Is there a new mother on earth who hasn’t worried about giving her newborn his first bath? What do you do once the nurses are gone and you’re left there alone to bathe this delicate little person? First, you relax. Know that you are just like every first time mom. No one is born knowing how to bathe a newborn. But after about five minutes, you’ll feel like an old pro. If possible, get used to bathing baby along with another family member there to help you.
Here are some baby bathing tips to keep in mind for newborns and young infants:
- The most important rule is Never Walk Away. Don’t walk away from an infant in a tub or sink for any reason whatsoever. Your Aunt Margaret can call back. The UPS guy can leave the package at the door. You are chained to the tub or sink until baby’s bath is over. Infants can drown in less than one inch of water in less than a few seconds. So, don’t be scared, but don’t be careless.
- Use warm water only. Babies have such tender skin that they can be sensitive to temperatures adults would consider fine. Use a baby bath thermometer. These come in cute shapes and you probably got one at your shower. Test the water first before putting baby in and never run the faucet directly on baby.
- It’s best to bathe baby in a sink fitted with a plastic baby bath tub. You won’t have to bend over a tub and besides, baby is too small for a full tub bath. Just clear out the dishes and place the bath tub right in the sink.
- Fill the bath water before baby gets in. Ensure that it is the right temperature (your thermometer will have markings to tell you when it’s safe) and then gently place baby into the baby bath tub.
- You only need a dime sized dot of baby bath. The less the better. It’s hard to rinse a wiggling infant, so just use a little on a washcloth. Never pour baby bath directly on a newborn’s head as it may get in their eyes and will be hard to rinse out.
- You’re there to hold the baby at all times. You may want another pair of hands there for your first few baby baths. Don’t move from baby to grab lotion or a towel. Your hands stay on baby at all times.
- Support his head and talk to baby during the bath. Most babies love their bath, but the first few times he may be cold or sense your nervousness. Don’t worry. It gets better and soon he’ll be cooing right back at you.
- You don’t need to run the faucet water over baby to rinse him. Gently clean between baby’s toes and fingers where formula or breast milk can hide and then use a plastic cup to gently run some of the tub water over baby to rinse.
- Because tiny infants get cold quickly, make bath time a fast in and out. Save the toys from the baby bath gift baskets til later. As baby gets older you can spend more time playing and splashing. But tiny infants need to be dried off and swaddled in a blanket or hooded towel before they have time to catch a chill.
- Arrange to have help getting baby dressed after the bath at least for the first few times. You’ll wrap baby in a dry towel and carry him to his changing area. Have pjs or a new outfit ready to go. You’ll need diapers, socks, t-shirt and pants along with any other layers. Be sure that you send someone to get them for you and never walk away from a baby on a changing table. Not even for one short second while you reach for a diaper. If you find you are missing something at the changing table, carry baby with you to get the item. Even the smallest of infants can fall off a changing table in a fraction of a second. Better safe than terribly sorry.
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