Tips For ʙᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ With Your Baby Can Be The Most Relaxing
A bath with your baby can be the most relaxing bonding experience. Here’s how to do it right. As far as memory-making moments for parents with babies goes, it doesn’t get much better than bathtime. But while seeing your little one sᴘʟᴀsʜ ᴀɴᴅ sǫᴜᴇᴀʟ in the ᴛᴜʙ can be a particularly entertaining experience, ʙᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ can also provide a quiet bonding moment when Parent and Baby do it together. There are no definitive sᴛᴜᴅɪᴇs that dictate how often you should bathe a newborn, erring on the side of less is probably best. “Start off with infrequent ʙᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ, roughly once or twice a week,” she says. “You can increase the frequency as the baby gets older.”
If there are no other adults around to help, be sure that you can safely move your newborn in and out of the ᴛᴜʙ—just ᴀᴠᴏɪᴅ sᴛᴀɴᴅɪɴɢ up and stepping out of the ᴛᴜʙ with Baby in your arms.
Prior to drawing your bath, make sure you’ve gathered the right supplies and have placed them within arm’s reach near the ᴛᴜʙ—never take your hands off Baby during this time. Aim to have your soap, a washcloth, and a towel ready, as well as cotton bolls, lotion, a diaper, and an outfit change once out.
Choose the Right Products
Use only sensitivity-tested, baby-specific products in the water and on your baby. “A baby’s skin is very effective at absorbing whatever is placed on it,” says Lawrence Frank Eichenfield, M.D., chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San Diego. Of course, soap is only a small part of the bathtime process—you’ll need to have the right post-bath moisturizing product on hand. “Use a bland moisturizer to help prevent dryness and irritated skin,” recommends Dr. Bruckner.Prepare the Water
“Before you place your baby in the ᴛᴜʙ, check the temperature by dipping your elbow into the water—it should be warm but not too hot,” and also ensuring the bathroom itself is warm.
Lather, Rinse, and Moisturize
As for how much soap to use, and where to apply it, Dr. Bruckner recommends keeping it minimal. “It’s important to remember that the skin barrier in babies is still maturing, which makes them more sensitive to irritants and drying out,” she explains. “I recommend using a sᴄᴀɴᴛ ᴀᴍᴏᴜɴᴛ ᴏF ᴄʟᴇᴀɴsᴇʀ for the dirty areas, such as the diaper.” Also, be sure to cradle Baby’s head with one arm while you bathe them with the other—and also ensuring you’re steady in the ᴛᴜʙ as well.
Again, after rinsing off, don’t step up and out of the ᴛᴜʙ with your little one in your arms. If you have a partner or another adult nearby, hand them Baby first. If you’re alone, make sure you can safely remove your little one from the ᴛᴜʙ without standing up and stepping out of the bath while holding them. Finally, dry Baby thoroughly and wrap them in a towel so they retain body heat, ensuring all creases are water-free, before applying any lotion and diapering and dressing.