Guidelines for Baby’s First Bath – When and How to Do
The Baby’s first bath is a wonderful milestone, but it can be a little frightening to handle a tiny body that becomes slippery when wet. Giving your newborn baby their first bath is still a thrill, even though you don’t submerge them in water for the first few weeks and days (phew!).
But there is nothing to worry about, with little practice, you will master that too. If you are still not sure when and how to bathe him, then read this article. Find out why the first bath is often delayed and when should you give him his first bath and some bathing tips.
When Should You Give Your Baby His First Bath?
Earlier, babies were given their first bath right after birth. But, this practice is no longer followed. As per World Health Organization standards, you should wait for at least 24 hours to 48 hours to bathe your baby. Bathing a baby is not something you should rush through; the longer you wait, the better. Babies may not always need to be bathed every day. It is advised to hold off until the baby’s umbilical cord is fully recovered. But if, as a parent, you still want to bathe your child, you can use the sponge bath method. You can wash your baby’s hands, genitalia, and face using a gentle washcloth.
Here are some reasons why it is now recommended to delay a baby’s first bath:
Blood sugar levels and body temperature: Babies who have baths soon away could be more susceptible to hypothermia and being cold. Additionally, for some babies, the minor stress of an early bath can increase their risk of experiencing a blood sugar fall (hypoglycemia).
To add to that, if the baby is given a bath, it may stress him, which may lead to the release of stress hormones, and cause your baby’s blood sugar to drop considerably.
Breastfeeding and bonding: Premature bathing of the infant can interfere with early breastfeeding success, skin-to-skin contact, and mother-child bonding. One study found that delaying the baby’s initial bath by 12 hours led to a 166% increase in hospital nursing success compared to babies who have bathed right away.
Therefore, it is best to not bathe a baby in the first few hours. In those precious moments, a mother should breastfeed her baby and keep him close to her to strengthen their bond.
Dry Skin: Vernix, a white waxy material that covers a baby’s skin before birth, acts as a natural moisturizer and may have antibacterial characteristics. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends leaving vernix on a newborn’s skin for a while to prevent the drying out of their sensitive skin. Preemies should pay extra attention to this because of how easily their skin can be damaged.
Most hospitals even follow the practice of wearing gloves, which means everyone coming in direct contact with the baby will have to wear gloves. This practice is followed with the objective to save the baby from any kind of hospital-acquired infections.
How often should you bathe your newborn?
A daily bath is not necessary until a baby begins to get down and dirty on the ground (babies are immobile and can’t gather up much dirt). Only two or three baths each week are necessary for your kid, and too many baths might dry out their sensitive skin. Only sponge baths should be given to newborns until their umbilical cords have dried and fallen off.
If your baby’s umbilical cord stump is still intact or if a circumcised newborn’s penis hasn’t healed, avoid tub baths altogether and just use your hands or a baby washcloth for cleanups. When your baby is ready to give it a go, find a flat surface — bathroom or kitchen counter, bed, even the floor — and keep washing up with the sponge gently and briefly until they get used to it.
When your baby can sit up on her own and outgrows the infant tub, you can advance from sponge baths to baby bathtubs and finally to the large tub. There is nothing nicer than seeing a baby splash in the tub, suds from the soap covering those plump folds and dimples, but safety should always come first. Never, not even for a second, let your kid unaccompanied in the bath.
How to give a sponge bath?
A sponge bath is like a regular bath, except you don’t put your baby in the water.
Baby sponge bath safety tips:
Before you start, gather your supplies. Before you start, prepare a bowl of water, a damp washcloth rinsed in soap-free water, a dry towel, and anything else you might need.
Lay the infant down on a level, comfortable surface for the two of you, such as a changing table, bed, floor, or counter next to the sink. Use a soft towel or blanket to protect hard surfaces. Always use a safety strap or maintain one hand on your baby if she is on a surface higher than the floor to prevent falls.
First, begin cleansing the face. Wash her face with a wet cloth, taking care to avoid getting any water in her eyes or mouth. After that, wash the remainder of her body before scrubbing the area around her diaper.
Keep the infant warm. When giving your baby a sponge bath, cover her with a dry towel and only expose the areas of her body that you are actively bathing. Pay close attention to the creases around the neck, in front of the ears, under the arms, and, particularly with a girl, in the genital region.
What’s a good baby bath temperature?
When you dip your wrist or elbow into the bath water to check the temperature, it should be comfortably warm, never hot. To prevent scalding your child, the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) advises that the faucet’s hotter setting should not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baby’s First Bath Tips:
Check to see if your infant is ready for the switch from sponge baths to regular baths before you start. It is better to sponge bathe him for a few more days before giving him a proper bath if he appears fussy or irritable.
Choose the Appropriate Time
It’s crucial to wait until the appropriate moment to begin bathing your infant. Don’t bathe your infant until the umbilical cord falls off, the circumcision heals, or the naval heals entirely. You might think about giving him a sponge bath instead.
Establish a routine.
When you bathe your infant , especially in the evening (“Mommy or Daddy is giving me a bath – that indicates it’s almost time for bed”), you will improve your body clock. Dim the lights, minimize activity after the bath and reinforce the idea that it’s time to go to bed. Of course, it’s OK if you and your infant are more comfortable at another time of day.
Check her mood
However, you should postpone the bath if your infant is hungry, cranky, or has an upset stomach because it wouldn’t be healthy for anyone.
Assemble all baby supplies
You don’t want to bathe your baby while going to collect the items. Before bathing your infant , it makes sense to compile a list of necessities and keep it close at hand. When bathing your baby, you should have items like soap, shampoo, a baby towel, a baby tub filled with warm water, blankets, etc. close by.
Because he could lose body heat too quickly while being bathed, keep the room or bathroom warm enough. You can either keep the temperature of your room set at roughly 75 or 80 degrees or run the hot shower for a few minutes before getting in.
Don’t Use Too Much Soap
Too much soap can make your baby’s skin dry. So, avoid using too much soap on your baby’s skin. Use soap only to clean your baby’s hands and diaper area. Also, make sure you use mild and hypoallergenic baby soap.
Go easy on private parts
Use a soft, clean cloth, gentle soap, and lukewarm water to clean your baby’s genitals. Have a girl? Wash the area from front to back, and don’t forget to gently wipe between skin folds. If you have a baby boy who’s been circumcised, wipe his penis clean; if your baby boy is uncircumcised, no need to pull back his foreskin. Next up: that tiny little bottom (use a little soap).
Hold your infant firmly
Hold your infant tightly enough to prevent him from slipping away. The water, shampoo, and soap could help you relax your hold. However, be sure to hold him securely by placing one hand under his head while using the other to wash him with soap and water.
Don’t force it
If your baby hates being bathed in the tub, go back to sponge baths for a few days, then try again. She’ll get the hang of it eventually.
How to dry a newborn after a bath
Here’s how to wrap up your baby’s bath, including a bit about rinsing, drying, and using lotion:
Holding your child in a football-like position with the back of his head cradled in one hand, his body draped along your arm, and his head over the basin, use clean, warm water for the last rinse cycle. After filling the cup, gently pour the water over your infant’s head and other body parts.
Dry her delicately
Next, use a soft, dry cloth to pat your baby’s skin, not rub it. Make careful to dry her bottom and all other regions with folds of skin completely. There are a lot of such in chubby babies!
Take it easy on the baby lotion
Although a small amount of baby-safe lotion is OK, that lovely and extremely sensitive skin doesn’t require much in the way of lotions, oils, or creams. However, stay away from baby powders, which might irritate a baby’s airways. Warm a hypoallergenic lotion in your hands before massaging it into your baby’s skin if your doctor advises it (for example, if your infant has dry or eczema-prone skin).
Dress and diaper
Put on a new diaper and put your infant in some fresh clothing. After giving your baby a sponge wash, if she still needs some soothing, wrap her in a blanket before settling down for a cuddle with your fresh, fragrant newborn.
Why is it important to bathe a newborn baby?
The benefits of bathtime go way beyond a basic cleanup! Here’s why baths are good for babies:
They foster closeness
Because it’s all about spending time together, bathtime rapidly becomes a highlight of the day. To show your baby that you care, take good care of her; look into her eyes, kiss that delicious baby belly, count those little toes, and sing silly songs as you wash. Your infant will feel your tender touch and hear your soothing voice, which will convey how much you care for her.
There is a good amount of learning
Yes, there is much to learn in the bathtub. Give your child a sensory experience by drizzling water gently onto her stomach, or demonstrate how to make a splash by kicking the water with your foot. Don’t forget to provide a play-by-play as you wash and to name each of her little body parts as you take a bath.
They might be calming
Nothing is more relaxing and comfortable than a soak in the tub after a long day, as you undoubtedly already know from your own bathing experiences. Try your hand at giving a baby a massage afterward to heighten the sense of relaxation. Even while most infants enjoy it, if your baby objects (cries or turns her head), don’t worry; just cuddle with her instead.
They could put you to sleep
Even more of a reason to enjoy bathing your infant, particularly if you incorporate it into her nighttime ritual. Your baby will go asleep because of the warm water, warm surroundings, and warm feelings of safety, security, and love.
What is the golden hour after birth?
The first hour after birth when a mother has uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with her newborn is referred to as the “golden hour.” This period time is critical for a newborn baby who spent the past nine months in a controlled environment.
How long after the umbilical cord falls off for a bath?
ten to 14 days
Before giving your baby her first tub bath, wait until her umbilical cord falls off, which usually happens ten to 14 days after birth. When your baby is ready to go in the tub, it’s fine to use just water. If you do use soap, choose a mild one made for babies so it doesn’t irritate their skin.
Should the baby’s head be covered?
Babies cool themselves down by releasing heat from their heads and faces. Babies can quickly overheat if they fall asleep wearing hats or beanies. So it’s important to keep your baby’s head uncovered during sleep. Headwear in bed can also be a choking or suffocation hazard.
Should you the feed baby before or after a bath?
Bathing your baby safely
It’s best not to bathe your baby straight after a feed or when they’re hungry or tired. Make sure the room you’re bathing them in is warm. Have everything you need at hand: a baby bath or clean washing-up bowl filled with warm water, 2 towels, a clean nappy, clean clothes and, cotton wool.
What happens if I don’t bathe my baby?
Bath time might be part of your nightly ritual, but doctors don’t recommend daily baths for babies. Excess exposure to water can zap their skin with moisture and worsen conditions like eczema. Then again, not bathing your baby often enough can also aggravate eczema, plus lead to other infections.