It can be unnerving and even intimidating for a new and inexperienced parent contemplating bathing their newborn baby – that tiny little, helpless bundle that cannot even hold up its head is to be bathed! This can be scary indeed and if this is the case, our checklist of baby bath dos and don’ts may help:
- Do consider only sponge baths to begin with. Tub baths can wait for a while. Many parents choose to wait until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off, which is about a week or ten days.Using only boiled and cooled, warm water and a sterile sponge or washcloth, gently clean baby all over. Use sterile cotton dipped in boiled, cooled water to gently clean the eyes.
- Do consider using only unscented baby bath products that use no fragrance. It is often the fragrance ingredient in personal hygiene products that causes adverse reactions, rashes and so on. As for shampoo, this can be avoided completely for the first few weeks if there is no real need.
- Do get everything you will need together and organize the flannel, the bath tub, the bath water, soap and shampoo (if using any) and the towel together before beginning to bathe baby.
- When baby is ready for a tub bath, firstly make sure that the room is a comfortable temperature for baby and then make sure that the water is just warm and not hot. Then, holding the baby with both hands gently lower the baby into the water feet first, all the while supporting the head and keeping it above the water.
- Don’t have more than a few inches of water in the tub. Remember a small baby can drown in just a couple of inches of water. Also don’t bathe baby for more than a few minutes.
- Never leave baby alone in a tub of water. Don’t even turn away for a moment; say for instance to answer the phone.
- Avoid more than two or three baths a week, small babies are not active enough to really get dirty and aren’t having any solid food to get them messy. Frequent or very long baths will tend to dry out baby’s skin and cause irritation.
Don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician if in doubt about any aspect of baby’s bath as well as general health and wellbeing of the child.