Bathing a small baby is lovely, but you might be a bit nervous about doing it. Here’s how to make baths enjoyable – for both of you.
The prospect of giving your baby his first bath can be a little daunting, but with a bit of preparation it’s easy.
First of all, pick a time to bath your baby when you’re not going to be interrupted. It’s essential you never leave your baby alone in the bath even for a few seconds. If you are interrupted and need to leave the room, take your baby with you.
Wash your hands before you start, then follow these steps.
1. Get the room ready. It should be warm and free of draughts. If you’re using a tub, put it on a flat, stable surface, like a table, where you can be comfortable leaning over.
2. Get all your equipment together – gather towels, wash cloths, soap, baby cream and fresh clothes to put your baby in. Make sure they’re within easy reach.
3. Put the water in the tub or sink. There should be enough water to cover the baby’s shoulders. Use a special, gentle baby soap with a pH of 4.5 to 5.
4. Test the temperature. For safety, it’s essential you do this before you put the baby in the bath. The water should be not too warm and not too cold. Test it with your wrist or elbow to check. Don’t run any more water once the baby is in the bath.
5. Undress your baby completely and – supporting his head and neck – gently put him in the bath.
6. Wash your baby, swishing the water gently over him with one hand, and supporting his head and neck with the other. Make sure you wash in all the creases, including under his chin. Leave his bottom until last. Don’t keep him in the bath for more than 5 minutes.
7. Lift your baby very gently out of the bath and wrap him in a soft towel straight away, then pat him dry.
8. Put moisturising cream on your baby’s skin to stop it drying out. Choose a cream specially made for babies’ delicate skin. You can also use powder and oil to help protect him from insect bites.
9. Get him dressed, and you’re done – one nice, clean baby!
Protecting your baby’s delicate skin is so important. Watch our video on baby skin care
Did you know…?
You don’t need to bath your newborn every day. Small babies don’t get very dirty so 2 or 3 times a week is fine. You can top and tail them – clean their faces, hands and bottoms – on the days you don’t bath them.