You paid close attention in your prenatal classes and tested the water with your wrist or elbow. You watched with keen interest as the nurses at the hospital showed you how to bathe your baby for the first time, even taking a turn. But now you’re home and you have a wiggly newborn on your hands who may or may not be screaming when their little bum touches the bath water (it’s ok…most newborns strongly dislike baths!)
Here are 5 practical tips to safely bathe your baby at home, and ones that will leave you enjoying the experience rather than feel nervous about it.
- It’s true that they say, babies have super sensitive skin and should really only have baths a couple of times a week as needed. Invest in some good quality, sensitive bath products for your baby. Look for ones with natural ingredients like calendula and oatmeal, and try to stay away from ones with Sulphur as an ingredient.
- Find the right tub for your baby. One that fits in the sink, like the Puj Tub, is a great way to get started while they are still too little for the regular bath tub. Be sure that it is made of soft, cushiony material or that it has an insert.
- Lay out a thick, warm towel on the counter for after bath time. This will make the transfer of a slippery baby a bit easier and less stressful.
- Keep baths for newborns short in duration. Using a washcloth, start with their face and move downward along their torso, midsection and legs. When washing their hair, be sure to use a baby shampoo and one that is tear-free.
- Test the temperature of the water with your wrist, elbow or a thermometer prior to placing baby in the bath. If you haven’t already, adjust your water heater to no higher than 120F to ensure continued safety. Once the water is ready to go, get your baby in the bath as quickly as possible as the bath water will drop in temperature pretty quickly.
When in doubt, trust your instincts. If the water is too hot, or the towel not thick enough, make a judgement call. Only you know your family and your baby, and what works for them isn’t necessarily what will work for someone else. Follow the basics to create a safe bath time environment. Then, as your baby grows, introduce age appropriate toys and products such as bubbles to make bath time a fun activity.