Bath times with baby can be fun, though most new mothers are terrified at the thought of bathing a soapy, squirming infant. Most newborns do not like to be bathed and may howl from start to finish. But as they grow, most babies start looking forward to splashing in the water.
Remember not to bathe your baby right after a feed, or when she is too tired or hungry. And, make sure the room is warm before you begin.
Things You Will Need To Bathe Your Baby
Bathtub: Go for one with an anti-slip bottom. Bath seats with cloth stretched hammock-style over a metal frame, are now available. The cloth can be taken off for machine-washing.
Cotton Wool: Comes in rolls, pads or balls. Get the best (sealed) quality you can to clean baby’s mouth, eyes, ears, nose and between her fingers and toes.
Baby Soap: Whatever the brand, choose a baby soap that’s mild and gentle. Baby soaps enriched with natural ingredients (like aloe vera) help protect the skin’s natural oils.
Baby Shampoo: Use only a little – there’s no need to work up a lather. Baby’s hair doesn’t need shampooing more than twice a week.
Baby Oil: Can be used to gently massage baby before or after a bath. You can also use a few drops in the bath water to keep baby’s skin soft – but remember that it will also make baby slippery and difficult to hold.
Baby Cream/ Lotion: A mild cream or moisturizer will help protect baby’s skin against chafing and irritation. It is also effective in easing the itching of nappy rash.
Baby Powder: In hot weather, baby powder protects baby’s skin from moisture and keeps her smelling good. It can also be used at every nappy change. Avoid using baby powder on the face or near the nose.
Towel with a hood: Newborns lose body warmth quickly and may turn a little blue. A soft towel that also covers her head will keep her warm while you quickly dry her.
Step-by-step Guide To Bathing Your Baby:
- Gather all necessary bath accessories.
- Make sure the bath water is comfortably warm, but not too hot. A temperature of 38°C/ 100.4°F is considered ideal for baby.
- Fill the bathtub with about five inches of water (for newborns and babies up to 6 months) or just about enough to allow baby to settle in the water with her shoulders well covered. Never fill the bath more than waist-high (in sitting position) for older children.
- Bring baby to the bath area and undress her completely.
- Gradually slip baby into the bath tub, using one hand to support her neck and head.
- Use soap sparingly as you wash her with your hand. You could also use a sponge or a washcloth to clean your baby. Buy the softest and remember, there’s no need to scrub.
- A routine wash is all that is needed to clean baby’s genitals.
- Use moistened cotton wool to clean baby’s eye and face. If dried mucus has collected in the corner of baby’s nostrils or eyes, dab it several times with a small section of a moistened cotton wool to soften it before you wipe it out.
- Clean the cord area with antiseptic liquid on a cotton bud.
- Lift baby out of the water, holding her securely.
- Wrap baby in a hooded towel and pat her dry – again taking special care of the creases and folds.
- Shake out a little baby powder onto your hands – away from baby. Smooth the powder onto baby – using your palms.
- Dress up baby and brush her hair.