When you give birth at the hospital, the nurse will administer the bathing of the baby. The nurse will only do it once (provided you are only staying for a night or two after giving birth) so it will be very helpful for daddy or mommy, if she is physically able, to watch and learn. Most babies like the warm water on their body but will start screaming once their head and face touches the water. Try not to freak out when your little newborn starts screaming and you may follow these suggestions below:
Gather Everything You Need Before You Start
- Soap/Shampoo must be within arm’s reach while bathing, as well as the towel you will use to dry the baby after the bath
- Fresh clothes and diaper, lotion, comb (if there is no hair yet, it still helps to massage the scalp) within arm’s reach of where you will change the baby
- Pail of warm water – make sure the water is not too hot that it will scald the baby, check the temperature by dipping your elbow into the water, it should feel warm but not hot. It is better to be slightly on the cold side than on the hot side
- You will also need an absorbent little towel. You can dip the towel into the water and squeeze the warm water out onto the baby’s skin (do not pour water onto the newborn’s face but instead just gently wipe with the wet towel). Bathing from head to toe is preferable so the newborn’s internal body heat does not run towards the head where the brain is.
- And the last but not the least is the baby bath tub
Best Time to Bath
The best time to bath the baby is when the baby is not too tired, and neither full nor hungry. So possibly start getting the bath ready 10 minutes after feeding your newborn. You may bath in the morning or in the evening.
Frequent bathing of baby can dry up the skin quickly so bathing once a week is good enough. Although you will be changing their clothes often due to spit ups and leaks, newborns do not stink. Thorough cleaning of the baby after each bowel movement is very important.
It is normal for newborns to have flaky skin, this will eventually go away. However, if your baby has a flaky scalp you may massage a tiny amount of olive oil (yes, cooking olive oil) onto the scalp.
Drying the Baby Thoroughly
It is also very important to dry the baby thoroughly after each bath, giving a lot of attention to the armpits, under the neck, groin, and all skin folds. It can be tricky to dry the neck, the baby will usually ask for milk (comfort food after the bath) and their neck is exposed while feeding so I take this chance to make sure the neck is dry.
Whatever you do, NEVER leave the baby unattended in the bath.
Bathing the baby can be scary at first but once you get used to it, it becomes a pleasure.