Many may think that Baby Bathing needs to be done daily, there is no reason why this should be so, in fact other than washing hands, face, creases and bottom, the rest of babies skin will actually gain from not being exposed to soaps, water and being dried with rough towels.
The ideal way in the first weeks with baby bathing is perhaps every 3rd day and ‘top and tail’ on the days between.
Plan Your Bath Bathing Routine
On bathing days the key is planning, while baby is asleep – well in advance of bath time – collect together everything that you will need, a bath towel for your knees, a hooded baby towel, soaps, a soft sponge, a flannel, cotton wool, clean baby clothes, nappy and liners. If you are using a baby bath or tub lay it out ready in a warm room. A very useful addition would be a baby bathing support this is an excellent way of gaining an extra hand to hold baby.
If you have a clean bucket this can be an easier way of filling and emptying the bath – when mixing the water you will need it at babies body temperature (100.4F or 38C) always put the cold water in first adding the hot to the correct temperature. Using a bath thermometer gives an accurate reading for Baby Bathing. On the other hand the traditional way is to test with your elbow or the inside of your wrist at the correct temperature you should have no sensation of hot or cold.
Getting Your Baby Ready
When everything is ready and double checked, undress baby leaving the vest on, clean the nappy area, remove the vest and wrap baby in the baby towel, this will keep them warm and stop any panic of being undressed, clean the eyes, ears and nose.
Next, tuck baby under your arm using the ‘football carry’ (tucking the legs under your armpit supporting the back along your arm, fanning out your fingers to cradle your babies head) and wash babies head, rinse and pat dry.
Now is the time to immerse baby into the bath, remove the towel, support the shoulders with left fore-arm hooking your hand over baby’s shoulder and under the armpit, cradle the legs with your right arm holding on to one thigh, slowly lower into the water – always maintaining eye contact and don’t forget to smile and talk as you do it.
Keeping baby in a semi reclined position, use your free hand to wash and carefully rinse.
Gently Drying Baby
When you are ready to lift baby out place your free hand under the bottom and gently lift on to the towel. Place baby diagonally across the towel fold the bottom corner up over the feet then fold in the two sides, pick baby up and cuddle while you pat dry paying attention to skin creases, drying must be gentle but thorough. Dress baby quickly, they are unable to efficiently regulate their own temperature.
Top & Tail Bowls
On the days between Baby Bathing the best way is to use a ‘top and tail’ bowl, fill with luke-warm boiled water for the first week then after with warm tap water. The bowl is divided, one end is used to clean the face and hands the other for the bottom area.
Leave babies vest on and using cotton wool dipped into the water – a separate piece for each eye – wipe from the bridge of the nose outwards, then taking more cotton wool wipe behind each ear, it is not recommended to poke or clean inside the ear. Wipe baby’s face, creases and hands, each time using a new piece of cotton wool. Once this has been completed and dried move to the nappy area and using the other end of the bowl clean and dry baby’s bottom, put on a clean nappy and dress baby ready for another cuddle.