When you first bring your baby home from the hospital, it can be an incredibly daunting time- whether you are a first time parent or not! Nobody knows it all, and often we can feel that the smallest of tasks should come naturally to us straight away. This isn’t always the case though, so there’s no harm in reading up on the things that you’re not sure of. Hopefully you also have a good support network around you too, as help and support in the early days can be essential! So in a bid to be helpful ourselves, we’ve written a few key points about one of baby’s firsts that often leaves new parents in a bit of a cold sweat. The bath. Here is a very quick guide to bathing a newborn baby.
This may seem silly, but bathing a newborn baby is not the easiest of tasks! It’s a good idea to have everything ready before you start, because once baby is in the water you won’t have any hands free and you certainly won’t be able to leave the room for anything. Newborns rely on you 100% at this point, and have no control at all over their bodies, so you will need two hands for this task. One to hold baby and one to wash gently. If you have an extra person on hand to help you we recommend that you make the most of that too! The things that you’ll need to prepare are:
- A soft, warm towel to wrap baby in after the bath. Of course we recommend the Cuddledry apron towel here! Our towels are made with bamboo and cotton so they are super soft and they are also double layered, so that water is kept away from baby’s skin.
- Nappy changing items.
- A towel or blanket for you to kneel on- leaning over the bath is not going to be good for your back, but you want to keep your knees protected too.
- A changing mat and liner.
- Clothes to dress your baby in after the bath.
- Anything you need for feeding your baby ready to go.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that the room is warm ( a baby’s temperature can drop quite quickly) and double check the temperature of the bath water too. It should be warm enough but not hot.
Getting into the bath
It can be nerve racking! Once wet, newborn babies are slippery and no doubt the biggest fear here is that your baby could slip from your hands. Don’t worry- this is not likely to happen if you hold them properly. It’s a good idea to undress baby, then wrap in a towel for a moment while you wash the face. Then, you need both hands to lower baby into the bath. Place one arm shoulders and neck, holding the outside arm with your hand. Place your other hand under the bottom and lower gently into the bath. Once baby is securely resting on the bottom of the bath, remove that hand and use it for washing. Do not let go of baby!
Gently scoop the water onto baby’s skin, so that the temperature is maintained throughout, but look out for signs that baby si getting cold. There is no need to use soap at this stage unless it has been recommended. Wash baby gently from top to bottom, front to back, talking soothingly as you go. Some babies love bathtime, but some may find it stressful so watch your baby and when you feel time is up, it’s time to get out.
Getting out of the bath
This is where your Cuddledry towel proves it’s worth! We’ve struggled with this step many times, and it’s not easy removing a baby from a warm bath to wrap them into a towel that’s waiting on a cold floor. The Cuddledry apron towel is attached to you the whole time that you are bathing baby. This means that it is on hand, warmed from your body heat, and ready to go- meaning that you have two hands free to lift baby gently from the bath. Simply pop your free hand back under baby’s bottom and lift exactly as you lowered. Bring baby to your chest, wrap, and hold close for a moment. Then all you need to do is cuddle your baby is you gently dry the skin (pat, don’t rub) and when you’re both ready, use the single hand poppers to release baby onto the changing mat. Baby will be snug and still wrapped in their towel, thus eliminating upset from the cold. Put on the nappy and bed clothes as quickly as you can, but remain gentle at all times; hopefully baby is nice and relaxed, so you don’t want to ruin that now. Lots of babies will want a feed almost immediately after a bath, so if you have everything ready for this then go for it.
How often to bathe?
Newborn babies don’t need a bath every day- usually a top and tail wash is enough. But if your baby enjoys bath time and you find it is an activity that helps to strengthen the bond, there is no harm in doing it daily. Once your baby is crawling around it’s a good idea to make it a daily activity, and lots of parents find that it ends the day well for bedtime.
If you have any questions at all regarding bathing a newborn baby, or any of our products do please get in touch- we’re always happy to help!