Baby Bath Time

Bathtime

The first time you bathe your baby can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It is the perfect opportunity to bond with your baby and can calm them down before bedtime.

In a study funded by baby experts Johnson & Johnson, it was found that babies who had scented baths using lavender soap slept better and cried less than babies who had baths without a scent. Bathtime is the perfect opportunity to soothe your baby and help them to sleep through the night. Read our top tips below to ensure your baby enjoys their first bath.

How to bath a baby

Once your newborn baby’s umbilical cord stump has fallen off, they can have their first bath.

You will need:

  • A baby bath
  • A large towel
  • A soft sponge or flannel
  • Cotton wool- for tricky areas
  • Baby soap
  • Fresh nappy
  • Fresh clothing or pyjamas

Make sure your baby isn’t tired or hungry before you bathe them, or it won’t be a pleasant experience for anyone. However, don’t be surprised if your baby cries for the first few times- they will get used to it and soon won’t want to get out!

Here are the steps for bathing your baby, courtesy of the NHS.

  1. Ensure that the bath water is at 37 degrees; use your elbow to check it isn’t too hot or too cold.
  2. Put baby across your knee and gently wash their hair with the clean water.
  3. If your baby is over 1 month old, you can add some baby soap to the water.
  4. Lower baby gently into the bath, cradling their head and upper body (it might be useful to have some help).
  5. Gently wash your baby, focusing on the genital areas, any skin folds, between fingers and toes, behind the ears and in the armpits.

How often should I bathe my baby?

A bath 3 times per week is enough for a newborn up to a year old. Bathing your baby too often could dry out their skin. However, if your baby enjoys the water and it calms them down, once per day is fine.

Bathe your newborn baby for 3-5 minutes to avoid their skin drying up. Be sure to moisturise your baby’s skin after the bath to prevent dryness. You should also keep your baby’s nappy area clean during the week by using cotton wool and warm water.

What temperature should the water be?

Your baby’s bath water should be at 37 degrees, which is the human body temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use your elbow to test the water, which should feel neither cold nor hot.

Never put your baby in the bath when the water is still running. Young children’s skin can burn within a second of touching water at 60 degrees. Make sure you mix the water well to get rid of any hot spots.

How to dry your baby after a bath

Wrap your baby in a towel immediately – a hooded towel is also nice for extra warmth. Do not rub baby’s skin. Instead, pat gently until they are dry – make sure you dry within any folds in the skin, as trapped moisture can cause irritation.

You can take this time to gently massage your baby. This can help you to bond with your baby and soothe them before bedtime. Using a baby moisturiser, lightly rub their tummy, moving on to the legs and arms. Squeeze them gently, stopping if your baby cries or becomes restless.

Which bath toys are suitable for babies?

A popular favourite with mothers everywhere is Sophie the Giraffe. Originally a teething toy, the brand has branched out and created fun bath toys.

A great sensory toy is this Underwater Light Show. Your baby will be mesmerised by the lights and forget they are in the bath- perfect for mum and for baby!

These cute watering bath toys are the perfect size for little hands and will relax your baby with a trickle of water.

Soft water and your baby’s bath

A water softener from Harvey Water Softeners can turn hard water into soft water, which is better for babies’ skin and hair. Soap lathers quickly with soft water and will rinse off more easily than hard water. The minerals in hard water can also cause dry skin, sometimes leading to skin conditions such as eczema, meaning that soft water is better for your baby’s long term skin health. Install a water softener into your home to protect your baby’s skin and see the differences in your skin and hair.

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