Learning To Bathe Your Little One
Newborn babies don't need bathing every day as their skin is very sensitive and too much exposure to water can make their skin dry. In the first six weeks of life you probably don't need to do any more than keep their face and nappy area clean and dry unless your baby’s healthcare provider has advised you differently.
When you start bathing your baby regularly here are a few well-tested tips:
- - Choose a time when you are feeling relaxed and not rushed; bathing should be a fun time for you and your baby.
- - Don't bathe your baby straight after a feed or when she/he is hungry or really tired.
- - Take time to make sure the environment is comfortable, nice and warm, no draughts.
- - Involve dad or your partner as it's a great opportunity to have special bonding time.
- - Get everything ready before you start as it is crucial that you not leave baby unattended in the bath at any time:
- Soft sponge
- Clean clothes
- Bath toy
- Bath book ( The Flying Bath is a particular favourite of ours)
- Toiletries (Try our Earth Friendly Baby® range of natural and organic toiletries for all skin types)
- Bath support for your baby so that you have two hands free to concentrate on having a fun time.
Many new parents worry about what kind of bath to buy and how to do it. There are many different shapes and sizes of baths available. Have a look around and buy the one that feels right for you and your family. As for technique, a good place to start is to wrap baby in a towel leaving their face and head clear - clean baby’s face first, then wash their hair (gently hold them over the bath, and, finally, remove their nappy if you have left it on, and gently place them into the bath. As long as you don't get their head under the water you're doing just fine! Find a way that's comfortable for you and your baby, just trust yourself and enjoy this special time.
A few safety points:
- lay a flannel or something similar on the bottom of the bath, this will help baby’s bottom from slipping. This does not replace you – you must continue to hold baby securely and never leave your baby on their own in the water no matter how shallow it seems
- Water temperature should not be too hot or cold. Test the water by dipping your elbow into the bath before you put your little one in. If it feels nice and warm to you then it should be fine. Your baby will soon let you know if she/he is uncomfortable, it's a very common mistake for parents to make the water too cold and then wonder why their baby screams!
- Look after yourself. Don't lift a bath full of water in the early days, it may hurt your tummy muscles especially if you had a caesarean birth. Ask your partner to help and get them involved, especially as you recover from birth.
- Think about where to place the bath. Having the bath placed on the floor may be a good idea as it will give you good access and will lessen your having to lean over and strain your back. Placing the bath on a chest of drawers or table top may be better if you have any back problems but be sure it is secure and cannot slip or fall off the surface.
Finally, when bath time is over, get ready with a dry, soft towel and cuddle up quickly to avoid chilling and lots of protesting from your little one.
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