Bathing your newborn
For the first week or so, until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off and the area heals, it’s best to stick to sponge baths with a lukewarm, moistened washcloth.
Wash his face and hands frequently, and thoroughly clean his genital area after each diaper change.
After the umbilical cord stump dries up, falls off, and the area heals, you can start giving your newborn tub baths.
While a baby is tiny, it makes the most sense to use the kitchen sink or a small plastic baby tub instead of a standard tub.
Although some parents bathe their babies every day for the sheer pleasure of it, until a baby is crawling around and getting into messes, a bath isn’t really necessary more than once or twice a week.
When you do bathe your newborn, you may find it a little scary at first. Handling a wiggling, wet, and soapy little creature takes practice and confidence, so stay calm and maintain a good grip on him.
Some babies find the warm water very soothing. If this is the case with your baby, let him linger. Others cry through the whole bath that’s when you’ll want to get him in and out. Keeping the bathing room warm can help.
- Never leave your baby unsupervised, even for a minute. If the doorbell or phone rings and you feel you must answer it, scoop him up in a towel and take him with you.
- Never put your baby into a tub when the water is still running (the water temperature could change or the depth could become too high).
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A child can get third-degree burns in less than a minute at 140 degrees.
- Never leave your child unattended. (Yes, it’s so important we listed it twice). A child can drown in less than an inch of water and in less than 60 seconds.
7 Tips On How To Bathe A Newborn
1. Gather all necessary bath supplies, and layout a towel, a clean diaper, and clothes.
2. Fill the tub with 2 to 3 inches of water that feels warm but not hot, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).
3. Bring your baby to the bath area and undress him completely. (TIP: If your baby cries through every bath, leave the diaper on at first. It can give him an increased sense of security in the water.)
4. Gradually slip your baby into the tub feet first, using one hand to support his neck and head. Pour cupfuls of bath water over him regularly during the bath so he doesn’t get too cold.
5. Use mild soap and use it sparingly (too much dries out your baby’s skin), as you wash him with your hand or a washcloth from top to bottom, front and back.
Wash his scalp with a wet, soapy cloth. Use moistened cotton balls (no soap) to clean his eyes and face. If dried mucus has collected in the corners of your baby’s nostrils or eyes, dab it several times to soften it before you wipe it out.
As for your baby’s genitals, a routine washing is all that’s needed.
6. Rinse your baby thoroughly with cupfuls of water and wipe him down with a clean washcloth. Then lift him out of the tub with one hand supporting his neck and head and the other hand supporting his bottom, with your fingers around one thigh (babies are slippery when wet).
7. Wrap your baby in a hooded towel and pat him dry. (If his skin is still peeling from birth, you can apply a mild baby lotion after his bath, but this is generally dead skin that needs to come off anyway, not dry skin.) Then diaper him, dress him, and give him a kiss on his sweet-smelling head.