You got the essential baby gear and now it’s time for a bath. Baby’s first bath can be nerve-wracking especially for first-time parents. You feel like your baby’s so fragile and you’re not so sure what to do exactly.
When should I do it? How long should it be? Should I go for a sponge bath or tub bath? What’s the water temperature supposed to be?
Well, don’t worry mommy, we’ve got you.
Baby’s First Bath: When and How Often
When it comes to giving your newborn his or her first bath, there’s no hard and fast rule. However, the World Health Organization recommends holding off bathing your baby until after 24 hours. In case this isn’t possible due to cultural reasons, delay the bath for at least 6 hours.
Question is, why wait?
Maintain body temperature and Blood Sugar
Bathing your newborn too early can lower his or her body temperature drastically and lead to hypothermia. Newborns have poor body temperature regulation. Moreover, the bath can be stressful for your baby and cause a drop in the blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
Breastfeeding and Bonding
Giving the bath ahead of schedule can be disrupt breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding. A 2013 study showed that holding off bath time for at least 12 hours can increase make early breastfeeding success by a whopping 166%!
It’s amazing how proper timing makes all the difference.
Dry Skin Prevention
At birth, your baby’s skin is covered by a white cheese-like substance called vernix caseosa. This helps lock in moisture and prevents their skin from drying. Also, it can ward off skin infections, especially for preemies.
Now, once baby’s home you don’t have to give him or her a bath every day. They don’t get dirty or sweat a lot so every few days would do.
Sponge bath Vs. Tub Bath
You might be wondering what kind of bath your newborn needs. Experts suggest giving your baby a sponge bath until the umbilical cord falls off. Also, a sponge bath is recommended for baby boys who have been circumcised until the skin is healed.
Later on, you can give your baby a tub bath.
Practical Tips in Giving Your Newborn A Bath
- Pick a good time to bathe your baby.
Some moms go for a morning bath because baby’s active while others like an early evening bath as part of the night routine. It’s entirely up to you.
- Choose a warm and cozy spot
You need to give your little one a bath in a room that’s fairly warm. You can use a towel or warm wash cloths to cover the parts of your newborn that you’re not cleaning yet. Newborns can easily lose body heat.
- Prepare what you need
Gather baby bath supplies beforehand. Some parents find a baby bathtub with a hammock-like sling convenient thought it’s a necessity. You’d need a clean towel, soft wash clothes, change of clothes, baby soap, and a diaper. Test the bath water with your inner wrist.
- Keep your baby secure
Make sure to support your baby’s head as you give him or her a bath. It can be slippery so hold gently but firmly.
- Wash small sections starting with the hair
Using the palm of your hand, pour some water on your baby’s head while the whole body is covered. Cover your newborn’s ears with your fingers. Then add a bit of mild tear-free baby shampoo, lather, and rinse. Do this for all the other parts. Make sure certain areas remain dry like the umbilical area and genital area for newly circumcised baby boys. Now, in case you get these areas wet, just pat them dry gently.
- Wrap up your little bundle of joy
Finish the bath by wrapping your newborn in a warm hooded towel. Be sure to dry his or her private parts and areas where the skin fold, especially for cute chubby babies. Lastly, dress your baby and enjoy your time together.