When your baby first comes home he or she will probably still have his or her umbilical cord stump on- which means a reprieve from bathing. No full on baths until it has dried up and fallen off; only sponge baths for this time.
Soon enough though the cord will fall off and your baby will develop a funky smell from milk dribbles and similar. It will be time for a bath.
Any parent in their right mind is a little overwhelmed about the first bath. It is a lot to do! Babies are so slippery when they are wet! Water can be dangerous! What do you do?
First, take a deep breath and get everything together that you’ll need. Never leave a baby alone in water. Ever. Even for a moment. So get everything ready first.
You will need a towel (I grab two, just in case), a wash cloth the baby bath tub, baby wash, baby lotion, a fresh diaper, fresh clothes, and the baby.
Since baby’s skin is so sensitive make sure to use gentle products. I prefer organic products when at all possible. One of my personal favorites is Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Baby Oil. It has a light fragrance and is very moisturizing. Some babies are sensitive to natural products so if your baby has a reaction, go on to something else.
When bathing your baby use one hand to help him or her stay up in the water. Use the other hand for washing. The parts that I typically really pay attention too are the baby’s diaper area and the area around his or her neck with all of the little creases. They get dribbles in there and it can get messy fast. Typically, doing a quick bath is enough. Then get him/her dried off, lotioned up and dressed again so he or she does not get to cold.
I have pictures of me getting a bath in our kitchen sink as a child. Heck, I have pictures of my first daughter getting bathed in the kitchen sink. This is a great way to bath a new baby- except for a few things.
Kitchen sinks, while convenient for the parent or caregiver to stand at are not really designed for baby care. I do not know about other people’s sinks but mine are not always the cleanest in the world and I would not want to put a new baby in a freshly bleached sink.
Kitchen sinks are often pretty hard and would hurt a baby if he or she were to hit his or her head; most baby bathtubs are not pillows by any means but they are less of a blow than porcelain or stainless steel sinks.
A newer product on the market looks a bit like a really good sized bucket for a baby. It is deeper than the standard baby bath tub and smaller.
But it allows the infant to be more covered with water, allowing them to stay warmer and keep their legs curled up in a more natural position. This type of tub mimics the warm, wet environment of a mother’s womb which is very comforting to a new baby.
I like to run a very hot shower for a few minutes before I give my newborn a bath, it warms up the bathroom. New born babies are not so good at regulating body temperature yet, so they get cold fast. When you fill the baby bath tub the first few times add less water than you think you’ll need. Test the water first; you do not want it too hot or too cold.
There are a few things you will need, and a few things that will make your life easier when giving a baby a bath. Of course, you’ll need a baby, a towel or bath sheet to try you baby, the softer the better- if it is very cold outside, pop the towel in the dryer for a bit to warm it up, babies have sensitive skin so get soap meant for babies or skip the soap all together, lotion is also particularly important in cold climates, you may need baby powder or cornstarch to prevent chafing on sweet baby chub- do not use talcum powder.
Baby’s love things that are familiar and being in a warm and wet environment is reminiscent of time in the womb. Bath time can be very tiring for a new baby- so it is a great transition to bed time or rest time. What is better than that: a nice warm bath followed by a restful nap?