The first baths at home with a new baby can be super scary! You have this new little squish of a newborn who can feel so delicate to you, and now you have to get him or her wet and slippery! I promise you it isn’t as hard as you may think. Here are some tips and tricks to help make you feel more comfortable when giving those first baths.
First off you may want to make sure your home isn’t too cold. Even if it for a short time, either bump up the heat a little or turn down the air conditioning. This will ensure your newborn doesn’t get too cold while bathing.
Gather your supplies. You will need whichever baby soap you decided on, a washcloth or two, a couple of towels, diaper and clothes at the ready for after the bath. I also like use a bowl of warm water. You will also need to decide where you want to bathe the newborn.
There are a few different locations you can decide to use to bathe your newborn. Some like to use an infant tub that can either fit in their sink or their tub, some like a foam mat that can comfort their baby in a sink and some simply are ok with a soft towel on on the counter. Whichever you choose, just know that the newborn can’t be fully submerged in water until his umbilical cord stump falls off and the belly button is fully healed. This means that you will need to give the newborn a sponge bath at first.
Lie the baby down naked where you are bathing them and cover them with a dry towel to keep them as warm as possible. Take turns uncovering parts of their body to wash and then covering back up. Save their head for last since they lose the most heat that way. While washing gently use a wet and soapy wash cloth to wash their skin and be careful to only wash around the umbilical cord stump. It’s ok if it gets a little wet, but make sure not to submerge it as it can increase the risk of infection until it falls off and is fully healed. You can use the same washcloth once rinsed to wipe the soap off or a separate one using clean and warm water. Most likely the newborn will cry and not like this process at all. It’s totally normal! It does not mean you are doing anything wrong!
Once clean, scoop your newborn up into a dry towel and give the a nice snuggle to help warm them up! Dry them off and get a diaper on them before any accidents happen! If you’re able to, you can choose to do skin to skin with your newborn before getting them fully clothed. Sit down and get your self ready and lie your newborn on your chest and cover both of you with a blanket. Skin to skin can help calm the newborn and regulate their body temperature after being bathed among other things.
You should only need to bathe your newborn every 3-4 days unless otherwise necessary. Daily bathing can cause your newborn to have dry skin. Soon enough your little newborn will grow to enjoy baths and will be splashing around!