Tub Time: Baby’s First Real Bath

About two weeks or so after birth, your baby’s umbilical cord stump will fall off, and you will be cleared to begin bathing him in a tub. Giving your baby a bath can be a special time of relaxation and bonding, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t seem to like it at first. Properly preparing for bathing your baby can help to make it pleasant for everyone. Just keep a few things in mind.

Newborns Don’t Like Being Cold!

Many babies will cry due to the cold when they are being undressed, whether for a diaper change or a bath. Try to keep your baby as warm as possible at bath time. Turn up the heat a little in the room where you are bathing him, and don’t remove his clothes until the last possible second. Make sure that his bathwater is comfortably warm – not too hot but not cool either. You should make a habit of checking the temperature every time to avoid burns.

To prevent the risk of drowning, you should always use the minimum amount of water necessary for a bath. Unfortunately this safety precaution means a good portion of baby’s body will be above the water level and at risk of getting cold. When you place your newborn in the tub, soak a washcloth in the warm water, and lay it across his chest and stomach to keep him warm. Bathe him gently but quickly, and have a warm towel standing by.

After moving him to the towel, wrap him up warmly and securely, and hold him for a while before getting him dressed. Waiting until your baby is thoroughly dried before removing the towel will keep cool air off his wet skin.

Keep Bath Time Safe

In addition to carefully monitoring the temperature and level of the bathwater, there are some other safety precautions to keep in mind when preparing for tub bathing. If you are using an infant tub set in a kitchen sink as many new parents do, make certain that the tub is secure and will not slip.

Since bathing items aren’t usually kept in the kitchen, double check that you have everything you need before placing your baby in the tub. Never leave a baby in the tub unattended! Drowning can happen incredibly fast, so keep your baby within arm’s reach. For her first tub bath and those to follow in the early weeks of life, it’s a good idea to keep one hand on her at all times.

Use caution when lifting your baby out of the tub, she will be very slippery and potentially wiggly too! Get her into a towel as quickly as possible.

Getting Baby clean

Newborns don’t really get all that dirty, so bathing won’t be necessary every day. In fact, bathing too frequently can dry out your newborn’s sensitive skin. Use a gentle, tearless baby wash formula, never soap or anything intended for adult use. Pay the most attention to the diaper area, underarms, and under the chin where spit-up may accumulate. A small amount of baby wash on a soft washcloth will do the trick.

Although you may think your baby’s ears need regular cleaning with cotton swabs, it is actually not recommended by otolaryngologists. A gentle cleaning with a wash cloth is all that is required.

From that first tub bathing, you will soon come to treasure the peaceful time of gently cleansing your newborn’s soft skin. By keeping baby as warm as possible and taking the right precautions, you can ensure it is a happy and safe time every time your baby has a bath.

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