When you bring your new baby home from the hospital, you may be both nervous and excited to begin your bath time schedule. Every week, your baby can benefit from three to four mild soap baths; on other days, you can clean your baby with plain water. This schedule can help keep your infant clean, prevent chafing and avoid skin rashes.
Bathing can also be a bonding time for the parent and the baby. Your infant can move freely, make sounds and build eye contact with you while you talk or sing to your child.
Safety Tips for an Infant Bath
The most important safety tip to keep in mind is never to leave your infant alone with water. Stay present with your child every second he or she is in or near a tub. During the bath, hold your baby firmly but comfortably, keeping one hand on the child when turning or stepping to the side.
Before starting the bath, gather all of the supplies you need. Keep the room temperature warm enough that your baby will not get chilled while wet and unclothed. A bath thermometer can help you measure the temperature of the water. Keeping a temperature of just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred for a comfortable, warm bath.
During the Bath
Before your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, you can start with sponge baths on a mat. After that, you can move on to a small baby tub for the baths. Before starting the bath, wash your hands and fill a small basin or baby tub with around 3 inches of water.
Gently lower your baby into the tub, supporting your child’s head and neck as you go. Begin by cleaning the infant’s face with a small cotton cloth, wiping the eye and nose area. You can use just a drop or two of soap to shampoo your baby’s hair and splash water until all the soap is gone. After your baby is clean all over and dried, you can apply baby lotion to soothe his or her skin.
By keeping these tips in mind, bath time may soon become a favorite time of day for both you and your child.