Bathing a newborn baby can be very intimidating! I remember the first time I gave Alexander a bath I was so afraid he was going to slide right out of my hands. It's hard enough bathing a newborn because they are so tiny and can't support themselves, but they are so slippery when wet!
I thought I would put together a list of seven helpful tips for all you new mommy's to help ease your nerves when bathing your infant. It's important to make bath time a joyful and comfortable experience for baby and you. The last thing you want is a baby that is afraid of taking a bath.
Keep in mind that newborns do not need to be bathed every day. Their skin is very sensitive and can become easily irritated. It is totally your preference, but every 3 or so days is sufficient until your baby is actually crawling around and getting messy. In between baths you can wipe baby's face, neck and genital area with a clean cloth.
- Use a bath tub made especially for infants. This is probably one of the most important baby products to have, preferably one that fits in your kitchen sink. This makes it easier on your back! Or check out these unique TummyTubs, a European style baby bath tub.
- Get your supplies ready before beginning to bathe your baby. Make sure to have a soft hooded towel, a couple of wash cloths, baby wash and shampoo set up next to your tub. Open the baby wash so you don't have to be fumbling with a cap while the baby is in the tub. Also, I like to have the towel laid open on the counter so that I can just wrap the baby up when finished bathing.
- Get the tub ready. Place the tub in the sink and fill with warm water. Make sure to check the temperature of the water before placing baby in the tub. You can use the wrist test - place your wrist under the running water and it should feel warm, not hot, on your skin. The best way to check though is to use a bath thermometer. There are some really cute thermometers that can be placed in the water and they will either change color to let you know the temperature is safe or they have an instant read thermometer on them.
- Undress your baby and gently lower the baby into the tub making sure to support his /her head and spine with your arm while using your other hand to gently pour water over the baby's body. Once the baby is in the tub I like to wet a wash cloth, burp cloth, or cloth diaper and place it over the baby's body while bathing. This helps to keep him / her from getting cold. And if it's a boy it keeps you from getting a special shower! Just keep wetting the cloth with the warm water so it doesn't get cold. Make sure to continue to support your baby while bathing.
- Use only a small amount of gentle baby wash. Remember, a baby's skin is very sensitive and using too much soap or a harsh soap can irritate the skin. Try using natural organic baby skin care products. The same goes for shampoo, you only need a drop. Most baby washes can also be used on the hair. Use the wash cloth to rinse the soap from baby's body and hair. Rather then pouring water on baby's head to remove the soap, which can startle the baby and cause soap to get in his / her eyes, use the wash cloth directly on the head and gently squeeze water out of the cloth while wiping toward the back and sides of the head.
- Once your baby is squeaky clean, slide your arm under baby making sure to support the head and spine, and gently place the baby on the hooded towel you have prepared. Wrap baby up quickly so he /she doesn't get cold.
- Gently dry baby with the towel. Use a soothing baby lotion all over baby's skin. Again, only use a small amount and try to use natural skin care products that will not irritate baby's sensitive skin. Now dress baby in some comfy, cute baby clothes.
That's all there is to giving your infant a bath. As he / she grows and becomes stronger it will get easier and be more fun for the both of you.