutes to keep their gentle and sensitive skin from drying out. Make sure you only use washcloths and sponges until the umbilical cord falls off.
There should be a flat surface, such as changing tables or bathroom counters layered with a thick towel in a warm environment, ideally around 23.8°C. Deal with one area at a time and use the sponge wrung carefully in soap water gently for cleansing, starting from the ears and making the way to the bottom, leaving the head for the end.
Make sure you give close attention to those cute curvy creases under the arms, legs, and fingers for better cleaning. Finally, dab the towel lightly on the skin instead of rubbing them.
Switching to a bathtub is a big step like all the others when it comes to your little angel. Contemplate shifting to a tub only when the umbilical cord falls off and the baby is completely healed and ready to have fun.
If your baby is uneasy in the tub, don't be worried, just return to the sponge baths. Bathing is an adaptive process for both the baby and the parents. Avoid bath seats or rings until the baby starts sitting on their own, as they are not suitable for them in the starting years.
The first few tub baths should be quick and easy with very little warm water, about 2 or 3 inches. Gently hold and support the baby’s head in one arm while the body in the other and lightly cleanse with soapy water.
When lowering them in the tub, always go with the feet first with a secure but tender hold overall. Shield the eyes with your hands and wash over the baby’s chest with handfuls of water to keep them warm. Bathtub inserts or a slip-resistant backing can be perfect for the first few baths.
With a wide range of baby bath products in the market, it is vital to use those that are produced with natural ingredients and tear-free formulas with no included chemicals such as polyurethane and paraben.
With natural oats extracts and hypoallergenic soap-free formula, AVEENO® Baby Daily Moisture Wash & Shampoo is developed for dry or sensitive skin that soothes, cleanses, and nourishes. You will love the light fragrance it leaves on the body.
If you are specifically looking for a shampoo for itchy skin, try the AVEENO® Baby Soothing Relief Foaming Wash and Shampoo formulated with Vitamin E and Natural Oat Extract. Oat is effective against sensitive skin types as it is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. The Natural Oat Extract will soothe the skin as well as nourish it. It has a nice foamy texture for a pleasant bath experience for your little bubba.
Do not forget to moisturize your baby’s skin with the AVEENO® Baby Soothing Relief Moisturizing Cream after each bath. It is hypoallergenic, parabens-free and clinically proven to moisturize for 24 hours.
There is no doubt that a splashing and giggling sight of a newborn covered with bubbles is the cutest of all, so make sure you already have a camera by your side to capture these irreplaceable moments.
It is important to have the perfect temperature conditions in the bathing room as newborns tend to lose body heat rapidly. According to healthline, the ideal room temperature is 20° to 22.2°C.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the water temperature for the newborn should not exceed 48.8°C. Otherwise, it will be scorching hot for the infant. Ensure that the water is pleasantly warm rather than hot and only reaches the bottom of the baby.
The best way to check the temperature is by dipping your elbow instead of your fingers, as it is more sensitive. Fill the bath with just enough water to wash your baby. If your baby can sit up, fill the bath to the depth of their belly button.
Using clean water for the baby’s face and eyes (no soap)
The easiest way to clean your little one’s face is warm water, without any soap. Wipe lightly from inside to outside corners of the eyes using a different cotton with every use. Then clean under the chin and neck followed by the ears. A giggling newborn can instantly get upset when it is time to clean their face but singing and gently talking to them will make them happy again.
If you notice redness, white flakes, or itchiness on the skin, try the AVEENO® Baby Soothing Relief Hydrating Facial Gel. You can use it on your little one’s face daily.
How to hold the baby
If you are a mom-to-be, it is natural to feel distressed and freaked out about how to hold your newborn. It can be a delicate task until you get a hold of it with a bit of technique and lots of motherly love.
The technique is to always support your newborn’s head and neck while picking them up. When picking them up from the crib, slide your one hand under your baby’s head and neck while sliding the other under the bottom. Once you’ve got a good hold, you can bring them close to your chest and let them rest against your chest.
It can be a little intense at the start, but once you hold your little bundle of cuteness, you will know what to do right away.
Keeping baby engaged with toys
Bath times are a great way to engage with your newborn while cleaning them as it creates a bond of love and trust. Some newborns become fussy in the bath but can easily be distracted with some activities.
Create small waves and splashes in the water, which they will learn to imitate quickly. Soon, your little angel will start splashing her hands and having fun. You can also sing them funny songs and melodies.
With just a few basic knowledge and techniques, bath time can be a ride filled with excitement for you and your baby. Your little angel will soon get adjusted to the whole routine and will be squealing gleefully.