Bathing your baby does not only make him clean but also helps your baby to relax after a warm bath. Here are the tips for baby bath procedure.
Bathing your baby does not only make him clean. Bathing him will also allow you to thoroughly check your baby’s body and evaluate your child’s physical condition. It also relaxes your baby, so he easily sleeps after a warm bath. Aside from this, bathing time is also a special bonding time for you and your child.
Oftentimes, however, many new mothers are intimated by the idea of bathing their tiny newborn baby. By learning how to bathe your baby, you are bound to make bath time one of the most memorable experiences of caring for your new baby. Here are some guides and tips for baby bath procedure.
Your baby’s first bath
Photo by RODNAE Productions
Submerging your baby in water may increase his risks of infection if his umbilical stump has not yet fallen off and, if circumcised, his circumcision has not yet healed. It is therefore recommended to give a newborn a safer baby bath procedure such as a sponge bath.
Instead of dipping your baby in a bathtub, you can moisten a washcloth or sponge with warm water and wipe your baby’s skin from the head to the rest of his body.
You may use a mild unscented soap when your baby’s skin is too oily and dirty. Pay special attention to areas that get dirty easily, such as the diaper area and skin creases. Rinse your baby with warm water and dry him well.
Caring for the Umbilical Stump
Your baby’s umbilical stump needs special attention. Giving your baby a bath in the tub is not advised until the stump is healed, as dirty water in the bathtub may cause infection. You must always, therefore, keep the umbilical clean and dry.
Your doctor may tell you to clean your baby’s umbilical stump with cotton balls dabbed in alcohol. It is also advised not to cover the umbilical stump with a diaper so it will not be exposed to urine and germs.
Never pull off the cord, as it will come off independently. By their second week, most babies drop off their umbilical stump.
Procedure in bathing a newborn baby in a tub
Once the umbilical cord has been cut, and the navel and circumcision have recovered completely, it’s time to try a tub bath.
However, some newborns don’t appreciate the change in taking baths. If your newborn starts to cry, revert back to sponge showers for approximately a week before trying again.
Baby bath procedure: Steps in bathing a newborn baby
It is a general expectation to add bath time to your newborn baby’s routine, not long enough after they are born.
Some doctors or pediatricians suggest delaying a baby’s first bath until they reach a certain day old. That is because your newborn baby still has vernix covering after birth. This vernix is a waxy substance on a baby’s skin that protects them from infections in the surrounding.
If you have a hospital birth, your health care unit and the nurses will clean off the amniotic fluid and blood from your baby after birth. But also, you have the option to request not to remove excess vernix as you do.
Once you and your newborn baby get home, you may give them a bath, with a baby bath procedure like a sponge bath. You can clean their head, body, and diaper area. The baby sponge bath procedure is the safest way in bathing a newborn baby until the umbilical cord falls off.
When the time the umbilical cord falls off on its own, you may now start bathing a baby by letting their body submerged in a shallow bath.
Sponge bath: Safer baby bath procedure and steps in bathing a newborn baby
A newborn baby must have a sponge baby bath procedure in the first week of life. Sponge bath or punas n Filipino tradition is a safer way in bathing a baby while the umbilical cord is yet to fall off.
Additionally, this baby bath procedure is also better for baby boys who undergo circumcision when the site of circumcision does not heal yet.
You may also give your newborn baby a sponge bath if you want to wash off a part or whole part of their body without soaking them wet.
There are things that you might need before going through a sponge baby bath procedure. Make sure you have most of the following stuff:
- paddings for hard surfaces, like a blanket or a towel for baby
- a bowl of warm, not hot, water
- washing cloth
- mild baby soap (you can ask your pediatrician or a skin doctor about this)
- clean diaper
- baby towel
Once you have the supplies, here are the step by step baby bathing or how to bathe a baby with a sponge bath:
- Choose a warm room (28 degrees Celcius) for the bath. Then, remove your baby’s clothes and diaper, and wrap them in the towel.
- Lay your baby on a flat surface, such as a floor, changing table, counter next to a sink, or bed. Use safety straps to make sure your baby does not fall off the ground.
- Unwrap the towel one part at a time to expose the body part you need to wash it one by one.
- Start at your baby’s face and head. Use only warm water without soap so as to avoid irritating your baby’s eyes with soap.
- Then, use soapy water to clean the rest of your baby’s body and diaper area. You may also want to clean under the arms and around the genital area and bottom. If your baby is circumcised, avoid cleaning your baby’s penis to keep the wound dry. In addition, follow your doctor’s lead on how to maintain a baby’s circumcision.
- Clean off your baby with a dry towel, including drying their skin folds. After that, put on a clean diaper.
Here’s a baby bath procedure in bathing a newborn baby in a tub.
- Usually, two to three inches of water are enough to fill the tub.
- Put your baby in the water as soon as they are undressed to prevent them from becoming chilly.
- While holding their head up with one hand, place your newborn’s feet first into the bathtub. They should always keep their head and neck above the water for safety.
- Pour or gently splash warm water over your baby to keep them warm in the tub.
- Once to twice a week, you should cleanse their scalp and wash their face and hair with a washcloth.
- Gently tip your baby’s head back and keep one hand over their forehead while you’re pouring the water on their head.
- Working your way down, wash the rest of their body with warm water or a damp washcloth.
- Carefully remove your baby, then pat them dry with a towel. Take extra care to dry the wrinkles in their skin.
Baby bathing procedure: how to bathe a baby step-by-step
Photo by kelvin octa
You can give your baby a tub bath if his umbilical cord has already fallen off and if his circumcision has already healed.
Remember that young babies should be undressed and bathed in a warm room because they can’t regulate their body temperature well yet.
Fill the tub with 3 inches of warm water. You can use your elbow to test whether the temperature of the water is comfortably warm.
You also need to prepare your bathing kit before you bathe your baby so you will not leave your baby behind to get the things you need. Never leave your baby alone in the bath.
Here’s a baby bath procedure step-by-step you can follow:
- First, the baby should be undressed while being held in one arm. Keep the diaper in place as that will be washed last. When you wrap the baby in a towel, they should only have the areas you are washing exposed.
- Use a washcloth or baby bath sponge to gently scrub one area at a time. Work your way outward from behind the ears to the neck, elbows, knees, between the fingers, and toes. Be on the lookout for folds beneath the arms, behind the ears, and around the neck.
- The hair grows later to keep the baby from becoming cold during bath time. Infants may not have much hair, but you can sponge the little bit that they do have. The eyes won’t get wet if the head is slightly tilted back.
- Instead of shampoo, use water.
- The baby’s tummy, bottom, and genitalia should be sponged after removing the diaper.
- Washing young girl babies should be from front to back. If there is a small bit of vaginal discharge, don’t freak out and resist the urge to wipe it away.
- The foreskin of a young boy should be left alone if circumcision is not performed. Wait until your circumcision has healed before washing your penis.
- Dry your baby gently. Never rub as this may bruise their delicate skin.
Best time of day for a baby bath procedure
Photo by Vicki Yde
Choose a time when you won’t hurry or accept an unintended interruption. Some parents like to bathe when their babies are awake in the morning. Some bathe their babies at night to soothe and calm them down. If you choose to bathe your baby after a meal, you might want to allow her stomach to calm down first.
How hot should the water be?
Your child should only bathe in warm water. The ideal temperature range is between 37°C and 38°C. You can use a bath thermometer or test the water’s temperature with your wrist or elbow to be sure it’s warm rather than hot.
How often should you bathe your baby?
Your baby might only require three baths each week during the first year of life. Thoroughly clean the diaper area each time you change your infant and that is enough.
Bathing your child every other day or once a day is likewise acceptable, but bathing your child more frequently could lead to dry skin. This is especially true if you use soap to bathe your child.
Does my baby need lotion?
Most newborns don’t need lotion after a wash. If your baby’s skin is very dry, dab a tiny bit of unscented baby moisturizer onto the dry areas. After the massage, your baby might feel more comfortable. If the dryness continues, you might be bathing your child too frequently.
Baby bath essentials: what you need to bathe your baby
Your baby bath essential should have the following:
- 2-3 Washcloths
- Mild soap or baby cleanser
- Baby shampoo
- Diaper rash ointment. Avoid using baby powders because they can irritate your baby’s respiratory system
Importance of bath items for baby
Avoid adding alcohol, soap, and bubble bath to the water as this may dry your baby’s sensitive skin.
You must also always support your baby’s head with your other hand to prevent water from getting into his ears and nose.
You may also opt not to use soap during the first few baths because this can make your child slippery and difficult to bathe.
Additional information from Margaux Dolores and Nathanielle Torre
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.