Bathing your baby for the first time can be tricky – how hot should the water be and how do you hold her? We take you through it step by step.
Before you bath your baby, ensure you have everything you need close at hand:
- Aqueous cream or baby soap and baby shampoo
- Cotton wool or cotton balls and cooled, boiled water in a small bowl.
- Baby lotion or wipes
- A bath towel, clean clothes and clean nappy.
Make sure the room is comfortably warm and that there are no cold draughts.
Then, fill your baby bath with 5 to 8cm of warm (not hot) water, checking the temperature with your hand or a bath thermometer before putting your baby in the water. The ideal temperature for your baby’s bath is between 37 degree C and 38 degree C. Be sure to place the bath on a flat, level surface for safety reasons and invest in a non-slip mat for the bath.
Bathing time is also a special time to bond with your baby, so enjoy it! Ensure you are relaxed and calm before starting and focus all your attention on him.
Step 1: Face
Undress your baby; wrap him up snugly in a towel and use a piece of cotton wool squeezed in cooled, boiled water to clean his face. Wipe his eye from the inside corner out, and then repeat this on the other eye using a new piece of cotton wool. If your baby has dried mucus in his eye or nose, dat at it soften it before wiping it away. There’s no need to use soap or cream on his face.
Step 2: Wash
Unwrap your baby and apply aqueous cream or baby soap to his body. Then lower him gently and slowly into the water. With your forearm supporting his neck and head, hold the arm furthest from you with one hand and with the other hand hold his upper thigh as you place him in the water. Once he’s in the water, let go of his thigh and use this hand to wash the aqueous cream or soap off your baby.
Step 3: Hair
Continue to hold your baby with one hand. With the other, place some baby shampoo on his head and wash his hair, being careful not to get any shampoo in his eyes. Rinse this out thoroughly. If you find it easier, you can wash your baby’s hair over the bath before placing him in the water.
Step 4: Time to get out
Use the safety hold described in step 2 above to lift your baby out of the water. Use the towel to pat him dry gently, rub him dry as this might be a bit too much for his sensitive skin. Pay close attention to the creases of skin under his arms, at the top of his thighs and around his neck when drying him.
Step 5: Lotion
Apply some baby lotion to his skin before you dress your baby. This is also a great opportunity to give your baby a massage. Start by massaging his back, bottom and legs and then turn over so that you can pay attention to his chest and shoulders. Then move on to his abdomen, using circular clockwise movements and then give his hands, face and ears a nice rub.
Step 6: Get dressed
Make sure your baby’s bottom is clean before putting his nappy on. You may also want to apply a bit of barrier cream. Once he’s comfortable in his nappy dress him in his clothes.
Tip :Never leave your baby unattended while you’re bathing him. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.
Tip : Remember that for the first few weeks you won’t need to give your baby a full bath every day. A simple top and tail will do, particularly in the first 6 weeks. Use damp pieces of cotton wool to wipe his eyes, folds of skin, behind his ears and his bottom.