If you are a new mother, nothing is as scary as the prospect of bathing your baby once you bring her home. First of all, she’s tiny and you worry that she will slip right through your fingers and what about that umbilical cord? You don’t want to get within a mile of it in case you hurt her!
Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, sponge baths are sufficient to get her clean. It’s not like she was rolling around in the mud anyway! As long as you clean the baby’s genitals thoroughly during every diaper change, sponging the baby down with a warm washcloth is good enough for the first week or so.
Once the baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off, you can give your baby a tub bath every day although she does not necessarily need one more than a couple of times a week. However, some experts believe that giving your baby a warm bath will improve blood circulation and muscle tone. Either way, the idea of handling a wiggling soapy baby can be terrifying especially if this is your first time around. But with practice, you will become a pro at it and even be able to anticipate your baby’s every move during a bath.
Some babies find a bath calming and then there are others that will bawl their heads off from the moment they are undressed until their diaper is back on after the bath. If your baby enjoys her bath, it is okay to let her soak in the water for a few extra minutes as long as you are watching over her. On the other hand, if you are shuddering at the idea of giving your screaming baby a bath, keep the frequency to twice a week with the bath not lasting more than 5 minutes. After all, you don’t want your baby to have a negative association with bath time.
Giving your baby a bath
1. Before you even begin undressing your baby, keep all your supplies close at hand so that your baby is not left unattended for even a moment. Gather the baby’s towel, soap, diaper and clothes and set the minutes aside so you can grab them quickly.
2. Fill the baby’s tub with lukewarm water to about the half way mark.
3. Undress your baby completely and put her into the water with her feet first to prepare her for what is coming while supporting the baby’s neck.
4. Place her in the tub and pour cupfuls of water until she’s warmed up and allow her to soak for a few ms enjoying it.
5. Use baby soap sparingly along with a washcloth to clean her face and around the ears without pouring water directly onto the face. It is not necessary to wash your baby’s head every day.