How to Bathe your Baby
By Stokke Australia
The voice of experience from Stokke®
Cliona is a full-time Mum to five young children. With two girls aged 8 and 6 and three boys aged 4, 2 and 11 months, there is never a dull moment in this busy home!
Baby’s First Bath
When you have your first baby, one thing is for sure:
your life will never be the same.
You now have this tiny bundle of joy that will fill your life with new experiences. No matter how well prepared you are, you will often find yourself being a little surprised or unsure about just what to do and when. You have so much to learn at the beginning. It can be overwhelming, but it’s important to know you are not alone. In fact, all these new experiences help to build the bond between you and your baby, so while you might not be that experienced, the best person to take care of your baby is you. Feeding, sleeping and diaper changes are all part of your daily routine now, but one of the things parents can become most anxious about after bringing baby home is that first bath.
At the end of the day, most parents tend to want the same thing: to make bath time more enjoyable and safe for their baby.
As a mother of five children ranging from 11 months to 8 years, I’ve learned through experience.
However, I still had help that first time. Before you leave the hospital, ask a nurse or care assistant to show you how to bathe your baby. Don’t assume they’ll do it automatically, as they are so busy, and they might not remember. They are there to help and will be glad to show you and give advice. Even if you are on your second or third baby, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s no harm to refresh your memory.
When it comes to bath time, safety is always first. If you are ever in doubt about issues relating to the general health of your baby and bathing, please make sure to consult your physician. Bath time is a great opportunity to look for any rashes or irritation on their skin and, during those first months, if you need reassurance or advice, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
There are a lot of different opinions about bathing a baby around the world. Some are cultural and many are personal. But there are some things you can do to make it enjoyable for your family.
Once you are ready to bathe your baby, being prepared is one of the most important things. Even now, bathing my fifth baby, I have to be super organised! Your baby’s bath should be warm, not hot. If you don’t have a bath thermometer, which most of us don’t, then use your elbow or wrist to check the temperature. Babies have sensitive skin, so this is important to get off to a happy start for your baby.
You’ll want to have all your bath-time essentials at hand, as you can’t leave your baby unattended, even for a second: the tub, a baby sponge and mild baby wash. Sometimes adding a drop of baby oil to the water helps, especially if your baby has dry skin. I usually do that at the end, once they are washed. A towel with a hood is ideal after the bath to keep your baby nice and warm. If you are super organized (which most of us aren’t!), warming up the towel can be nice, especially in the colder months.
A diaper, of course, and ointment are good, if baby has a bit of a rash or irritation, which is quite common when baby is teething, for example. Having a warm room with no drafts will make it even more comfortable for your baby. If that’s not possible, washing their hair at the end will help prevent them from getting cold.
Once you have everything ready, relax. This is a new experience, and your baby may respond well and relax, or they may cry. If they do, don’t worry. All babies are different, and you’ll get to know what your baby likes and doesn’t like about bath time. Sometimes, they will cry at first but often will soon relax and enjoy the experience. Personally, I think the warm water soothes them, and maintaining eye contact will make it even more special for your baby. Most babies don’t mind water being poured over their head. I wish I could say that doesn’t change, but when mine got older they didn’t like water in their eyes so much!
How often you bathe your baby is really a personal thing. If they love it, and it helps their routine, then a couple of times a week is perfect. If your baby has particularly If they love it, and it helps their routine, then a couple of times a week is perfect. If your baby has particularly dry skin, then they don’t need a bath that often. Regular bathing can just dry the skin, as it can remove the natural oils. Some parents like to bathe baby before bedtime, but again that’s a personal thing. In my experience, it helps them wind down and get ready for sleep, so I usually do it about an hour before bedtime. Sometimes you can be so busy, and you might have more free time in the morning, which is perfect. You as a parent will find what works best for you and your baby. The most important thing is to make it enjoyable for you both, and the best way to do that is to plan it for when you have plenty of time. Don’t rush this precious baby-bonding time.
Here are my top tips:
• BE PREPARED. Reassure your baby by maintaining eye contact, smiling and letting them hear your voice. Gather everything you need and have it within arm’s reach. You don’t want to interrupt a bath because you forgot something.
• EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. Baby might not like bathing at first. Don’t worry if it doesn’t go smoothly in the beginning. They will adjust in time. Always keep their head well supported. Bathing baby requires your full attention, so avoid distractions.
• GET OTHERS INVOLVED. My older children love being Mummy’s little helpers! It’s a lovely memory to capture, so taking a photo or video is an excellent idea. It’s amazing how fast they grow!
• MAKE IT COSY. Get everything ready beforehand and place baby into the warm water before they get cold. It can be a bit of a shock to them when the cold air hits their skin upon finishing. Wrap baby in a soft, hooded towel. Now is a perfect time for cuddles and kisses!
• KEEP IT INTERESTING. Introducing some bath toys will keep it fun and help develop hand-eye coordination too! Once baby gets a hold of something, it will go straight into their mouth. Be sure to squeeze the water from bath toys once bath time is over to keep them clean.
You’ll become more confident with practice, and it will soon become a relaxing ritual for you and your baby.
Make bathing easy with the Stokke® Flexi Bath® and Flexi Bath® Stand, which are designed to bring you and your baby closer for bath time bonding and fun. Purchase yours today at www.stokkeshop.com.au
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.