Washing the car, washing the dishes and even bathing the dog—all tasks that you’ve long since mastered. But what about bathing your newborn baby? While bathing your baby can be a wonderful opportunity to bond, it can also sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking until you get the swing of it. Here’s a guide to making bath time a wonderful and safe experience:
• A newborn is a fragile creature, and can be slippery when wet. Always make sure to have a hand on your baby at all times and to support your baby’s head and neck.
• Opt for sponge baths until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off and his or her naval heals, which typically occurs within the first month of life. If your newborn is a boy, also be sure to stick with sponge baths until after his circumcision heals.
• Bathing a newborn two or three times each week is sufficient. More frequent bathing can result in dry or irritated skin. Between baths, simply cleanse your baby’s face, neck, hands, diaper area and any other spot that requires it. After a baby reaches one year of age, he or she may benefit from being bathed more frequently.
• When using a tub, consider an infant tub that includes an insert designed to cradle your baby in a reclining position. Set your tub inside an adult tub or on a table or countertop. Add two to three inches of warm, not hot, water. Test the temperature of bath water with the inside of your wrist.
• Use a soft washcloth to gently cleanse your baby. Pay close attention to under your baby’s chin and in the creases of the arms and legs. Pour warm water over your baby to both rinse and keep him or her comfortable.
• Use a shampoo and body wash that is designed for a newborn’s sensitive skin.
• After removing your baby from the bath, immediately wrap him or her in a soft hooded bath towel for warmth and comfort.
• Never, not even for a moment, leave your baby unattended in a tub.
For more information on how to prepare for parenthood, contact Central Florida Regional Hospital. Call our Consult-A-Nurse health information and referral service to learn about our prepared childbirth classes. Visit us online or give us a call at (800) 445-3392.