How To Bathe a Newborn: Step by Step Guide for New Parents
Little Yawn Collective - Feb 15, 2022
Oh that sweet, clean baby smell! When babies are fresh from a bath, you just want to bottle that scent up forever. They are so warm, cuddly, and clean. When it’s time for your baby’s first bath, there are some important things to consider. Keep reading to find out all about bathing your sweet little one.
How Often Should I Bathe My Newborn?
Since your newborn is doing a lot of sleeping, they will not need many baths as they are not getting very dirty, (even when you’re doing all the dirty work!). While they are still little, you can get by only bathing your newborn a few days a week.
As they grow bigger, you can increase the frequency of their baths or give baths more frequently if it is something your baby enjoys from the beginning.
Until your baby’s remaining umbilical cord falls off, it is recommended to give your newborn sponge baths. You can also give your baby sponge baths in between baths to keep them clean and content without putting them into a tub. This is helpful if your baby is not particularly fond of bathtime, as you wouldn’t want a slippery, squealing baby to try to calm down.
When giving your baby a sponge bath, you can keep them partially covered with a towel so they can stay warm. Use a soft sponge or washcloth to gently wipe them clean. Areas to pay attention to would be their face, neck, ears, private areas, fingers, and toes (pretty much any body part they can put in their mouth, or any body part that can get sweaty).
When your baby is a newborn, simply use warm, clear water to prevent any irritation. Giving sponge baths is a great transition to giving your baby a full bath in a tub.
They start to get used to the feeling of being cleaned, and soon you can add more warm water to the routine!
What Time of Day Should I Bathe My Newborn?
The time of day you bathe your baby is completely up to what works best with your baby. Some parents like to give their babies baths in the morning when they are most alert and not overly tired and fussy.
Some parents like to include a bath as part of their bedtime routine. You may find that your baby does not like having evening baths but does not protest against being bathed in the mornings.
Don’t be hesitant to try bathtimes during different times of the day to see what your baby enjoys the most. As you know, the baby calls the shots, and sometimes they are not in the mood to be bathed!
No matter what time of day you decide to bathe your baby, you may want to avoid any tummy troubles by avoiding giving a bath immediately after feeding. Skip bathtime when your baby is fussy!
Where Should I Bathe My Newborn?
When giving your newborn a bath, you might wonder if there are any special tubs that you can use. There are specially made standalone baby bathtubs made of hard plastic and provide support for your baby’s head and neck.
These tubs usually have a strong bottom that is textured, so your baby does not slip around in the bottom of the tub. You can also purchase devices that make a sling across the tub or sink to help provide support. There are also inflatable tubs that can be placed inside your actual bathtub, so you do not have to fill the entire tub up to bathe your baby.
Instead of crouching over a tub, you can also use your sink instead! It’s the perfect size for a mini baby spa! Many of us also have photos of ourselves when we were young taking baths in the sink, what a full circle moment and a special time to get the camera ready!
There are special inserts made specially for sink baths, many are made of soft material so it cradles your baby as you bathe them. This is helpful as you can stand up and bathe your baby more comfortably. Many inserts also come in cute shapes and patterns.
Whatever works for you and your newborn will be the best, and often the easiest option is the best option! Some parents may not use any special inserts or tubs at all. It may be helpful to read reviews on products and consult parent friends to see what bathtubs they like the best or if they used them at all. The most important thing is that your baby is supported safely while being bathed.
What Safety Precautions Are There to Consider?
There are some safety precautions to consider with all things baby-related to make sure that bath time keeps your baby out of harm’s way. For the first few bathtimes, it may be best to have another set of hands to help (as things can get splashy and wet with a squirmy baby!).
Support Your Child’s Head and Neck
Make sure that your baby has ample support for their head and neck, especially if you are bathing your baby in a sink or tub and not a specifically designed baby tub. You can hold your baby as the other person helps to wash or pour water over them. Keeping a safe hold on your baby can help them feel more at ease, making bath time much easier and enjoyable for everyone.
Check For Any Potential Hazards
If you are giving your baby a bath in the sink, be sure to watch out for any attachments, like the faucet and sprayer. You will also want to clean your sink out thoroughly before putting your baby in it. If you are not using a special sink insert for your baby, put a dishcloth or towel in the bottom of the sink to provide traction, so your baby doesn’t potentially slip around.
Using a large towel may be extra helpful to soften any hard spots where your counter meets your sink. When giving your baby a bath in the sink, make sure that the faucet is not hot, just in case your baby were to reach out and touch it. You can run cold water through the faucet to cool it down if it is too warm to touch.
If your baby is taking a bath in the bathtub, make sure that the taps are clearly marked which are hot and cold.
Try to avoid filling the tub with any additional water while your baby is still in the tub in order to avoid adding water that is too hot. Test the water temperature on the inside of your wrist before submerging your baby, or use a bath thermometer.
Ready Your Necessities
Keep all products close at hand when bathing. You will never want to take your hands or eyes off of your child when giving them a tub bath. Any amount of standing water is harmful to a child, so constant monitoring is very important whenever your child is around water.
Prep The Bath
Temperature is also a big factor when giving your baby a bath. You’ll want the water to be warm, but not scalding. Before placing your baby in the water, check the water using your wrist.
The water level in the tub should be lower than what you would consider for yourself. The recommended amount of water is about two inches, but enough to cover your baby shoulders can relax them. Most of your baby’s body should be out of the water, as you’ll be pouring water on them to rinse them off and keep them warm.
As you give your baby a bath, you can place a warm washcloth over their tummy for their additional comfort. This helps them to stay warm since the water level will be low.
When you are ready to get your baby squeaky clean make sure all the materials you need are close by, their water temperature is perfect, and you are relaxed and ready to get your baby feeling and smelling fresh! Remove their clothing, and remove their diaper last.
Start With The Scalp
Start from the top of your baby’s scalp and wash the rest of your baby downwards from there. If your baby has hair, you can gently rinse with warm water.. If your baby’s hair is sparse, you can use a washcloth or other soft cloth to gently clean their little hair. Be careful of their soft spot, and be sure to protect their eyes when rinsing their hair.
Check For Cradle Cap
If your baby has cradle cap (patches of scaly skin on their scalp), do not worry! This is common in infants and does not make them feel uncomfortable. You can still shampoo and comb their hair. Cradle cap will eventually go away on its own. If the area has irritated skin, you can always consult your child’s pediatrician for suggestions on dealing with cradle cap.
Gently Wipe The Eyes
Next, use only a wet washcloth on your baby’s face and around their eye area. Be very careful and gentle around their eyes.
When your baby reaches three months, try using a dermatologically tested, pediatrician approved Soothing Shampoo and Baby Wash with Calendula, which provides a signature NaturalSnooze fragrance to create an environment that helps with falling asleep and staying asleep.
With ingredients like calendula and chamomile extract, this product is gentle enough to cleanse your little one’s extra sensitive skin, and kind enough to be tear-free.
Take Extra Care
Be sure to take extra care when washing your baby’s diaper area. You will want to make sure that any skin folds are thoroughly cleansed so these areas do not become irritated.
Make it as enjoyable as possible, you want your baby to enjoy being cleaned. You can gently splash with your baby, and sing songs about bath time. Introduce bath time friends, like rubber ducks or other bath toys, to help keep it entertaining. We are already sure that you are thinking of all the captions for bathtime social media posts! If your baby is being fussy, you can make this time short and to the point.
If you schedule your baby’s bath as part of their bedtime routine, you want your baby to be relaxed and comfortable. Consider the area you bathe your baby in, can you dim the lights and make it a little more relaxing, or maybe play some soothing, quiet music?
Also, consider the temperature of the room. A wet baby can become a cold baby fairly quickly, and a cold baby is not a happy baby.
What Happens After Their Bath?
After your baby is sparkling clean, very gently remove them from the water and wrap them in a cozy towel (you can worry about emptying the tub later). Continue supporting their head and neck throughout the entire process.
Pay Attention When Drying
Make sure to dry them thoroughly, paying special attention to any creases and folds in their skin. Take special care with those chubby parts, there are lots of folds to pay attention to there!
Place your baby on a safe, flat surface like the bed or changing table. At this point, you can apply a soothing lotion if your baby's skin is dry. When your baby reaches three months, you can try using our Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter, which is soothing, moisturising, and gentle for your little one’s skin. It's infused with our NaturalSnooze fragrance featuring soothing scents of organic lavender, bergamot, cedarwood, sweet almond, and creamy coconut to help gently lull your baby into snoozeland.
As an extra tip, hold the lotion in your hand for a few extra moments so it can warm up. No one wants to be startled by cold lotion! You can also use this time to give your little one a massage, which can be extra soothing for your baby.
Apply Baby-Friendly Creams As Needed
If your baby is having any type of diaper rash, apply a diaper rash-specific cream to that area. You’ll want to first put on a clean nappy to prevent any bathroom mishaps (wouldn’t that just be your luck right after bathtime?!) and dress them in their snuggly pajamas (or daytime clothes, if you are a daytime bather). Gently brush their hair, and then take a moment and breathe in that sweet, sweet scent of a freshly washed baby.
Make Bath Time Relaxing
For many, bath time is the start of the bedtime routine. If bathtime occurs in the evening, your baby will associate this time as one of relaxation, and they will know it will be time to sleep soon. Whether giving your baby a full bath or a quick sponge bath for in-between maintenance, keep this time cheerful and relaxing.
A consistent routine is best for your baby as they know what to expect during this time. If your baby is not enjoying bath time, you can keep it short and soothe your baby afterward instead. Some babies may already enjoy bath time, but with consistency, they will learn to associate it as special bonding time with you.
Rest assured that with bedtime, your friends here at Little Yawn Collective are here to help!
Our melatonin-free bathtime products are science-backed, so your little buddy can get cozy, snoozy, and relaxed.
Bath time can be a special time to bond with your baby. Taking special care to make sure your baby is clean and safe helps your baby feel cozy and loved. It is a wonderful time to bond and help your baby relax as they either start the day or as you go through the rest of their bedtime routine.
As your baby grows, they will start to love bath time as you consistently make this time fun and soothing to them with Little Yawn Collective.
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