Bathing a newborn is a task of great responsibility, needing special care and attention to ensure complete hygiene and safety of the baby. The best way is to use a bathtub and take certain precautionary measures, as mentioned below.
When to bathe a newborn for the first time
Your baby’s first bath can be given after the first two weeks of his life, once his umbilical cord stump has dried and fallen off, with the area also being completely healed.
How to give your newborn baby a bath
What you’ll need
- A Mild Baby soap
- Washcloths ( 2 to 3)
- Clean cotton balls
- A Soft flannel towel ( preferably a hooded one)
- A Bathtub
- A Plastic cup
- A Fresh diaper
- A clean set of clothes
Setting the water temperature
Fill the bathtub with approximately two to four inches of water, with the temperature being between 37°C and 38°C. You can check the water temperature with your elbow or even use a thermometer to get an accurate reading.
If bathing the baby in your living or bedroom, keep the temperature around 24°C.
- Put your baby in the bathtub, supporting his head and neck properly.
- Leave the nappy on if he is too cranky.
- Begin by washing his scalp using a wet, soapy washcloth. Clean the region around the fontanelle gently, ensuring the soap does not get into his eyes.
- Use soap to clean his hands and diaper area if you are not washing the whole body.
- Then, wipe his eyes, starting from the inner corner, moving outwards using cotton balls. Use separate cotton balls for cleaning the outer ears and behind the ears, but avoid the insides to prevent the eardrum from being damaged.
- Use a clean, wet washcloth for his face, wiping the area around his mouth and below his chin where the milk often tends to drool.
- Clean his bottom and genitals with cotton balls or a different washcloth dipped in warm water.
- Also, pour cupfuls of warm water from the top to clean his whole body during the final rinse.
Drying your baby after bath
Take him out of the tub with care, supporting his head and neck with one hand and the bottom with the other. Wrap him well in a hooded towel and gently pat him dry. Pay special attention to wiping the inner folds of his skin.
Next, lay him on a flat surface, perhaps a changing table or a mat, to dress him in a fresh diaper and clean clothes. Afterward, you may massage him with baby lotion using your fingertips.
How often should you bathe your baby?
A newborn should be bathed not more than two to three times a week till he attains one year of age since intense bathing may result in dry skin. In fact, in the initial months, he has fewer chances of getting messy since he is not into too many activities.
Video for bathing an infant in a tub
Tips to follow while bathing your baby
- Never leave him unattended in the bathtub, even for a second.
- Bathing in a kitchen sink is unhygienic, and running water is not recommended.
- Make sure he is neither hungry nor too full or sleepy at his bath time. Probably during the first few months, a daytime bath would be preferable.
- Convertible bathtubs are to be opted for since they are durable having minimum chances of injury, while bath seats should be avoided until the baby is four months of age.
- If you find him extremely cranky in the tub, then carry on with sponge baths till he gets accustomed to the bathtub.
- Make bathing time enjoyable by singing lullabies or playing with your baby to strengthen your bond with him.
- If you are bathing twins, make sure to have a helping hand.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.