New Mom Essentials: 10 Important Tips for Newborn Baths
Giving your newborn a bath, especially for the first time, can be a nerveracking experience. Knowing the exact temperature of the water, the right products to use and whether to bathe baby in a tub or sink can be an overwhelming amount of information to remember. The good news is your newborn only needs a bath two to three times a week, starting with a sponge bath at first then moving to a baby bathtub and eventually to the big tub (when your little one can sit up and has outgrown the baby tub). So if you’ve been wondering how to properly bathe your little one, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled the top 10 tips every new mom needs to know before that first bath with your new baby.
Giving Your Newborn a Bath: 10 Simple Tips for New Moms
1. First…the sponge
Your newborn will most likely have their umbilical cord still attached when you decide it’s time for their first bath. For that reason, stick to a simple sponge bath every few days to keep the cord clean and dry. Newborn babies really don’t get that dirty, but do pay attention to the area under their chin where spit-up tends to land. For the first few baths you can even skip the soap and use lukewarm water instead of hot.
2. Schedule your baby’s baths
We all know that kids of all ages, but babies especially, thrive on routine. It can be reassuring for them to have an event at the same time each day or couple of days. A bath is a perfect addition to a night time routine. Plan on giving baby a bath no more than a couple of times a week; any more than that can be drying for baby’s sensitive skin. The ideal time for baby’s bath is about an hour after feeding and just before they go down for the night. The warm water, along with a white noise/music machine like Bubzi Co.'s Soothing Sleep Owl, can help soothe your baby and get them ready for sleep.
3. Gentle products only please!
Newborn babies have sensitive skin so make sure you’re choosing products that are free of chemicals and are as gentle as possible. Look for shampoos labeled tear-free as these are the best to use on baby’s hair (if they have any!) and are as gentle as possible.
4. Save the shampoo for last
Depending on how much hair your baby has, you may or may not choose to use shampoo. If you do decide to use it, do so towards the end of baby’s bath so they’re not sitting in the sudsy water. Having wet hair can also make baby feel colder so it’s best to wash the hair quickly and dry off ASAP after shampooing.
5. Have everything at the ready
Having everything you need for the bath out and ready to go before you start will make things easier for you and will make bathtime go more smoothly. The key items include gentle soap and shampoo, 1-2 cotton washcloths, a towel (or two), a plastic basin or baby tub filled with warm water, a clean diaper and a sleeper or onesie for after the bath. You may also want to have your camera at the ready because bath time can be a pretty cute photo-op!
6. Enlist some help
Bathtime (especially the first couple of times) is not something you’ll want to do on your own. Recruit someone to help out for the first few times so that if you have to step away from the bath to get something, someone is there to watch your little one.
7. Prevent slips with a bath mat
The minute your little one gets wet and soapy, they become a slippery little thing that can be hard to keep in one spot. That’s why using a bath mat, pad or pillow will help keep your baby in one place, making bathtime easier on you and them!
8. Temperature test
Ideally the temperature of your baby’s bath should be comfortably warm, with a thermometer reading of 90 degrees or below. It’s always best to use a thermometer to double check the temperature as what an adult feels is warm could be too warm for baby. Test the temperature of the water with your elbow or the inside of your wrist as these parts are more sensitive than your fingertips.
9. Keep the room warm
Newborns lose body heat quite quickly, especially when they’re naked! To keep them comfortable, make sure the room is warm enough – at least 75 to 80 degrees before you even start baby’s bath.
10. Don’t worry, tears are to be expected!
Bathing your newborn, especially for the first time, is a new and often shocking experience for your little one. It’s to be expected that your baby may not like the bath and may even shed a few tears (or a lot!). If tears are a part of your baby’s bath, then try to make it as short as possible and get baby into a dry and snuggly outfit as soon as you can.
Giving your newborn a bath doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking experience, in fact it can be an enjoyable one for both you and baby. It’s a great way to create a bond between you and your little one. The first time you give your newborn a bath may feel overwhelming, but there’s really nothing to fear. Just have your essentials at the ready - a warm tub or sink, some gentle tear-free products and a clean towel - and your first newborn bath will be a breeze. And remember, not every baby will enjoy bathtime right away. Give it some time and stick to your schedule -eventually baby will get used to the bathtub and will begin to enjoy the special bonding time with you!
Photo credit: Bigstock & Pixabay