Bathing your baby can be one of the most enjoyable moments of parenting, or it can be the most dreaded. Some babies fear or dislike bathing so much that it can be a struggle just to get them into the bath. Others take to bathing like a fish out of water. Luckily, newborns only require a sponge bathing until their umbilical cord falls off, so you can ease them gently into a bath time ritual.
Newborns only require a sponge bath every two or three days, depending on your climate, your baby's health, and the time of year. Use warm water and a soft wash cloth, first cleaning the arms, hands, torso, and diaper area. Keep your baby wrapped in a towel. Only expose the area you are washing, cover it with the towel when you are finished and move to the next area. Always leave the head and face last so your baby doesn't catch a chill early on in the bath. All babies can get messy and covered in a random spray of breast milk, requiring an extra wash here and there.
When running water for your baby's bath time, remember the water should be body temperature. Always check the bath water temperature with by dipping your elbow into the water first. If the water is too hot for your elbow, it will be too hot for your baby. Warming up the bathroom or kitchen or whatever room you are in before bathing your baby is always a good idea. Your baby can't regulate body temperature like you can, so always bathe in a warm room.
Bathing your baby is slippery business, so you will need to use both hands. Wearing a terry cloth bath mitt offers a little more friction than wet skin-on-skin and can help you hold onto your baby a little easier.
Gather your baby toiletries, wash cloths, and towels before you start to bathe. Keeping all of your bathing essentials at hand will help keep your bath a pleasant and safe experience.
Use a mild no-tears baby soap and baby shampoo. Your baby's skin is very sensitive and doesn't require much soap to clean. Avoid using oils, lotions, and other toiletries on your baby until your baby closer to 3 months. When bath time is over, wrap your baby in a clean, soft towel and pat dry.
Once your baby is a little older and wants to play a little more in the bath tub, you may want a bath seat to help keep your baby upright. Older babies who enjoy the water may like to sit on their own and splash around. As a parent, you will want to make sure they are still supported, with you close at hand. Never leave your baby alone in any amount of water. A baby can drown in less than inch of water and older babies can turn on faucets and scald themselves before you can move them out of the way. Water safety is crucial to keep bath time safe and happy.