Finally, your little one is home! The feeling of excitement is now overflowing to do every ‘firsts’ with the baby, and that includes bath time. While it looks fun and easy to do, bathing your baby can be tricky and needs some preparation. There are a few things you need to consider to make it safe and enjoyable. While it is normal to feel anxious, especially if it is your first time doing it, you will surely master the process with continuous practice in no time! So, keep reading as we give you the quick how-to guide on bathing your baby for the first time!
- Check that the room where you are planning to do the bath is ready – make sure it is clean, safe, and warm.
- Remove any jewelry – rings or watches, and wash your hands before you start your preparation. Also, if you have long nails, consider cutting it first to prevent it from scratching the skin of the baby.
- Gather all the bath essentials and keep it all near the infant tub or the sink. Remember, you are not allowed to leave the baby unattended. If you really need to, you have to bring the baby with you. Hence, everything must be handy while you bathe the baby.
- If you are using a tub, position it somewhere secure and at the elevation where you are comfortable. If you are using your kitchen sink, remove any unnecessary items in and near it, and make sure it is clean.
- If you are using the tub, fill it up with about 2 – 5cm of warm water (not hot or boiling), or about 1/3 of the tub. If you are using the sink, use a small basin or a jug, so at least you can control the water temperature.
- Aim for 38°C water temperature, and you can check it using a thermometer. If you do not have one, you can use your elbow or wrist to the test if it is securely warm.
- Practice good hand hygiene and wash your hands before you hold your baby.
- Lay your baby in a changing mat.
- Slowly undress your baby and leave the diaper on.
- Get the baby wrap or a clean baby towel to cover the body of the baby.
- Get a couple of clean cotton balls, dip it in warm water, and squeeze out the excess water.
- Wash your baby’s eyes from inner to the outer eye and move with one stroke.
- Throw away the used ones. Get another couple of fresh cotton balls and do the same step as above to clean it. It is important to use a different cotton ball for each eye to wash and clean, for every stroke.
- Get the fresh washcloths or new set of cotton balls and dip in warm water. Again, squeeze any excess water.
- Clean your baby’s face starting from the top. Make sure you wipe the forehead, nose, cheeks, the outer part and behind the ears, mouth, and the chin.
- Be careful when you are cleaning the baby’s ears and nose, and make sure you do not put anything inside.
- Gently pat a clean baby towel or new cotton balls to dry your baby’s face. Do not rub.
- Gently remove the wrap on your baby’s body, then the diaper.
- Use one of your arms to support your baby’s head and neck. Make sure you get a grip to keep your little one safe and close to you.
- Gently lower your baby into the tub or in the sink, with feet going in first, while your other arm still gently supporting the baby’s upper body. If you are using a tub with a newborn sling, allow them to lay comfortably in the sling. If you have your husband to assist you, one of you can hold the baby, while the other one can do the washing.
- Using a fresh washcloth, clean the body from the neck to the elbows, fingers, knees, feet, and toes.
- Clean the genitals using a soft washcloth with a mild soap. Make sure you also clean both groins. If you have a girl, start cleaning from the front to back.
- To clean the back and buttocks, carefully maneuver your little one as you turn. Use soap lightly as you wash the baby’s buttocks. If your husband or a family member is around, you can also ask them to help you out with this step.
- Softly wash your baby’s hair with water using a washcloth.
- Thinly use baby shampoo and gently massage your baby’s scalp.
- Cup your hand across the baby’s forehead as you rinse the shampoo from the hair.
- If water gets into the eyes, pat a wet, fresh cotton ball to clean it.
- Lift the baby, the same way you brought him/her in.
- Place your baby gently into the changing mat.
- Quickly wrap a clean towel around the body to keep your baby warm.
- Gently pat your baby with a dry clean towel. Do not rub.
- Make sure you dry everything, especially under the neck, behind the ears, in between finger and toes, and skin folds.
- Although a baby’s delicate skin does not need frequent moisturizing, apply a small amount of baby lotion to nourish the baby’s skin after a bath.
You must know the basics of bathing your baby to make sure that your little one is comfortable and safe while you do this. As you go through all the steps, it would be helpful to talk to your little one to give reassurance and calm him/her down during bath time.
It is also good to share this experience with your husband and make it an enjoyable family bonding moment. Lastly, do not forget to take some snaps, as you might see some precious smiles while you are at it!
Happy bath time!