Gudelines for bathing an infant

Bathing a baby for the first time can be very scary for new parents. Before bathing the baby can begin, there are a few things that are needed close by to make the whole experience easier, and more enjoyable.

Baby towel and face-washer

Some parents buy towels that are just for the baby to use. Although fine, it is not entirely necessary, especially if all towels and face-washers are washed, and dried, properly.

Baby soap or shampoo

It is far better, and easier, to use a pump pack for baby soap. This soap can be used not only on the baby’s hair, but all over the body. Use only shampoos and soaps specifically designed for babies.

Clean diaper and clothes

These should be close enough so that it isn’t necessary to carry a wet baby from room to room, but not too close that they get wet from over-exuberant splashing.

Bath water

The baby’s bath water should be the right temperature. To test the temperature, test the water with your elbow. If it is too hot, add some cold water. The water temperature should only vary slightly from that of normal body temperature.

The bathing process

Make sure that everything is ready and close at hand before putting the baby in the bath. For very small infants who can not sit up unassisted, it will be necessary to hold and support them throughout the bathing process.

How to hold the baby

With the baby’s head resting on the inside of your wrist, gently cup his upper arm and shoulder. In this position, it is not necessary to hold on tight, and no amount of wriggling on the baby’s part will cause him to slip under the water.

Start at the top

Before washing anything else, it is a good idea to wash the baby’s face. It is not necessary to use any soap for this, just a clean, wet face-washer will do.

Unless the baby has a full head of hair, it is possible to get enough water on the head without the use of a container or tap. Once the hair is wet, wash it gently with the baby soap. It is not necessary to rub vigorously, just enough to coat all of the hair and scalp thoroughly.

As soon as this is done, rinse carefully, being sure to avoid getting water in the baby’s eyes.

Once the hair and face are washed, work down the body of the baby. When it comes time to wash the arms and shoulders, the baby will become slippery. For added support, gently rest the baby’s bottom on the bottom of the bath (if using a baby bath).

Be sure to wash in all folds of skin thoroughly. These areas, (armpits, neck, thighs and groin), can collect a lot of grit, which can lead to sores and irritated areas.

As you wash one area, rinse it thoroughly before moving on to the next. Continue washing and rinsing until the baby has been washed from head to toe.

Some babies love to have a bath, whilst others will cry until the bath is over and they are dressed again. It is not necessary to bathe a baby every day. If the baby is not suffering from severe diaper rash, or other skin condition, it is perfectly acceptable to bath a baby once every two or three days.

When bathing any baby, it is important to be thorough in both washing, rinsing and drying and to never leave them unattended, even for a second.