You should be extra careful with the care of your newborn baby. No need to be in a hurry to bath your newborn, as they are cleaned immediately after birth. Within 2-3 days of giving birth we recommend you to bath your baby with the support of a professional, demonstrating how to carry out this challenging yet exciting task. The more hands the better, so make the first few baths a team effort. When bathing your baby for the first time, pay a particular attention to the stump of tissue that remains attached to your baby's belly button (after the umbilical cord is cut at birth). This is to prevent risk of infection.
Rather than bathing your new born just like a child, first time baths are a little different. The entire body of your baby should be wiped with a wet sponge or a towel. Here’s a step by step guide to help you with this process.
- Lay your baby on their back on a soft towel, mat or a tub.
- First clean the face with a cotton soaked in warm water, starting around the eyes. Secondly wipe the area around the nose, cheeks, forehead and ears by soaking the soft cotton towel. You must be very gentle and caring when you do all these things. Make sure your baby trusts you during their first bath time. Avoid sudden movements that might make them nervous.
- Next is your baby’s hair. Gently lift your baby over their back, supporting the head from the neck, and soak it with a little warm water. Use baby shampoo specially formulated for use on babies and infants. When shampooing their hair, be gentle and massage it very lightly. Avoid contact with the eyes. Then pour a little warm water over their head backwards, ensuring not to soak the face. Then gently dry the hair with a soft towel, not forgetting to brush the hair (for babies blessed with some hair).
- For the body, foam a sponge with a baby shampoo, then wipe the entire body avoiding the belly and its surroundings. Once the body is cleaned, wipe it with warm water and dry it accordingly, making sure no shampoo residue is left over.
- Always wipe the genital area from the front to the back then dry it accordingly.
- Clean and dry your baby's legs and arms in exactly the same way.
- As your baby is now washed and cleaned, remember to rub the anti-rash cream. before putting the nappy on. Avoid touching the belly.
- Finally, you can put the clothes on once you have dried the whole body.
Some Important Facts About Bathing Your Baby
- Your newborn baby's skin is covered with a white, waxy, slippery substance called vernix, which has a protective role after birth.
- You can wait until the stump of tissue attached to your baby’s belly button falls off before you can properly wash your baby. Until then, you can wipe and clean your baby's face and body as described above.
- Once the stump of tissue falls off you could wash your baby every other day
- Wash your baby before feeding or after 1-1.5 hours from feeding.
- Have an assistant while you are washing your baby. Your mother or an experienced friend/professional can help you with this.
- In the first week or two, we advise you to wash your baby with pre-boiled water (cooled so that it’s just warm enough). This is to prevent from risk of infection.
- We recommend you to bath your baby with water temperature around 36.5-37 degrees, and room temperature should be around 24-26 degrees.
Baby Bath Supplies Checklist – What’s Needed To Bath Your Baby?
- Baby bath tub
- Rinsing cup
- Soft washcloths or dedicated sponge for washing baby’s
- Comfy bath sponge or cotton towels
- Baby shampoo
- Baby soap
- Soft hooded baby towels
- Clean cloth
- Cotton clothes
- Rash cream
- Bath thermometer (optional)
- Cotton balls
Areas Of Your Baby’s Body To Consider While Bathing
- Genital organs and glands
- Hands and feet
- In-between toes and fingers
- Face and neck
- Behind the ears
- If dirt has accumulated around the eyes, gently wipe it off with a cotton ball inside out.
Grown nails can cause your baby to smudge the face and worse the cornea layer of their eyes. That's why you need to cut your baby's nails regularly with a special baby nail scissor. After cutting the nails make sure to soften the pointed corners of the nail with a nail filer.
A word of caution: having an assistant when cutting your baby's nails can be helpful.