Bathing your newborn for the first time is one of the biggest milestones for you and for the child. The task might appear daunting for obvious reasons, but following a few steps can make it less scary. Being patient and confident about the process is important to ensure you are giving your newborn a safe bath. There is no hurry to shift them to the big tub right from the beginning. You can start with a sponge bath and then gradually move to the baby tub. Until your baby is old enough to sit on their own, they should not be given a bath in the big tub. Read on to know more about the whens and hows of giving your baby a bath.
When To Give Your Newborn Their First Bath
As per reports, you can give your newborn their first bath after 24 hours (1). It is important to maintain a 24-hour gap between their birth and their first bath. This helps in keeping the baby moisturized, maintaining their blood sugar and pressure level, and also stimulates bonding between the mother and the child (2).
Until the umbilical cord stump falls off, it is better to give them sponge baths to avoid any potential infection. The stump generally falls off within three weeks or so and you would wait until then to give the baby a proper bath.
The same logic applies to circumcised babies. If circumcision is not done immediately after birth, you should wait for at least two days after the process before giving the child a full-body bath.
The time of the bath can be decided by you, depending on your convenience. While some parents like bathing their children first thing in the morning, some prefer to do it before bedtime. Do what suits you best and look for your baby’s reaction to ensure the timing is not creating any other health issues.
How To Give A Sponge Bath
Since you will have to wait for at least three weeks before you bathe your baby with water and everything, it is important to know and follow a few points to give them the best sponge baths.
- As the first step, you will have to fill a tub or a basin with lukewarm water and lie your baby on a comfortable surface, with a towel covering their body. You should make sure that you keep one hand on your baby throughout the bath.
- Now, you can dip a washcloth in the tub or basin, soak it out a bit and start with cleaning the baby’s face. You have to be extremely gentle and careful. You can gradually move to the rest of the body from the face.
- Using soap is not really necessary while giving your child a sponge bath. The soaps can be harmful to their sensitive skin. However, if you are keen on using soap, make sure it’s been made especially for babies and is mild and moisturizing.
How Often Can A Newborn Be Bathed
Giving your newborn a bath two-three times a week should be enough. Newborns don’t get dirty like toddlers and they don’t sweat much like adults either. So, two-three times a week will be good for them. Moreover, if you are bathing your child too often, that might reduce the moisture of their skin and make it dry.
You can give more regular baths as your newborn grows up. A lot of children like the warmth of the water and spending time in it. If that is the case with your child, the baths can be given more frequently once they are a bit older.
How To Give A Newborn a Full-Body Bath
As your newborn grows up, it is safe to shift from sponge bathing to full-body baths. It might sound scary at first, but following the right steps will ensure that you are able to bathe your child safely and comfortably.
- You should gather all the essential things like soap, creams, bath towels, washcloths, etc, and fill up the baby tub with lukewarm water.
- You can then bring the baby to the tub, undress them, and immediately put them in the water. Make sure to hold your baby properly, with one hand under their head and another one guiding their legs into the water.
- Gently pour water all over the baby’s body. Make sure to maintain a smooth flow so that water does not get inside your baby’s nose or mouth.
- Once done, take your baby out of the tub and dry them gently with the bath towel.
Bathing a child right after their birth naturally appears as a scary thing. However, it is an important step in nurturing a baby properly and thus has to be done. The good news is, with the right information and dedication to certain steps, parents can easily bathe their newborns safely. Do you have any unique ideas that would help one to bathe their children well? Do share those with us in the comment section!