The first time you bath your newborn you are likely to become overwhelmed with anxiety. Slippery soap and a wriggling crying infant are not a good match and your confidence will feel at an all time low. Here are a few tips to get you on your way:
How often – Your newborn does not need a bath as often as you would think. In the first three days don’t wash her, rather just clean her face, neck and bottom by ‘top and tailing’ her with warm, wet cotton wool. In the next few weeks, you may find she cries a lot during bath time so don’t try to do it every day – bath her every third day and ‘top and tail’ her in between. After a few weeks, you can start daily baths, if you find she enjoys it or bath time settles her.
When to bath – Most babies are somewhat overstimulated by the end of the day and the interaction and sensory input of a bath after 5pm is all too much, resulting in extensive crying in the evening. If you find this to be the case, move bath time to the morning.
What to use –
- For a newborn baby bath, you need a small bath – either a plastic tub or bucket or even a hand basin will do.
- You may feel more secure if you have a seating positioner for you baby, especially if you are using a ‘big bath’.
- Have a warm, soft towel on hand so that you don’t need to leave your baby for even one second in the water.
- It is preferable to use fragrance and preservative free aqueous cream in place of soap on your newborn’s sensitive skin.
How to – Prepare to wash your baby at her changing mat by washing her face first with water on cotton wool pads. Then take off her clothes and ‘soap her down’ with aqueous cream. Place her on a support in the bath to rinse her off or keep your non-dominant forearm under her back and hold her distant arm firmly while you rinse off the cream.