Baby's First Bath | How to Bath a Newborn | Cuddledry.com
We know that your baby's first bath is a special milestone- and it should be remembered for all the right reasons, not as a stressful or anxious time. And since nobody really teaches you how, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to bath your newborn safely and easily.
When should I give baby their first bath?
NHS advice to new parents used to be to give baby their first bath as soon as possible after birth. In fact, many new mums were once shown how to do this in the hospital before being discharged. The guidelines have changed however, and now experts agree that baby's first bath should be delayed for 24 hours (or at least 6, if that isn’t possible due to cultural reasons). Lots of new families choose to wait a few days before giving baby their first bath.
Why delay baby’s first bath?
There are a few reasons why it might be better to wait before you give baby their first bath. Some babies may experience a drop in body temperature, which in turn can lead to a drop in blood sugar too.
Doctors also believe that skin to skin contact for as long as possible straight after birth is vital too; lots recommend delaying the first bath so that parent and child can get as much benefit from it as possible.
Your baby’s skin can also play a factor in why its recommended to delay baby’s first bath. Newborn skin is covered in a waxy substance called vernix, which acts as a natural moisturiser. The longer the vernix is left on the skin, the better.
Top and tail wash
If you do decide to wait a few days before you bath your baby, you can always give your baby a gentle wash instead. Read this post for more information on how to do a top and tail wash.
Caring for the umbilical stump
Your baby’s umbilical stump usually falls off around 5 days or so after birth, and some parents prefer to wait until after this before giving baby their first bath. However, it is safe to give your baby a bath before it falls off. Read this post for more information and guidance on how to care for your baby’s umbilical stump.
How to bath a newborn
Ready? Baby is awake, been fed (at least 30 minutes before bath time) and in good spirits? Here’s your ultimate guide on how to bath a newborn baby.
Baby bath essentials
There are some bath time essentials you’ll need to get ready before you start. These include:
- Cuddledry handsfree towel- fasten around your neck like an apron before bathtime
- A soft towel or cushion to kneel on
- Nappies and equipment needed for nappy change
- Bowl of warm water for a top & tail wash
- Bamboo washcloths
- Clothes to dress baby in after the bath
- Equipment needed for feeding
- Relaxing music (optional)
- An extra pair of hands- if you have help offered, take it!
Prepare the bath
Make sure the bathroom is warm and free from draughts. Remember, your baby can’t regulate their body temperature, so keeping them as warm as possible is really important.
When you’re ready and you have everything you need, make sure baby is in a safe place and run the bath. Add cold water first, then hot- and make sure you swish the water to disperse hot spots. Use a bath thermometer to check the temperature.
Step by step guide to bathing a new baby
Gently lay baby on a soft blanket and use a bamboo washcloth to clean the face, taking care around the eyes.
Strip baby down to nappy and gently clean the upper body, under the chin and under the arms.
Remove baby's nappy and gently wash the area, again with warm water and a silky soft bamboo washcloth.
Use both hands to lift your baby and lower them into the water. Place one arm on your baby's shoulders and neck, holding baby's outside arm with your hand. Place your other hand under baby's bottom, and in this position lower them gently into the water. When your baby is safely in the water, you can remove your bottom hand.
Keep hold of your baby throughout bathtime, using your other hand to gently scoop water onto the skin. When you're ready, use both hands to gently lift baby from the water. Bring them to your chest and hold them against the warmth of your handsfree towel.
Holding baby with one hand, use your other one to lift the bottom corner of the towel up so that you can hook the hood over baby's head.
Then wrap the rest of the towel around your baby, and cuddle them dry.
You did it. Baby’s first bath: done and dusted!
How do I keep baby calm after bathtime?
Just a quick word on babies and why they might cry at bathtime… There are three main reasons why your baby might seem to hate bath time at first. Your baby could be cold, tired or hungry.
Using the handsfree towel will help to minimise the risk of your baby being cold after bath time, making it easier to wrap them up warm and cosy as quickly as possible.
If you think your baby is tired, keep everything short and sweet and gradually lengthen bath time as they get older. If your baby is hungry, having everything you need for a feed ready to go is a really good idea.
Sometimes though, your baby might just cry at bath time as they’re getting used to this brand new experience. Try to stay as calm as you can, and just know that in time, this will pass.