Whether you’re expecting your first or your fifth baby, their first bath will be an exciting experience which can at the same time feeling a tad nerve-wracking. This teeny tiny baby will be 100% dependent upon you to keep them safe and that’s no small responsibility! If you’re feeling nervous about bathing your newborn baby then read on to find out our top tips for safe bath time fun.
Have everything that you’ll need easily accessible before you put your baby into the bath. Make sure you have a suitable thermometer for checking the water temperature, snuggly towel, a nice soft sponge or flannel, baby wash if you’re using it (the NHS recommend plain water only for the first month), a towel or soft mat to lay them on when they get out, a fresh nappy and a sleepsuit or outfit.
By being prepared before you undress and bathe your baby, you won’t find yourself struggling during or after the bath. The water temperature should be no more than 37 degrees and many bath thermometers will flash or change colour to indicate whether the temperature is safe or too hot. It’s also a good idea to get the room you’re bathing them in nice and warm because newborns are very sensitive to temperature changes.
Getting Baby In and Bathed
Lay your baby down on a flat surface and remove and clothing and their nappy. Remember not to leave them unsupervised if they’re on a changing unit or anywhere they could potentially roll off of.
Once baby is ready, support their head and neck as you gently lower them bottom first into the bath. The very clever Shnuggle Baby Bath is an amazing product which gives you added security and is super comfy for babies up to around 1 year old. This bath helps to ensure that your baby is positioned nicely and comfortably, from birth.
Never leave your baby unsupervised and be very vigilant that their head never goes beneath the water. Using the water from the bath and either your hand or a soft flannel/sponge, begin to wash them:
- Start with your baby’s face and ears – Don’t forget behind the ears and under the chin because milky dribble can collect there and cause sore skin. You can use a cotton bud to very gently clean the out ear but do not put anything inside of them
- Work your way down to their neck, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, legs and feet. Make a point of cleaning in between their cute little fingers and toes where fluff from clothing can gather
- Lastly, clean your baby’s bottom and genitals. Remember to clean girls from front to back and don’t forget their little creases between those baby rolls around the groin area – the same can be said for all of those squishable rolls!
Getting Baby Out of the Bath
Once you’ve given your baby a lovely little wash and it’s time to get them out, support their head and neck with one hand as you lift with the other and lay them on to the towel or mat on the floor. Using a second fluffy towel, pat your baby dry, again remembering those creases and digits. Work fairly quickly to stop baby from getting too cold, but don’t rub them because their skin is very delicate.
Pop a clean nappy on and then you may wish to do a nice baby massage before getting baby dressed. Baby massage is a lovely bonding experience and can help to soothe and comfort your baby as well as possibly easing things such as colic or reflux. For a lovely guide to baby massage, check out this article from NCT.
Get your baby dressed and give them a lovely cuddle, making sure they’re nice and warm.
Most newborns love baths, having spent 9 months in the womb. If you baby does panic about being bathed, then there are things you can try:
- Get in the bath with them. It is helpful to have a second person with you to lift baby in and out of the bath safely
- Try top and tailing them between bath days (if you don’t bath them daily) and when it is bath time, try washing their face as described above, but before you take your baby’s nappy off and put them into the bath
- Stay calm yourself and don’t force your baby to stay in the bath whilst restless. You can try to gently drop some water over their body but if baby is really upset then it’s fine to take them out
- Don’t try bath times when your baby is very tired or hungry – having a nice time in the water won’t be their priority!
Soak these lovely milestone moments and think of bath times as a bonding experience that you can both enjoy. Before you know it, your little one will be sitting unaided and splashing you the moment you put them into the bath!