Thinking about giving baby a bath? Guess what – your baby does not need a bath every day! Some babies like to have a bath, as we all know a bath is relaxing! But baby doesn't need one every day.
When you do give your baby a bath use something gentle on her skin. Your baby's skin absorbs a lot of what you put on it, so natural is an excellent choice.
So, how do I bathe my baby?!
You have several choices for bathing your baby. Many doctors advise only sponge baths until your baby's umbilical cord stump falls off. Sponge baths are a good way to clean your baby even after his cord stump falls off. Or you can choose to give him a “real” bath! You can use a sink, a baby tub, your bathtub, or even a big bucket!
Fill your chosen bath place with tepid water – test it on the inside of your wrist because that skin is very sensitive.
If you use a big, clean bucket hold your baby firmly under the arms and dip her into the water. If she enjoys it hold her for a few minutes and let her kick around! Then clean her off with a little soap and dunk her again to rinse. Holding her firmly under the arms works well for a sink bath too. A baby bath will probably have some support built in.
Use a washcloth with a little baby wash and gently wash your baby all over. You may want to start a rhythmical bathing routine – first one leg, then the other, then the arms, then baby's trunk, etc. This helps your baby learn the bath time routine. Your young child will probably begin to wash in the same order after having you do it throughout his or her babyhood.
Clean all your baby's creases and folds. The neck, armpits, and behind the ears typically tend to get dust and milk trapped in the skin folds and need to be cleaned.
In the Tub with Mama
If you choose to bathe your baby in the bathtub there are a couple of ways you can do it. One is to get a baby bath seat and let your baby recline while you bathe him with soap and warm water.
You can also get in the tub with your baby. This is a relaxing, special time for both you and your baby. Fill the tub to your hips or just a little higher, testing the water to make sure it's comfortable at a tepid temperature.
It's helpful if you have someone to hold the baby while you get in the tub, especially in the early weeks. If you don't have help let your baby lie on a towel while you climb in, then lean over and lift him into the tub with you.
Your body makes a natural seat for your baby and you can find many positions to hold him in. It becomes more of an adventure as she gets older! You can also nurse your baby while she's in the tub with you. This is especially helpful if she's unsure about the bath. Fussy babies may be calmed by a bath with mama, and it's often relaxing for you too!
Again, natural cleansers are best for your baby. His warm, wet skin absorbs a lot of what you put onto it. If your baby is very sensitive to washing or doesn't seem to like bath time, you can gently wash the skin as your baby nurses in the tub with you.
Once you climb out of the tub wrap your baby in a towel or place her on your body and wrap a towel around both of you. I've always liked using hooded bath towels, which seem to be pretty standard baby gifts! You might want want to use a gentle lotion on your baby's skin, or you can use a thin layer of almond oil or olive oil to moisturize.