Your baby's first bath can be lots of fun, or terribly intimidating! While many parents get nervous with their newborn around water, we are here to help with some tips to ensure baby and you both love this regular bonding time.
Top and Tail
While you don't need to bathe your baby everyday, you should ensure that their bottom, hands, neck and face are washed each day with a clean, warm, wash cloth. Make sure your baby is settled and content before beginning this daily ritual or it may exacerbate their unsettled mood.
It's all in the timing
Babies do however, need a proper bath at least twice a week. Some people prefer to bathe them daily as part of an evening, bedtime routine which is also ok. Choose what works for you and your family.
Choosing the right time to bathe your baby is key! If you try straight after a feed it may cause them to spit up some milk (particularly for refluxy babies). Also if you wait until they are hungry or tired, they will become quite agitated. Many families choose bath time to be after their last feed and a little tummy time at the end of the day, but before they are too tired. This often occurs as part of an evening bedtime routine.
Once you have chosen the time you will bathe your baby, make sure you have a comfortable and warm place to do so. Many parents prefer to use a smaller baby bath, rather than a full sized bath at first. This means you can rest it on a bench so you don't need to bend over, and then place a towel and change mat just next to it, so that when they come out of the bath, your baby is not being walked through a cold house to get dressed.
As mentioned above, it's best to use a baby bath and set up before getting baby undressed. Start by checking the temperature of the water. Baby thermometers can do this for you. Aim for around their own temperature, 37°C - 38°C, which will ensure it's not too hot or too cold. Get out your baby's towel and lay out on the change table, as well as baby soap and lotion, a clean nappy and clean clothes.
Bathing your Baby
Now that you are all organised, ensure baby is content, and bring them over to the bath. Lay them down on the change table to take their clothes and nappy off. As you dip them into the water with one hand resting between their shoulder blades, (high up on their back,) place their feet in first and then slowly lower them into the water, keeping their head well above the water line. Try to avoid splashing or sudden movements.
Many babies enjoy the feeling of having a face washer cloth placed over their chest, you may even do this before you put them in if they don't like having their clothes off. Gently swirl the water over their chest. Using another face washer cloth, avoid scrubbing, but gently soap them down with a gentle, anti-irritation baby cleanser (such as our fave Parisien Le Bebe Jacadi one) and then ensure all of this has been washed off before removing them from the bath. Please remember to never leave your baby alone in the bath under any circumstances, keeping a close watch on them at all times.
Once finished, gently lift them out of the bath and place them on the towel and change table that you had laid out before, wrapping them quickly to keep them warm. To dry baby, gently pat them with the towel and avoid vigorous rubbing to protect their delicate skin.
Moisturise and Massage
Finally, before dressing baby, gently massage their body using a delicate baby body lotion or baby oil. Apply the oil onto your own hands first, and then gently massage one part of your baby's body, often beginning with their feet or legs first. If baby seem to be enjoying it, slowly move on to other parts of their body including their arms, hands, chest and tummy. For more tips on baby massage, check out our full post here.
Once you have completed the above, dress baby, have a cuddle and perhaps read them a story if it is close to bed time.
Does your baby love or loathe bath time? Have some tips for us? We'd love to hear them, please share below!