You’ve just had a baby, congratulations! It is an extraordinary experience to hold such a precious gift in your hands. But now comes the tough part! You will receive tons of advice on how to take care of the new baby, when should you first bathe a newborn, when you should first feed them, etc. Chances are a lot of the advice you receive will be outdated.
If your baby was born in a hospital, chances are a nurse will give your baby a quick rub down herself in a small tub in your room. This is done so that the pediatrician can get a clear look at your baby’s skin and skin coloring.
Remember that bathing your newborn isn’t just about getting them clean. As you can imagine, newborns don’t get very dirty. Bathing is an opportunity that allows the parent and child to bond and share the baby’s new experiences together. The majority of babies enjoy a soothing warm bath. Chances are a fussy baby will calm down when you give them a warm bath. But women tend to keep wondering when should you first bathe a newborn. This is down to being overly cautious about the baby’s health.
When should you first bathe a newborn depends on who you get advice from! Some will tell you that it all depends on when the baby is born. If your baby was full-term and healthy, things will be different in comparison to if your baby was born premature or has any medical concerns.
Let’s take a look at what experts currently think about when should you first bathe a newborn and how to move them slowly onto infant tubs and then regular tubs.
When should you first bathe a newborn
Before you give your baby their first bath there are a couple of things that you should remember. One is to have someone help you handling the newborn for the first couple times. Whether it is a sponge bath or tub bath, chances are you might have forgotten something in the other room out of reach. Also being the first bath, handling your bundle of joy may not be so joyous. A wet soapy, slippery baby can be a lot to manage on your own on the first time of asking.
When should you first bathe a newborn baby depends on when the umbilical cord stump falls off. The stump can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks to fall off. Until it doesn’t fall off you should give your infant sponge baths using a soft washcloth. Washing their face and hands frequently, and genitals after each diaper change is crucial.
Now you might be wondering why you shouldn’t give your baby a bath until the umbilical cord falls off. That’s pretty straightforward. You want to avoid the chance of infection.
Before you begin giving your newborn a bath make sure you have everything you need at arms reach. Here is a list to help you:
- wash clothes
- baby shampoo
- clean clothes
- a hooded towel
Those are the basics in any bathing kit for a newborn. Keep in mind that when giving sponge baths you do not have to remove all of your newborn’s clothing. If you do, keep them wrapped in a towel and only bare the parts of the body that you are sponging. A newborn is high risk for infection and contact of the skin with environmental factors must be kept to a bare minimum. Once you have thoroughly cleaned your baby with the wash cloth, keep him or her covered as you put on the diaper and start dressing them.
Once the umbilical cord stumps comes off, you can begin to bathe your little one in an infant tube. Until your baby doesn’t start to crawl getting into corners and getting dirty, there is no real reason to bathe them every day. Bathing them every day is just giving their soft skin a cause to dry out. Ideally bathing a baby three times a week is fine. Just make sure that you clean the genitals areas properly after every diaper change.
The bath itself doesn’t need to be a long. Within five to ten minutes you should be able to clean your baby. For some babies, the warm water is actually soothing and will calm them down. Also, babies tend to lose body heat quickly. So it is important that you keep your little one’s baths short. This will ensure that the water doesn’t cool before you are done bathing them. Keep a change of clothes nearby. That way you can bundle up your little one quickly before they start to lose too much body heat.
It is also worth keeping in mind the quality of water that is being used in your home. If you live in areas that have hard water, too much tap water can dry out the skin of your newborn very quickly.
Remember do not leave your little one alone in the tub even for a moment. If you need to something urgently, like to the answer the phone or check the stove, scream for help. If it can’t wait, make sure you take your baby with you.
When should you bathe a newborn for the first time in a regular tub? Once your baby starts to sit on his or her own, you can graduate them to a regular tub. Consider using small bath seats or bath rings. In the excitement of playing and splashing in the water, your little one may fall over. The seat or ring will help keep them steady.
Some babies may not enjoy their first few experiences of taking a bath in a regular tub. To make it easier for them, singing to them is highly recommended. If you think your voice isn’t all that great, think again. The baby will enjoy it anyway. In time they will begin to enjoy bath time and both of you will create a stronger bond.
A few things to remember when bathing your little one in a regular bath tub. Never fill the water up too high, start with a couple of inches so that they can get used to the feel of sitting in the water. Then gradually elevate the water.
As with bathing in the infant tub, one crucial rule of thumb to remember and live by is to never leave your baby alone in the tub for even a moment.
Also, when you do dry your newborn, don’t rub them down with the towel. Pat them dry. Their skin is too soft and sensitive. Rubbing a towel against it can actually irritate.
Things to be aware of when bathing your infant
When should you first bathe a newborn for many will depend on when the umbilical cord stump comes off. In most cases, your doctor will advise you to wait for it.
There are some other things that you should be aware of when you bathe your newborn.
When should you first bathe a newborn is relatively simple. But, according to recent research, the frequencies of baths should be limited.
Research shows that bathing infants more than three times a week, is risky for more than one factor. Even if you use the best soap, shampoo and moisturizer, bathing an infant too much might increase the chance of eczema or other skin conditions. Eczema causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin and it is usually contracted in childhood, before the age of 18 months. In many cases continuing into adulthood and never going away.
The danger of developing eczema during infancy can result in developing asthma in adulthood. The worse part is there are no clinical cures available for the condition. Homeopathic treatment for eczema has shown promising results and is worth checking out.
Before using any baby products on your newborn, test the product on a small area of their wrist to ensure they are not allergic.
Your newborn’s skin is very soft and sensitive and must be taken care of. As important as it is to decide when should you first bathe a newborn, make sure you take the time to buy the right bath products.
Avoid soaps that are made with sodium lauryl sulfate as they can irritate your newborn’s skin. Use mild soaps and baby washes that are fragrant free, instead.
Now some of you might think that herbal washes are the best. This is not always true. Your newborn’s skin is very soft, and many aspects of the skin are still developing and getting used the new environment. A lot of the herbal products will irritate their skin.
Use fragrance-free, moisturizers. Consider oily moisturizers and apply liberally. Apply it right after bathing your newborn while the skin is still moist with water. This will help seal in the moisturizer keeping the baby’s skin soft. You can even try moisturizers and other baby products with National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Products on this list do not contain ingredients that will irritate your infant’s skin.
Too Many Baths
We all want clean babies, but can over bathing an infant be a concern?
According to some British researchers, bathing your newborn too much can cause some concerns. They say that since your baby’s immune system is maturing, being around bacteria, dirt and viruses helps to strengthen their developing immune system. It helps the immune system to build up resistance to basic germs and bacteria.
Their recommendation is that infants should be bathed for two to three times a week. But that does not mean their hygiene should be overlooked. So you should be washing those sweet tiny hands and faces before and after meals. Just keep the baths to a minimum.
How and when should you first bathe a newborn is not as complicated as you might think. There are just a few things to keep in mind since the baby is sensitive. Make the experience an enjoyable one for both yourself and the newest member of your family.