Making Bath Time More Enjoyable
Bath time can be daunting for new parents, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. With these tips and a little planning, bath time with you newborn will be much more enjoyable and less stressful!
1) Sponge bathe baby until their umbilical cord stump has fallen off.
2) Have all supplies out and ready to use. Lay out towels, brush, wash cloth, new diaper, wipes, fresh clothes or PJ’s, baby q-tips, plastic rinsing cup and massage oil. Caddies can be helpful.
3) Choose a location in your home that is comfortable for you to bathe at. Kitchen sinks work great as well as counter tops, because they are a tall surface. Rinse and scrub the sink out first or use a baby bath tub on top of the kitchen counter. Baby can be bathed in the big bath, in their own tub, however, this can be an awkward position for some new parents.
4) Keep baby WARM. Babies hate being cold. If sponge bathing, keep baby wrapped in a towel and remove limbs as you clean them. Steam up the bathroom with the shower first and close the door or use a portable space heater. Space heaters have a nice white noise effect which is soothing.
5) Start with baby’s face, eyes, ears and work down. The groin area should be last with the wash cloth. Wash hair at the end. The head is where heat is lost the quickest.
6) Leave a few minutes for a massage. Coconut oil is wonderful.
7) When drying baby, if they are flailing around, flip baby onto their tummy. This is also a great position to massage their back and make sure their bum has been adequately cleaned.Diaper, dress and use a q-tip.
8) Total bath time start to finish should take no more than 10-15 minutes. Infants get stimulated easily. Water, touch and moving baby around are all added stimulation.
9) Don’t attempt bath time when your infant is already tired. More than likely, it will put them over the edge.
10) Taking a bath with your baby is a great bonding experience. Baby will love the water and being held close to you. Have an extra set of hands to help get baby in and out of the bath.
11) Babies are slippery when wet! Hold on to them well when removing from water.
12) Ideal water temperature is 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit. It should feel warm. Some tubs have the added feature of reading water temperature. A lot of parents worry that the water will be too hot for their baby and compensate by making it too cold. This will make it uncomfortable and not as enjoyable for you or your infant.
13) Be confident in holding and handling your infant. This will make bath time easier.
14) While the routine of a nightly bath is a great ritual in the evening, helping to relax baby before bed, a quick washcloth wipe down is a great alternative. Clean baby’s eyes, ears, face, neck rolls, armpit rolls and groin. Lather with oil, quick massage and dress for bed.
15) Plan to feed baby soon after their bath. Mom should be ready to breast feed (having eaten, water nearby) or bottle prepped and ready to be warmed.
Bath time will get easier the more you do it. Preparation is essential and remember, NEVER leave a baby unattended near any water or on an elevated surface. If you forgot something, take baby with you or place them in their crib or on a safe place on the floor.