Bathing a newborn baby can be a bit intimidating for new parents, but with some basic steps and precautions, it can be a fun bonding experience for both the baby and the parents. Keep in mind your pediatrician may recommend not bathing your baby for a few days after birth. This is because your little one is covered in a waxy residue called vernix which helps protect the newborn from germs. If you are a proud parent of a bouncing baby boy that just had a circumcision, please follow your pediatricians instructions on circumcision care.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to bathe a newborn baby:
- Gather supplies: Before starting, make sure you have all the necessary supplies within arm’s reach. You’ll need a clean towel, a basin or bathtub filled with warm water (around 37°C/98.6°F), mild baby soap or cleanser, cotton balls, a diaper, and clean clothes.
- Set the mood: Make sure the room is warm and free of drafts. Soft music or gentle talking can also help to soothe the baby.
- Undress your baby: Lay your baby on a flat, secure surface, such as a changing table or the floor. Remove all clothing, except for the diaper. If your baby has a dirty diaper, clean the diaper area with wipes and replace the diaper.
- Clean the face and eyes: Dab a cloth in warm water and gently clean around your baby’s eyes and nose. Do not use soap while cleaning around the eyes. Warm water is fine and you don’t want to risk getting soap in your newborns eyes.
- Wash the hair: Wet your baby’s hair with warm water and apply a small amount of baby shampoo. Gently massage the scalp with your fingertips, being careful not to rub too hard. Rinse the hair with warm water and use a clean washcloth to wipe away any excess shampoo.
- Wash the body: Support your baby’s head and neck with one hand and use the other hand to gently wash the body with mild baby soap or cleanser. Avoid getting the umbilical cord stump wet.
- Clean the umbilical cord: Wet a cloth with warm water and gently clean around the base of the cord stump. Be gentle and avoid pulling on the cord stump.
- Dry your baby: Lift your baby out of the water and wrap them in a clean towel. Pat them dry, paying special attention to the folds of skin. Don’t forget to dry between the fingers and toes.
- Dress your baby: Dress your baby in clean clothes and a fresh diaper.
- It’s important to keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry until it falls off, which usually happens within 1 to 2 weeks after birth. During this time, avoid giving your baby a full bath and stick to sponge baths until the stump falls off. After the stump falls off, you can then give you little one a regular baths.
Remember, never leave your baby unattended during bath time, even for a moment. And always use caution when handling a wet, slippery baby. With some practice, bathing your newborn will become an easy and enjoyable part of your daily routine.