Especially if you are a new parent, you are probably a little nervous about beginning to bathe your newborn. While this is understandable, however, you really shouldn’t worry: the procedure is actually pretty simple. You will need to bath your baby every 2-3 days (if you do it more frequentlyt, it can easily dry out their delicate skin) and until the umbilical cord stump falls off, it is best to give the baby sponge baths.
However, once the stump falls off, you can graduate safely to tub baths. Here is how to bathe a newborn safely.
How to Bathe a Newborn:
Step One: Gathering Supplies
Get your supplies together, including the small plastic bathing tub, mild soap, washcloth, cup, towel, clothing and a clean diaper. It is important to do this first because you do not want to have to leave the baby unattended in the bath for a single moment to go get something you have forgotten! Also, make sure the temperature in the room is warm so your baby won’t get chilled.
Step Two: Tub Filling
Fill the tub up with several inches of warm water. Test the temperature of the water on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is not too warm, though! Water temperature is a very important part of tub safety.
Step Three: Undressing
Bring your baby to the bathing area and undress her completely; toss the dirty clothes into the laundry hamper and dispose of the used diaper. Because your baby can get chilled easily, it is important to make sure that the room is warm when you are preparing it for a bath, so be sure it is at the right temperature before you begin this step.
Step Four: Entering Tub
Slide the baby gently into the bathtub, feet first. Make sure that you are giving the baby adequate support behind the head and neck. Begin to pour cupfuls of the water over her to keep her warm during the bath.
Step Five: Washing
Begin to wash your baby; most parents like to do this from top to bottom and front to back to make sure that everything gets cleaned. Begin with the baby’s head and wash it gently with soap, then rinse and dry it. You can also use a gentle no-tears, baby shampoo to do this task. Next, clean the baby’s face, paying specially attention to the eyes and nose. Clean one eye with a corner of a washcloth, then switch corners to clean the other eye. This will help prevent any spread of infection from one eye to the other. After that you can wash the rest of the baby’s front, then turn him gently over and, still with good support, wash her back side. Be extra careful around the genital areas. Also be sure to use a mild, non-perfumed and dye-free soap to avoid allergic reactions.
Step Six: Rinsing Off
Once your baby has been washed, make sure to rinse her thoroughly with more cupfuls of water, then carefully lift her out of the tub. This can be nerve-wracking the first few times you do it, as babies are very slippery when they are wet. For safety, be sure to wrap one of your fingers around the baby’s thigh to secure your grip. It is best if you have a partner on stand-by, ready to receive the baby with a towel to dry her off. A two-person approach can make you feel more comfortable, especially when you are first learning these important skills. Again, wrapping up the baby like this immediately will prevent chilling.
Step Seven: Drying and Dressing
Dry your baby off thoroughly, if possible using a hooded towel which will keep the baby from getting too cold during this part of the bathing process. Dry the baby gently but thoroughly, than put her into a new diaper and clothes. Some parents like to put a hat on the baby at this point, again to keep them from getting too cold. Remember, babies do not have good thermal regulation, meaning they can’t control their body temperatures very well. That is why keeping them warm and covered as much as possible is so important.
Again, the first few times that you do this, you might feel awkward or nervous. But eventually, you will get a feel for how to do it and become more comfortable with the process. The length of the bath can vary. If your baby seems to like being bathed, it is ok to stretch the time out a bit and let her enjoy herself! If, on the other hand, she cries all the way through, it is best to be brief and get the job done with little fuss. Either way, how to bath a newborn is an important skill to learn for newborn care – and you will probably get the hang of it quickly!