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10 Infant Bathing Basics For First-Time Parents

by Martha Adams

Baby's First Bath: What New Parents Must Know

Get the camera ready -- like all the "firsts" to come, baby's first bath is a special event. In fact, every bath time can be a special time for bonding with your newborn. Cooing, singing, talking -- your baby loves the sound of your voice and thrives on your soft touch.

Baby Bath: Getting Ready

The first bath will be a sponge bath. Pick a warm room with a flat surface, like a bathroom or kitchen counter, a changing table, or a bed. Cover the surface with a thick towel. Make sure the room temperature is at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit, because babies chill easily.

Assemble all the baby bath products you will need:

Baby bath sponge or clean wash cloth (double-rinsed)

Clean blanket or bath towel (a hooded one is nice)

Clean diaper

Clean clothes

Vaseline and gauze (if you have a circumcised boy)

Warm water (not hot)

Important: Never leave your baby alone in a bath -- not even for a moment. If you must get to the phone, the stove, or whatever, take baby with you.

Bathing basics: how clean should neonates be?

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10 Infant Bathing Basics For First-Time Parents

New parents often become nervous at the thought of bathing their baby for the first time, but these handy tips should help ease their fears.

New parents (as well as those who are expecting a baby) usually have lots of fears when it comes to raising an infant. One thing lots of them get nervous about is giving the baby their first bath.

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That is even more true for those who have never had children before, since they probably don’t have much experience bathing newborns. But it’s really not as scary as it seems. There are just a few things that parents need to keep in mind before bathing the latest addition to their family. Here are some of the basics for giving a newborn a bath.

10 An Infant's First Bath Doesn’t Have To Happen Right Away

Parents do not have to give their child its’ first bath until a day or two after the baby has been born. In the past, children pretty much got their baths right away because it was thought to be the most healthy option for them, but now some people are saying something different.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One of them is the fact that it supposedly allows the mother to have more skin-to-skin contact with her child, which is great because it helps them create a strong bond with one another. Babies who don’t get bathed right away are also more likely to nurse.

9 Babies Don’t Need To Be Bathed More Than A Few Times A Week

Newborns do not get as dirty as older babies most of the time, so they do not usually need to be bathed as often as older kids do. Those who are taking care of a newborn typically only need to bathe them a few times a week, since that is considered sufficient for them.

That is because a newborns’ skin can actually get dried out if they are bathed too often. Some parents also wonder if they should bathe their child during a certain time of the day or night, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that they take their time doing it.

8 There Are Some Cases During Which A Child Will Need To Be Bathed More Often Than Usual

Sometimes newborns need more than a few baths a week. Anyone who has ever taken care of a newborn baby knows that they do tend to get pretty dirty sometimes, which can lead to them getting a bath their parents didn’t really plan for.

Babies, especially really young ones, are known to randomly vomit, or at least spit up a little bit, and that usually results in them getting their clothes, as well as themselves, pretty dirty. In cases like that, the only thing parents can do to get rid of the entire mess is give the little one a bath.

7 Baths Can Actually Calm Colicky Babies

Having a colicky newborn is no fun, but new parents may not know that they can actually help the issue by giving the child a bath. Colic is something that can make babies extra fussy, and it can be a bit painful for them as well.

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But a nice, relaxing bath makes it much better. That’s not very surprising when one considers the fact that even grown adults find hot baths to be very relaxing. Babies are not really much different, since they find this type of thing very soothing as well. Parents will also find it relaxing since their child might stop crying for a bit while they’re being bathed.

6 Parents Don’t Have To Use Soap Every Time

The part of a bath that causes a newborns' skin to dry out if they have one too frequently is the soap, but parents can actually safely bathe their baby more often if they choose to skip the soap sometimes. That’s right, newborns don’t always need soap in order to be adequately cleaned.

Parents should save the soap for times when the child is much more dirty than usual, since it is not needed for every bath a newborn has. Even if a soap claims to be the best one on the market for newborns, it probably can still dry out their skin whenever it is used too often.

5 Parents Can Use Moisturizer

Those who are worried about their child's skin becoming dry can use moisturizers that are safe for little ones. This is something that is optional, but it’s definitely a great idea, since moisturizers can be really good for the skin.

But parents must be careful when they are looking for a product like this for their new baby. What works for their skin probably won’t work as well for a newborn’s skin. That is because newborn babies have skin that is very different from the skin older people have. It is usually thinner, and it is more likely to get irritated. Parents should probably choose an ointment, or even a cream.

4 Having A Hooded Bath Towel Is A Great Idea

Hooded bath towels are definitely an item that parents need when they are about to give their newborn a bath. Those things make babies look even cuter, but they are also very useful for another reason as well.

Little ones lose lots of heat from the top of their heads, which means that parents need to do everything they can to keep their babies as warm as possible after bath time is over. That is why all parents need to have some of these things on hand for their new babies. Another plus to having them is that they are often very comfortable for the baby to wear.

3 Swaddle Immersion Baths Are Kind Of New

Receiving blankets can be used for lots of different things, including bathing a newborn. This is a relatively new bathing technique, and this kind of bath is usually referred to as a swaddle immersion bath.

This is something that little ones seem to find really relaxing. During this type of bath, the little one is usually loosely wrapped in a receiving blanket, and then they are immersed into the water. Though they shouldn’t go very deep, as the water should only come up the baby’s shoulder. After that, parents should slowly unwrap the child's limbs as they are bathing them.

2 Parents Should Always Check The Temperature Of The Water

Babies are really sensitive, which is why their parents need to check the temperature of the water before putting them into a bath. This does not take very long, and it is a relatively easy thing to do. The temperature can be tested with a thermometer, but it’s not a big deal if a parent doesn’t have one of those. They can actually test the water by using their elbows as well.

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A newborns’ bath water should be warm, but it should not be too hot. The temperature should be somewhere around one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature won’t harm the baby, and it is also not too cold.

1 A Washcloth Should Be Used To Clean Their Heads And Necks

Washcloths are a pretty big deal when it comes to cleaning newborn babies. They are very important because parents should be using them to clean certain areas of their little ones. Washcloths are great for cleaning behind a baby’s neck, or behind their ears. They are also great to use for cleaning a childs’ head, as well as some other areas on their body as well.

Parents should also be using cotton pads to wipe around their baby’s eyes. But this can be tricky. Parents have to pay a lot of attention to what they are doing when they are cleaning their kids’ eyes. They need to use a different pad when they clean the second eye, since using the same one could cause an infection.

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