In this week’s installment of Baby Basics, we’re tackling the topic of bathing your newborn. We’ll cover things like how often to bathe a newborn, the best time and place to bathe your newborn, and what products that can help make bathing your newborn safe and fun!
How Often to Bathe a Newborn: Baby’s First Bath
Baby’s first bath can be the perfect opportunity to start creating memories with your little one. It’s a great way to relax your baby, and enjoy one another after a busy day. Seem’s pretty straight forward, right? Maybe, but here’s a bit more to it than you might expect.
The first time your child takes a bath, it could be at home or at the hospital, depending on your preference. If you want to make sure your baby has her first bath at home (where you can take your time and snap lots of pictures), then it’s a good idea to include this in your birth plan.
But no matter where your baby takes her first bath, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Your baby isn’t ready for a good old-fashioned scrub down in the bathtub just yet. Your kitchen sink will do just fine. Place something soft in the bottom like towels or foam and support her head, neck, and back with your arm. Remember to turn the faucet away from your baby’s face when the water is turned on.
If you’re looking for a more convenient way to wash your baby, there are plastic baby baths available that make bathing your newborn much easier. Here are one my wife and I have used personally. We’ve also included another more compact option with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
Both are perfect for giving your baby her first bath, and as a bonus, they’re inexpensive. They’re both available on Amazon for less than $16 (which is important when you’re already spending a small fortune on diapers and wipes).
2. Be careful not to use too much water. There’s no need to fill the sink or baby bath up with more than a few inches of water. Your baby will still be squeaky clean in the end, and she’ll be much safer if you limit the amount of water in the sink to just enough to get her feet and bottom wet.
3. Pay attention to the temperature. The water should be no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit to protect your baby’s sensitive skin. Use the inside of your wrist to test the temperature of the water before adding your newborn to the mix.
4. Water isn’t enough on it’s own. Use a gentle cleanser like Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Newborn Wash and a soft washcloth to help remove the fat-soluble particles that can be left behind under your child’s diaper (fat-soluble means they don’t dissolve in water, hence the cleanser).
5. Save the diaper area for last. Start with your baby’s head, making sure to avoid her eyes, nostrils, and ear canals. Next, wash under her chin being careful not to miss the creases in her neck. Her torso is up next (be sure to avoid your baby’s umbilical chord if it hasn’t come off yet), followed by her feet and legs.
It’s a good idea to save the diaper area for last since it’s likely to be the dirtiest. A good rule of thumb when bathing this area of your newborn is to always wash from front to back, which is especially important for baby girls. This will help ensure things stay clean and tidy.
6. Pat your baby dry with a soft towel. Patting your baby dry will help prevent skin damage. Don’t forget about the creases around your baby’s elbows, knees, and neck. Keeping these areas dry helps prevent irritation.
7. Have a diaper ready to go. I don’t know why, but something about bath time stimulates your baby’s bladder to empty itself as soon as you’re in range. Unless you want your own shower, be prepared with a diaper already in place for a quick change.
8. Never leave your child alone while bathing. This one’s pretty obvious, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it in a post about how often to bathe a newborn. Under no circumstances should you leave your newborn unattended in the bath.
How Often to Bathe a Newborn
How often you bathe your newborn depends on how mobile they are. For the first 6 months or so, your baby won’t be moving around much. She’ll be spending her time mastering other things like holding her head up and sitting up on her own.
Until then, pediatricians recommend bathing your newborn no more than 2-3 times per week to avoid irritation and dry skin. You can use a moisturizer like Aveeno Baby Daily Moisturizing Lotion as an extra line of defense against skin irritation.
When to Bathe Your Newborn
Life with a newborn can be exhausting, and at this point you’re probably looking for ways to get your baby to sleep. If so, a bath can be an excellent way to relax her, sooth any skin irritation she may have, and get her ready for a good night’s sleep. So try adding a nightly bath to your bedtime routine. To avoid dry skin, only use a cleanser every 2-3 days.
How Often to Bathe a Newborn: The Takeaway
Bath time can be an excellent way to slow down after a busy day, and give you a chance to bond with your infant. It can help relax your baby (and you) before bed time, and if you follow the tips outlined in this article, bath time could become one of your favorite parts of the day!
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