Bathing can be fun for parent and baby but for the first time mum or dad the experience may seem like a daunting prospect. By following these tips for baby bathing and making sure you have all your baby bathing essentials to hand, you’ll soon be looking forward to bath time and bonding with your little one whilst you get them nice and clean.
How Often Should You Bathe a Baby?
Until your baby starts to crawl and become more mobile, a daily bath is not necessary, unless they become especially dirty, although some parents to choose to bath their children every day. Providing you frequently wash your baby’s face and ensure that they are clean, fresh and comfortable with every nappy change then you won’t have to bathe them every day.
The choice is up to you but using cleansers and tap water too regularly may damage the delicate developing skin of a new-born. You should use a specially formulated cleanser with a gentle pH and use it sparingly within the first weeks.
How to Bathe a New Baby
Firstly, make sure you have a baby bath, bath chair or bath support. You may find it easier to use a baby bath, to begin with as a standard bath can make it awkward to kneel or lean over your infant. This results in a loss of control over your baby's movements. If you don't want to use a baby bath, a baby bath chair or support will keep your infant comfortable and safe in an elevated or seating position. If you're going to be using a standard bath, make sure you've placed a non-slip mat down to prevent any accidents.
Once you've got all your bathing accessories to hand, you're ready to begin.
1. To reduce the risk of scalding your baby, run the cold water first and then the hot. Never put your baby in the bath while the water is running.
2. Check the bath water temperature is warm and not hot. Ideally, you should be trying to get the temperature to 38°C (100.4°F). Use a thermometer to make sure.
3. Fill the bath with around five inches of water until your baby reaches six months old then you can add more.
4. If you're using a baby bath seat or support, place it into the water.
5. Undress your baby and place them into the bath supporting both head and neck.
6. Use a soft flannel or sponge. Take the sponge and apply soap to it sparingly. Never use too much soap, shampoo or bubble bath as too much can cause dry skin and irritation – even the formulated baby options. Wash from head to toe and front to back but use moist cotton wool to clean the face and eyes.
7. Rinse the baby with a clean sponge or flannel.
8. Wrap your baby in a towel and pat them dry (don't rub dry). If their skin feels dry or your baby has nappy rash apply baby moisturiser.
Note - You must never leave your baby unattended in the bath and make sure the room is warm to minimise heat loss after the bath.