Bathing Your Newborn
Why is bath time important?
Bath time is more than just a time to clean your baby. This time can also be a special time for you and your baby to enjoy each other's company. A bath at bedtime can relax your baby and help lead to sleep. It is also a good time to check him / her for any new marks or rashes.
Until your baby is crawling around and getting messy, you should give your baby a mild soap bath only 3 or 4 times a week. Also, you may give a plain water bath to your baby on other days if he / she is hot and sweaty or just for fun. Remember that your baby's face, hands and diaper area need frequent cleaning, not just at bath time.
- Gather all the things you will need before you start giving the bath so you will not have to leave your baby.
- Allow plenty of time for the bath so that you will not be in a hurry.
- Never leave your baby alone in the tub. If the phone or doorbell rings and you must answer it, wrap your baby in a towel and take him/her with you.
- Keep the room temperature 75-80°F (24-27°C) to keep the baby from chilling. Try running the shower for a few minutes first to warm the bathroom. Turn off the shower before you start your baby's bath. Avoid drafts.
- Always test the bath water before bathing to prevent chilling or burning. You can test the water by putting your wrist or elbow in the water. It should feel comfortably warm.
- Always keep a firm hold on the baby after lathering. Soapy bodies are slippery.
- Until the umbilical cord has fallen off and the circumcision site is healed, do not put your baby in a tub.
The dirty water in a tub can get into these open areas and cause an infection. Wait 1 day after the umbilical cord has come off and 1 week after a circumcision to give a tub bath.
- Girls: Wash front to back. Gently spread the labia and clean with mild soap and water.
Note: A white vaginal discharge is normal; do not try to scrub it away.
- Circumcised boys: Let warm soapy water gently flow over the penis and rinse well without rubbing.
- Uncircumcised boys: Wash area with soap and water externally. Do not pull back the foreskin as this can be harmful.
Be sure to completely dry the diaper area before putting on the diaper.