Babies in first three months appear very delicate. New parents, especially first timers, are really anxious to handle them. Bathing and nail care are especially the tricky ones.
When I received my first bundle of joy, I began to wonder
How many times a week should I bathe my baby?
Is there any specific time of the day that is more suitable?
How to hold the baby while bathing?
Bath tub? Or reclining baby bath?
To massage or not?
Oil, lotion or moisturiser or yoghurt!!!
Well, the list is endless. With each passing day, I got answers to these questions – a few by mum’s and mom-in-law’s experience, some from my paediatric textbooks and child health blogs and rest from my own experience.
Here, I am sharing with you the combination of science, tradition and my experience:
- Baby’s first bath: Bathing should be avoided in first 24h of life. Hence, first bath should be on day 2, especially in this chilly weather of north India.
- Frequency: Babies can be bathed twice a week. Rest of the days its ok to clean ‘in” and “out” areas of their body, that is, mouth and bottoms with a moist washcloth.
- Timing: You can bathe your little one at any time of the day convenient to you. Bathing in evening or at night makes her feel cozy and helps in falling asleep.
- Preparing for baby’s bath: Initially , you can take another person’s help in this process. Later, as you become confident, you will be able to handle things alone
- Make sure the room is warm and there is no draft of air from anywhere.Baby might be massaged gently with coconut oil before bath.
- You can use a bath tub, small basin or reclining bath as per your convenience. It can be placed on the floor or a big shelf or table as you feel comfortable.
- Fill the bath with luke warm water. Temperature of the water can be checked with a baby bath thermometer. It should be between 36.5-37.5 degree Celsius.
- Level of water in the bath should reach upto baby’s buttocks
- Assemble all the stuff like soap, washcloth, towel etc within your reach before you actually put the baby in bath.
- Its better to place a water absorbent mat around the tub to avoid slipping when you are carrying the wet baby.
- If you put oil in the bathing water, place a non-slip mat at the base of bath.
- Caution while bathing: Now that you are all set, gently undress your little one. Holding carefully with one hand under the shoulders and the other hand under his bum, lower him into the water.
Now, holding him firmly from the shoulders, remove your hand from under his buttocks. Using this hand, you can wet the baby and clean him gently with soap and water. Make sure to clean the armpit, groin and neck. If the cord is still intact, avoid splashing water on that area.
Special care needs to be taken with face. Soapy water should not enter the baby’s ears, eyes or nose. And when shampooing the head, drain the water from front to back.
You may coo a soft music or a lullaby all this time to make it more pleasurable for both of you. A small bath toy may be placed in the tub to accompany the baby.
- After the bath: Once you are done, wrap the baby in a soft towel and take her to the bed. Dry her gently and thoroughly. Apply a moisturiser on the skin. Usually, coconut oil is good enough for all the areas of skin. Still, if you wish to use other options, lotion is good for hairy parts and cream for extra dry areas of skin.
Now dress up the baby in those beautiful clothes you chose for her. Cover her head with a cap, hands and feet with mittens and socks.
See you aced it with finesse!