There are going to be many great bonding times to have with your baby—and one of them is bath time. Bath time can be so much fun with a splashing, giggling baby; but aside from the fun and games, you need to be alert and make sure he’s safe during bath time. In this blog, we’re sharing awesome safety tips in addition to other bath tips.
What Are the Bath Basics?
Once his umbilical cord falls off you’re free to give him a tub bath—if he’s been circumcised you’ll need to wait for that to heal too, but until then a sponge bath will be fine. When selecting a baby bathtub, you’ll want to get one that has a sling or a contoured shape to keep the tyke from slipping; stay away from bath seats as they can easily tip over and trap your infant underwater.
Before you begin bathing, lay out all the items you’re going to need: washcloth, baby soap, a soft towel, clothes and a diaper. Keep everything within arm’s reach so that you’ll have one hand on him the entire time. It’s vital that you never leave him with an older sibling or alone while he’s in the bathtub—not even for 10 seconds—because babies can easily drown in an inch of water. If your landline phone rings or someone knocks at your door, and you have to answer it, wrap him up in a towel and bring him along.
When the bath’s done, promptly drain the tub of bath water and wrap him swiftly in the towel; you don’t want him to lose too much of his precious body heat and become chilled. Completely dry him off –especially in the folds of his skin—before diapering and dressing him. Likewise, be mindful of these things you need to do:
- If your water’s too hot, it could burn him so your water heater must be set to 120˚ F.
- When you leave the bathroom, make it a habit of closing the door. Once your baby boy starts crawling, you don’t want him entering this room and getting hurt.
- A baby tub sliding around during the bath could cause an accident or worse; placing a non-skid bathmat underneath will stabilize the baby tub and keep him safe.
- In case of an emergency, it’s a good idea for you to learn infant CPR.
- You don’t want to see him get hurt so purchasing a cushioned spout cover will prevent injury if he hits his head on the faucet.
How Often and When Should I Bathe Her?
This is entirely up to you. She doesn’t need a bath every day—two or three days per week is ideal; but she does need her hands, neck, face, and bottom cleaned each day. As for the when, pay attention to her actions. Some babies find bath water calming which would make just before bedtime the ideal bath time; others get excited and like to splash around making the morning a good time. It all depends on how she reacts.
What’s the Proper Bath Water Temperature?
Before we talk about bath water temperature, you should consider the room temperature. You don’t like bathing in a cool bathroom, do you? Well, neither will your baby. If the bathroom is too cool, he’ll get cold and possibly sick. So keep in mind that a cozy bathroom temperature for him is 75˚ F.
Your tub should be filled with about 2 inches of lukewarm, not hot, water—around 90˚ F. Baby’s skin can’t handle hot water baths like we can. Before placing your baby in his tub, use the inside of your elbow or your wrist to test that the water’s warm. Never put him in the tub while it’s filling up; the water may become too deep, or the temperature could suddenly change. Some babies are even sensitive to the sound of running water and don’t like it. As you and he enjoy bath time, you’ll need to keep checking the water’s temperature; when the waters begins to turn cool, then his bath is done.
To make things a bit easier, you could buy a baby bathtub water thermometer which will give you the exact temperature of the water.
Which Soap and Shampoo Should I use?
There are many brands of baby soaps and shampoos out there. But whichever one you choose it should be mild and tear-free like Aveeno Baby Bath Wash. Put a small drop of soap on your washcloth and work it into a lather before washing your baby. Wash your newborn with her head cradled in one arm as you gently wash her with your other hand. As she gets more active, have play time before wash time so that she’s not sitting in soapy water; soapy water could cause rashes on her soft, sensitive skin.
Once or twice per week, you’ll need to wash her hair. Just put a small drop of shampoo—such as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo—on the washcloth, rub into a lather and carefully wash her hair. Some babies get “cradle cap” which is patches of scaly skin on the head; if she has this use a soft bristle brush to work the scales free as you shampoo. If her hair appears to be dirty between washes there isn’t any need to drag out the baby tub, just take a damp washcloth and wet down her hair. It can’t be any simpler, right?
You’ll also discover that there are combination products for your tot, much like there are for adults—Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo and Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash are two perfect examples if you’d rather go the 2-in-1 route.
With these helpful bath tips, bath time is sure to be worry-free, safe and enjoyable experience for both of you. It’s one of the best ways to create a bond with your little one that will last a lifetime.