At first glance, bathing a baby seems a breeze. How hard can it be, right? But once you are actually holding your precious newborn, filling the tub and plopping them in it can be a little intimidating. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Until the umbilical cord falls off sponge baths are the rule. It’s pretty much like it sounds. You use a sponge, or a clean wash cloth, to wash the baby instead of immersing her in a tub. Start with the face (no soap yet) and gently clean her off with the wet cloth. Keep her covered and warm while you are bathing her, only exposing the area you are cleaning. Next use some soapy water to dip your cloth in and clean the rest of her body, paying attention to the crevices. You can finish up with lotion if you like. But beware, for the first week or so she is going to look like she is peeling and all the lotion in the world won’t help.
Once the cord has fallen off bathe her around 3 times a week. You can use whatever area works best for you. A kitchen sink, a baby bath or the regular tub. Just fill the water (not too hot–make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120 degrees) up to the depth of your elbow. Support her head and put her in the tub. Then it’s just like before. A little soap, a soft cloth, and clean the body, remembering those darn hidden spots like under the neck and in the diaper area. Cup your hand over her forehead to keep soapy water out of her eyes. Since the water won’t completely cover her, pour some water over her occasionally to keep her warm. When you are done dry her off with a towel. The ones with the hoods work well to keep her from getting too cold.
One important point: NEVER leave your baby. Let the phone ring, the people at the door wait, the other children dump flour on the floor. Stay with your baby.
Initially bath time might not be her favorite activity, but she’ll love it with time. As she gets older she can splash around and even play with toys. And there’s nothing better than snuggling your clean baby when you get done.