Woman - Parenting

Bathing Your Baby

Preparing Your Baby's Bath

* Plan for your baby's bath. Get everything ready before you start the bath. This makes bathing your baby easier and safer.
* If you can, turn down your water heater to 120 degrees. Babies can get scalded easily. Fill the sink or tub you're going to bathe your baby in with warm water. Always test the water with your wrist or elbow. The water should be comfortably warm, not hot.
* Make sure you have everything you need for the bath. You can keep mild soap, cotton balls and a clean diaper in a shoebox or other container. Then you can bring the box in with the towel and washcloth to the room where you bathe your baby. When everything is ready, get your baby.
* If you forget an item, you will have to carry your baby with you. This is hard to do when the baby is wet and slippery.
* Never leave your baby alone in water. It's best not to answer the phone or the doorbell during your baby's bath. If you do, pick up your baby and carry her with you. If your spouse, relatives or friends call you often, let them know when your baby's bath time is. Tell them you won't take phone calls at that time.

Bathing Your Baby

Your baby needs sponge baths at first. Give your baby a sponge bath until her umbilical cord or his circumcision, if any, is healed. After that, your baby can have a tub bath.

Fill a bowl or basin with warm water: Use your wrist or elbow to check the water to make sure it is just the right temperature. Be sure the water is not too cold or too hot. Very hot water can be dangerous.

Take the bowl of warm water and a soft washcloth to the place where you are going to bathe your baby.

Pick a place for bathing that is warm and not drafty. You don't want your baby to get chilled. You can put your baby on a bath towel in her crib or any other flat surface. If you put your baby on a table, make sure she cannot roll off. Do not leave your baby alone, not even for a few seconds.

Take your baby's clothes off. Put the washcloth in the warm water and squeeze it out until it is just damp. Use the washcloth to gently wipe your baby all over. Wipe her head and neck, behind her ears, and between her fingers and toes.

Your newborn does not need to have a bath every day. Just clean her face, neck and diaper area whenever they are dirty.

Be Gentle When Bathing Your Baby

* You can use your bathtub, kitchen sink or a plastic baby tub. Use something to line the tub to keep your baby from slipping. If you use a foam liner for a tub, it needs to be dried out after each use. This prevents the growth of germs. Or you can line the tub with a bath towel. Be sure to wash and dry it after each use.
* Use a clean, damp washcloth, without soap, to wash her face. Gently wash the outside and back of each ear and wash and dry under her neck.
* Don't use bubble bath or detergents in the bathwater since these may cause rashes.
* Use damp cotton balls or cotton pads to gently wipe your baby's eyes before you put her in the tub. Be sure to support your baby's head when she is in the tub.
* Wash your baby's hair and scalp very gently, using soap or a baby shampoo. Do this only once or twice a week. Rinse with a damp cloth. Make sure that soapsuds don't get into her eyes. Wash her body, starting with the chest. After washing with a soapy washcloth, rinse the washcloth and rinse her off. Pat your baby dry with a bath towel. Always keep her covered and warm when she is wet.

These tips were reproduced from the U.S. Department of Education.


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