Bathing baby for beginners
Being a new Mam can be scary, I remember when I was bathing my son for the first time. I got my Mam to help me because I was so scared I would drop him or get water in his eyes. By the time I had my daughter it was second nature and I wasn’t worried, however I wish there had been a guide back then I could have read to put my mind at rest and tell me what to do without panicking.
We’ve all seen the adverts for baby bubble baths on TV. The baby smiles, gurgles and splashes as mummy lovingly covers their beautiful child in bubbles and rinses them off. What a beautiful experience!
However, there are some babies who have yet to discover the joy of a good bath, and find the whole experience distressing and upsetting, turning it into a very unhappy time for everyone. Fear not – we’ve put together some tips to try if your baby isn’t a fan of baths.
1. Don’t start too soon
Medical advice is to stick to sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump has come off. This should be a sign that the skin has healed up, and there’s less chance of infection through what is effectively an open wound.
2. Prepare the bathroom in advance
As soon as your baby is in the bath, you’ll need to give him or her your full attention, so make sure all the equipment you need is to hand. You won’t have time to fiddle about unscrewing lids or moving obstacles. Get your bath seat, if you’re using one, into the bath, your washcloth with soaps and potions ready to go, and your towel for the end of the bath somewhere you can grab it once it’s all over. Most importantly, have that jug or tub to pour water over the baby and rinse the bubbles away within arm’s reach at all times.
3. Not too hot!
Unlike us, babies don’t enjoy a steaming hot bath. Aim for 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 30 degrees Celsius. You can get a wide variety of bath thermometers to test the bath water temperature. What they will appreciate is a warm bathroom, so make sure the air is a comfortable temperature.
4. Let the games begin
With the baby in the bath, use your jug or tub to pour the bath water on to baby. Don’t let it touch the head. It must rinse everywhere else though, including areas like under the arms, folds of skin, and between the legs. If baby cries at this stage, it may well be because he or she is feeling cold, so use your jug or container to pour some warm bath water over them to warm them up. Your washcloth or flannel can now be used to wash baby’s face. Once this is complete, you can gently apply the baby shampoo. Rinse off, trying to avoid the water going into the ears, eyes or nose. One final body rinse with the jug or container and you’re pretty much done. Wrap baby up in the towel and head for the nursery.
5. They think it’s all over
It’s time for some moisturiser, and if baby needs help to relax, a baby massage. There are several great instructional videos on the internet which you can use to learn some techniques. Baby moisturiser or oil will do a great job – no need for expensive massage lotions. Dress baby in a clean nappy and some comfortable clothing. If it’s time for bed, lay baby down in a quiet, dark environment, allowing them to switch off and fall asleep.
A bath is a great way to signal to baby that the bedtime routine is about to occur, and to teach them that bedtime is coming soon. Babies benefit from having a routine, and this is one worth sticking to.