Bath time can be a scary experience for a first time parent or even for a newborn baby. The reason for this is that it is a first thing for either party involved. If you know some tips and tricks to follow, bath time will soon be fun for everybody involved.
If you have a newborn baby that still has their umbilical cord or even a baby that has been circumcised you do not want to give them a tub bath until the cord has fallen off or the circumcision has healed. Until that happens, you are going to want to stick with giving your baby a sponge bath so you can avoid any infections.
Here are the steps that you can follow to give your newborn a sponge bath.
Gather all of your supplies before you start the bath. This will ensure that you do not leave your baby unattended or turn away from them for even a second. The supplies that you are going to need are mild baby soap, cotton balls, two washcloths, towel, rubbing alcohol, a clean diaper, and clean clothes.
Fill the sink or a small bowl with warm water. The best way to test the water is to run the water over the inside of your wrist.
Undress your baby and wrap them in a small towel, hooded towels work great because it allows you to cover the top of their head, which keeps them warmer. Do not worry if your baby becomes alarmed when they are naked, some babies do not enjoy being naked. If this is the case, keep them wrapped in the towel and only expose one section of skin at a time for the sponge bath.
Treating Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is something that newborns and young infants can suffer from. Cradle cap can look similar to dandruff, but it can also be thick, oily, yellowish, or brown scaling or crusting patches. While cradle cap does not look very cute on your precious newborn baby, it is nice to know that it is completely harmless. In fact, most issues of cradle cap clear up on its own by the time your baby is six to twelve months old.
Cradle cap can also appear on other parts of your baby's body, such as the eyebrows, ears or even in other creases. However, it is only referred to, as cradle cap if it is on your baby's head; otherwise, it is known as seborrheic dermatitis. Nobody really knows what causes cradle cap, but the experts do know that it is not caused by poor hygiene or allergies. In fact, cradle cap usually will not even bother your baby, although it might itch if the case is severe enough.
Since cradle cap is not contagious and it usually clears up on its own you do not need to do anything to treat it. However, if it does bother you there are some things that you can do to remove the flaky patches of skin. The first thing that you can try doing is shampooing your baby's hair more often. After you have washed your baby's hair you can try brushing your baby's head with a soft brush, some parents recommend using a soft toothbrush. Alternatively, you can even rub your baby's head with a terrycloth towel. What this is going to do is loosen up the skin so that it flakes off your baby's scalp.
If this does not seem to work for your baby, you can try using an oil remedy. You can use a product that is designed to treat cradle cap or you can use a small amount of pure, natural oil, such as almond or olive oil. Simply rub a small amount onto your baby's head and leave it on for 15 minutes. Use a fine-toothed comb or a soft brush to comb out the flakes. Afterwards be sure to wash your baby's hair with baby shampoo. This ensures that the oil does not clog the pores or makes the flakes stick to the scalp.
Dip a cotton ball into the water. Squeeze out the excess water. Wipe your baby's eyes with the cotton ball. When wiping their eye make sure that you are wiping from the bridge of the nose outward and you want to use a new cotton ball for each eye.
Dampen one of the washcloths in the sink or bowl of warm water. Do not soak the washcloth, so you want to make sure that you wring it out until there are no drips. Keeping it damp will reduce the drips and reduce the possibility of getting soap into the baby's eyes.
Wash your baby's face and outer parts of their ears first. The face is done first so you can use the cleanest water. Do not use soap on your baby's face.
Put a little bit of soap on the washcloth, if you desire, with newborns, there is no need to use soap. Wash their neck and scalp first, and then work your way down the front of their body. Do not wash their umbilical stump. If you get it wet this can lead to an infection. Make sure that you move the various folds of skin to wash between them. If you neglect to move the folds of skin, your baby can develop sores.
Get the second washcloth damp. Use it to rinse off the soap. After you have rinsed off a section make sure you dry it and cover it with the towel as you go. This will prevent your baby from getting cold, which can make them fussy.
Place your baby on their stomach, making sure that their head is turned to one side.
Repeat the washing, rinsing and drying on their backside. Wash their bottom and genitals last, so that you are not spreading any bowel movement residue onto their body. If your baby is a boy and has not been circumcised do not try to retract the foreskin.
Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe around the base of the umbilical cord. This will kill any bacteria that are near the umbilical cord to help reduce the chances of infection. The rubbing alcohol will not cause the umbilical cord to fall off any faster.
Pat your baby dry once again, to ensure that they are dry, then put on clean diaper and clothes.
Bathinh Baby that has been Circumcised
Once your baby's umbilical cord has fallen off and their circumcision has healed, if they are a boy that has been circumcised, you can start giving them a bath in an infant bathtub. Here are the steps that you will need to follow to give your baby a tub bath.
Choose a spot that is comfortable for you to bathe your baby. For example, place a baby bathtub inside a regular tub, or you can use a clean kitchen sink with a special baby-bathing liner or even a thick towel.
Gather all of your supplies before you start the bath. This will ensure that you do not leave your baby unattended or turn away from them for even a second. The supplies that you are going to need are mild baby soap, cotton balls, washcloth, towel, a clean diaper, and clean clothes.
Put about two inches of warm water into the bathtub or the sink. The bath water should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check the temperature of the water with a bath thermometer or your elbow or inside of your wrist.
Slowly lower your baby into the bathtub, while you are cradling them in one arm. Their head should be resting on the arm that you are cradling them with and your hand should be holding onto their thigh.
The washing part is the same as when you were giving your baby a sponge bath. The only difference is that instead of using two washcloths you will only be using one. You want to start at the eyes and work your way down their body. You also want to make sure that you are always cradling your baby with one arm and hand so that they feel more secure. This will also help to keep their head out of the water.
Rinse any soap or shampoo away as soon as you are done with that section. The reason for this is that it will be avoiding drying or irritating your baby's skin. When rinsing your baby make sure that the washcloth is rinsed out thoroughly, this will get rid of any soap residue so your baby receives a clean rinse. You can rinse the washcloth out in the tub of water or you can rinse it under warm running water.
Once they are thoroughly rinsed off, you want to remove them from the bathtub. When lifting your baby out of the bathtub make sure that you are supporting their head and neck. Once you have them out of the bathtub you want to place them directly onto a towel.
Wrap your baby up snugly in the towel and carry them to a changing table or somewhere comfortable for you to dress them.
Pat your baby dry, then put on a clean diaper, and clean clothes. If your baby has a lot of hair you also want to brush their hair with a soft brush, this prevents the hair from going in many directions.
Some Other Bathing Tips:
- Newborn babies do not need daily baths; experts believe that two to three baths a week is sufficient.
- You do not need to use soap on a newborn or young infant unless the weather has been extremely hot or the baby has gotten dirty from spitting up or a messy bowel movement.
- If using soap, use it towards the end of the bath so that your baby is not sitting in soapy water for a long period, this can dry out your baby's skin.
- Your baby's hair only needs to be washed once or twice a week. When washing your baby's hair you can use mild baby soap or baby shampoo.
- If your baby has a small amount of hair, a washcloth will work fine to wash their hair. As your baby grows more hair, you will want to start using a cup to rinse their hair. When using a cup you are going to want to cradle your baby's head in your hands and tilt their head back so water does not run into their eyes.
- Bathe your baby in a room that is warm and draft-free.
- If your baby does not like the infant bathtub, you can continue giving them a sponge bath. However, you need to try using the baby tub again every few weeks, so that they can get used to the feeling of it.
- If your baby does not, like being naked in the bathtub you can cover their back or belly with a wet washcloth as you wash the rest of their body.
- Never bathe a baby in an adult bathtub until they can sit up on their own, this usually happens around six months of age.