One of the trickiest tasks of taking care of a newborn arrives when it comes to bathing him. It’s recommended that the baby’s first bath is given in the first 24 hours after delivery. After this, in the first few months of life, the baby should be bathed only 2-3 times a week. If bathing seems to calm the baby down, then a bath right before bedtime won’t hurt either.
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It’s recommended by experts that a baby be bathed only once per day, that too for 10-15 minutes. Too much exposure to water may tend to dry out the baby’s skin and result in eczema. Water may have a calming effect on babies already suffering from mild eczema, but too much excess to it will increase rather than decrease the intensity of the condition.
One tip to keep in mind is to make sure the water being used for bathing is clean. If you live in an area that doesn’t have access to clean water, then try not to expose the baby too much to tap water as it can have skin-damaging effects.
When it comes to bathing the baby, it’s preferable to choose a time when you know you won’t be interrupted. Another pointer to keep in mind is to not bathe the baby while he/she is hungry or right after he/she has been fed and has a full stomach. Bathing between feeds is a much better option as the baby isn’t hungry but neither does he have a full stomach.
Warm water is good for soothing the baby, and making a warm bath right before bed a ritual will make for developing a very healthy and hygienic habit later in life as the baby grows.
The newborn can be bathed in a bathroom sink or tiny plastic tub. The sink may seem easier in the early days after being born, with the bathing spot being shifted to a tub as the baby grows a bit older. Taking help from someone experienced, e.g. your mother or another elder, during the initial bathing period can be good for your learning.
You can also use your own bath to bathe the baby, but do make sure you’re present with the baby at all times. It’s not in any circumstance recommended to leave the baby alone or even with an older sibling. You have to be present with the little one at all times. Your slightest of distraction can end up the baby harming themselves or getting into an accident with water.
Before you get started on bathing the baby, get all the essential bathing items ready in advance.
In the first few weeks after being born, the baby needs to be given sponge baths to keep him clean. Give special attention to the umbilical cord and naval area while cleaning up. Once the umbilical cord falls off, the baby will be ready for baths in the tub.
The tub needs to be filled with a few inches of warm water. While preparing the bath, check the temperature of water thoroughly. Make sure it’s neither chilly cold nor scalding hot. If you have a water thermometer, use it to check if the temperature is between 37-38 degrees Celsius. For newborns, the bath should be filled up to 3-4 inches.
Since the baby is prone to getting cold too easily, make sure you’re covering the little one at all times during their bath. As an extra measure, you can also slightly increase the thermostat or heater temperature at home so that the baby doesn’t contact any cold after the bath.
Use a soft cloth to wipe and clean the baby all-over. Pay extra attention to the folds and creases on the baby’s skin, especially those around the genital area and under the arms. You may feel the need to use soaps and different bathing products but it’s not recommended to use those at this early age. A soft washcloth will do the job for a newborn. If you need to use a shampoo, then keep a hand on the baby’s forehead to make sure their eyes are protected. Using lotion or baby powder isn’t recommended by experts either. The baby’s skin may seem dry and make you want to use a plethora of products to make them feel soft again, but the sensitive skin doesn’t need a bunch of chemical products on it just yet. Whereas the powder may end up going into the baby’s lungs and cause breathing troubles.
You have already prepared all the essentials you would need after the bath, so just use those. Cover the baby from head-to-toe with the hoodied towel and wipe dry the water off of his skin. Apply a bit of oil in the genital area before tying the diaper. If it’s winters then dress the baby in the layers you’ve kept prepared. And if it is summer, then a good onesie will do.
Bathing your newborn might seem like a hard task; the baby is so tiny that most parents fear they may break them. But in no time, the baby will grow and start playing with the water in the tub. For more information on this and other topics related to maternity and your baby, have a look at the following Blogs.
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