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How to Safely Bathe your Newborn Baby

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Baby bath safely on moms hand

Don’t you just love the feeling of a nice, warm bath at the end of a long day? Well, your baby loves it too (at least most babies do so don’t hold us responsible if your little one feels otherwise). In fact, bath-time is the perfect chance for you and your baby to bond, relax and make precious memories. So, we’ve put together a step-by-step hassle-free guide on how to bathe your newborn baby. Here we go!

When can you bathe a newborn?

Not sure when it’s okay to give your baby their first bath? Here’s what you need to know. As per experts, you can give baby their first bath 24-48 hours after they are born. The reason behind this is your newborn baby needs a little time to adjust to the environment outside of the womb and learn to regulate their body temperature. At birth, your baby is also covered in a waxy substance called ‘vernix’ which acts as a layer of protection on your baby’s extremely sensitive skin.

Your baby’s first bath will be a ‘sponge bath’ and this should continue until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off. A sponge bath is also best in the case of baby boys who have been circumcised, so that the circumcision site has time to heal.

Here are some tips on how to give your baby a sponge bath:

  • Make sure the room is at a cozy, warm temperature.
  • Place your baby on any safe, flat surface. You can pad it with a towel for comfort.
  • Keep your baby warm during the sponge bath by keeping them wrapped in a baby towel. Move the towel as and when you clean each part of baby’s body, so that they don’t feel cold as you clean them.
  • Start off by cleaning baby’s face with a clean washcloth, soaked lightly in warm water. Carefully clean baby’s forehead, around the eyes, outers ears, nose, neck and chin.
  • To clean the rest of baby’s body, you can add a few drops of soap or baby wash to the water and dip your clean wash cloth in the soapy water. Use this to gently clean baby’s body, making sure you clean between all the creases.
  • The diaper area comes last. After cleaning the rest of baby’s body, remove baby’s diaper and clean your baby’s genital region with the washcloth. Always clean from front to back for baby girls.
  • Make sure you keep the region around the umbilical stump dry, and if baby has been circumcised, then keep the wound dry as well to let it heal.

After your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, you can go ahead and give them a bath in a baby-safe tub filled with shallow water.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely bathe your baby in a bath tub:

1. Fix a daily bath time

Establishing a proper bath routine for your newborn baby helps in making them feel secure and comfortable. Choose a time that works well for both of you. Ideally this should be a time when you both feel relaxed and calm and when there is least interruption from the outside world. A lot of mummies & daddies prefer bathing their little ones right before bedtime since it is the perfect way to get your baby in the mood to sleep (Did we hear you say HURRAH?)

2. Arm yourself with supplies

The hard part about bathing a newborn single-handedly is just that. You have to do everything with one hand, considering you’ll be holding your baby with the other. And you really don’t want to realize that you forgot something halfway through bath-time. Which is why you need to keep all your baby care supplies ready and within arm’s reach. Here are some of the baby products and items you should put together before you begin bathing your baby – newborn baby soap/body washnewborn baby shampoo, a small water mug or cup, baby wipes, a soft washcloth, your baby’s towel, cotton pads, baby lotion, a fresh diaper, diaper rash cream and your baby’s clothes.

Get all your baby’s skincare essentials in our all-in-one baby bundle that comes with a free baby kit that is easy to move around and waterproof, making it a must-have essential!

3. Rub-a-dub-TUB

Fill up a plastic baby tub with water that is no more than 3 inches deep. Even though this is extremely shallow, make sure that you do NOT leave your baby unattended while in the tub at any point of time. The ideal water temperature is 37 degrees Celsius. It should be warm but not hot. Baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and can burn very easily. Check the water temperature with the inside of your wrist and give the water a little swirl before you put your baby in.

4. Pre-bath Rituals

Place your baby on a flat surface and undress them, close to the bath area. Do a quick diaper-area check to see if it needs any cleaning. If so, give them a gentle cleaning with the baby wipes. Softsens Baby Wipes gently cleanse your baby’s skin, leaving it soft, clean and fresh. If, at this point, your baby is a little cranky, hold them close to your chest and walk around for a while until they calm down.

5. Bath-time begins

Gently lower your baby into the water, feet first. Use one hand to support their head and neck and keep one underneath their bottom. Once your baby is in the tub, continue supporting their head and neck with one hand while you clean them with the other. Now aren’t you glad you made sure all your supplies are close enough? Before you begin cleaning them, let them get a little accustomed to the water. Pour a little water over their shoulders and tummies at intervals so that they don’t feel cold. All in all, your baby’s bath-time should not last more than 5-10 minutes.

6. Face first

Start off by cleaning that adorable, smiling face! Wet a small cotton pad and clean around their eyes, nose, mouth and even behind the ears. Use a new pad for each area to avoid transferring dirt. When cleaning around the eyes, start from the inside and clean outwards in gentle strokes. If there is dried up mucus around their nose, simply dab gently until it comes off easily. Don’t forget to gently clean behind the ears too. No matter what, do NOT insert a cotton swab inside their ears as this can be extremely dangerous.

7. Go from head-to-toe

Once you are done cleaning their face, take your soft washcloth and soak it in water and a little baby body wash like Softsens Body Wash which is specially formulated for your baby’s sensitive skin. Gently cleanse their body with the washcloth from their neck down, cleaning under the folds and even in-between the toes. Lightly clean their genital area also. When you’re washing your baby’s scalp and hair, gently massage your baby’s scalp with a mild baby shampoo like Softsens Baby ShampooClick here for a detailed guide on how to properly care for your baby’s scalp and hair.

8. Rinse off

One last rinse and your baby is good to go! Rinse their body by pouring a few mugs of water and gently cleaning off the body wash. You can even use a fresh new washcloth for this purpose.

9. Out we go

Once again, support your baby with both your hands and slowly lift them out. Make sure you have a firm grip on them as your little one will now be a little slippery and wet. Wrap them up quickly in a hooded towel and lie them down on a flat surface. Pat them gently with a towel to make sure they are completely dry and then massage their skin with a little baby lotion like Softsens Baby Lotion to add the finishing touches to that fresh, sweet skin! All that’s left is to diaper and dress.

10. Snuggling is mandatory

And now comes our favourite part – snuggling! Hold your clean and fresh little baby close to you, take in that intoxicating scent and enjoy some snuggle-time before they go off to dreamland.

How often should you bathe a baby?

Your baby’s skin can dry out very easily so it is advisable to bathe baby not more than 2-3 times a week. Keep baths really short and always use safe & gentle products that are especially formulated for babies. In between baths, keep baby clean by always cleaning the diaper area well at every diaper change. You can also use a sponge to clean between the creases whenever need be or give baby a quick cleansing with Softsens All-natural Baby Wipes that not only cleanse & soothe baby’s skin, but also moisturize, leaving it soft, smooth and fresh.

Bath-time tips to remember:

  • Your newborn baby does not need a bath more than thrice a week. Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump heals, it is advisable to only give them a sponge bath.
  • Keep one eye on your baby at all times and do not leave your baby alone even for a second during bath-time.
  • Always fill their bath water before putting them in the tub and keep checking the water temperature to make sure it is just right.

And while you keep in mind all these important tips, don’t forget the most important one – enjoy yourself and make the most of this special time together.

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