You keep your baby healthy and safe by using baby formula that’s organic, GMO-free, and free from additives. What goes in your child’s body is undoubtedly important. But what goes on your baby’s body during newborn bathing is also significant.
Bathing a newborn takes care and attention because newborn infants can’t even hold up their head. Fortunately, there are simple ways to safely practice newborn bathing, including sponge bathing and bathing in a tub.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Child?
When a newborn first comes home, it’s important to keep him or her clean. However, daily baths are not necessary and may be harmful.
If you bath your child too often, you may cause eczema, which causes dry patches of itchy, inflamed skin. Eczema occurs when skin can’t retain moisture due to pollutants, dry indoor heating, and over bathing.
When you bathe your baby too often, the skin barrier is weakened and outside irritants can penetrate the skin, causing an immune response like eczema. A study found that using moisturizer can protect babies’ skin from developing eczema.
To protect your child, limit newborn bathing to three times a week unless they are actually dirty. In addition, use only small amounts of mild, fragrance-free cleanser. Immediately after the bath, apply some fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion to keep your baby’s delicate skin from drying out.
Newborn Bathing: Sponge Baths
For the first three weeks, or until the umbilical stump falls off and heals, you should give your newborn a sponge bath. Immersive bathing can irritate or cause infection in the umbilical area if it’s done too soon.
To perform a safe, comfortable sponge bath for your newborn, follow these steps:
- Choose a clean, flat surface in a warm room. You can use a changing table, a counter, or another flat surface. Avoid using soft or fabric surfaces like a bed because you can easily spill the water, getting the bed wet and dirty and distracting you from the baby.
- Fill a bowl or nearby sink with warm water. To make sure the water is the right temperature, ensure that it feels comfortable to your inner wrist. If you’re still concerned about water temperature, use a thermometer to confirm that the water is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius.
- Use a washcloth or cotton ball dipped in the warm water to wash your baby, starting at the top of the head and moving down. Start by cleaning your child’s eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Wipe the baby’s closed eyes from the inside near the nose outwards toward the ears. Use a fresh cotton ball for each eye. When washing the ears, be careful that no water gets inside.
- Create some lather with a small amount of baby soap and wash the rest of your child’s head. Use fresh cotton balls and a clean washcloth, and dry with towels as needed.
- Move down the body, washing the baby completely and taking care to clean crevices like the area around the neck, under their arms, and behind their knees.
- Carefully clean the genital area last, making sure not to apply too much pressure or cause pain.
- Dry your child and dress them. You’re done!
Newborn Bathing: In a bathtub
When bathing your newborn baby in a tub, it’s usual to use an infant bathtub or a large basin placed inside the sink or bathtub. This will help ensure the child’s safety as you bathe them.
It’s vital to choose the right time to bathe your newborn. If your baby is hungry, tired, or has just been fed, another bathing time should be selected.
Also, make sure that you have no upcoming visitors and are OK not answering the phone for a short period. Getting distracted can be dangerous for your child.
To prepare for the bath, make sure that you have the following items prepared:
- A warm room to wash in
- A clean tub or washbowl
- Two clean towels
- A clean diaper
- A clean change of clothes
- Clean washcloths
The steps for newborn bathing in a tub are:
- Fill the tub with warm water to 2 – 3 inches deep. Don’t put soaps or oils in the water until the baby is at least a month old.
- Use your wrist to test the water and make sure that it has a uniform temperature. Ideally, you want the water to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius.
- Before placing the child in the bathtub, clean their face using cotton balls as described for the sponge bath. Be sure to use a new cotton ball for each eye and avoid getting water in the ears.
- Wash your baby’s hair while supporting them in leaning over the tub. Then dry their head. You only need baby shampoo if the head is dirty.
- Slowly lower your baby into the bath, using one hand and forearm to support their head and neck. Keep your arm under your child’s back, grasping him or her firmly under their arms.
- While keeping the baby’s head out of the water, clean the child with your other hand. You may like using a small cup to pour water over the infant to rinse off any soap and keep your child warm. Pay particular attention to making sure folds and crevices are clean, such as under the arm, around the neck, and behind the knee.
- When you’re done, lift them out and dry them with a towel. Put on the clean diaper and fresh clothes. Great job!
The biggest key to newborn bathing is never to leave the child unattended. This can’t be emphasized enough. Unfortunately, an infant can drown in an inch of water in less than 60 seconds. If something happens that you need to attend to, scoop your newborn up in a towel and take him or her with you.
The idea of newborn bathing can be intimidating. Having a wet, soapy, squirming child whose safety is entirely reliant on you can feel overwhelming!
Fortunately, with a little practice and confidence, you can master these steps and truly enjoy bathing your baby.
If you’re ready to learn more about taking the best care of your baby both inside and out, contact us today! We’d love to answer your questions about baby care, baby formula brands, and how to choose the best formula for your child.