Bathing is an excellent way to bond with your baby. It is also crucial for your baby’s overall health. Even when you plan everything perfectly, bathing your baby can feel like an overwhelming task as a new parent. Handling your slippery baby with the utmost care, choosing the right bathing supplies, and making sure that your baby is not only comfortable but actually enjoys the bath—baby baths sure are a tall order! But learning the basics of bathing your baby can help you feel calm and prepared. We compiled a few easy pointers to troubleshoot all your baby bath worries:
When do I start bathing my baby?
For multiple reasons, the World Health Organization recommends waiting for at least 24 hours before your baby’s first bath. Bathing your baby too soon can interrupt essential skin-to-skin care and mother-child bonding, affect their body temperature and blood sugar levels, and also cause their delicate skin to dry.
What type of bath is suitable for my baby: sponge bath or regular?
Sponge baths are recommended for babies until their umbilical stump has dried and fallen off, which can take anywhere between one to three weeks. You can start bathing your baby regularly after this period.
How often should you bathe your baby?
Babies need to be bathed only twice or thrice a week. Since their mobility is limited, they do not tend to pick up a lot of dirt. That is why there is no need for a daily bath as long as you regularly clean the nappy area and skin creases. Excessive bathing can also dry off your baby’s delicate skin. It is best to avoid daily baths until your baby is old enough to be moving and playing on the ground!
Of course, in exceptional cases where you feel your baby really needs a bath to be calmed down or to be clean, you should go ahead with it!
Do’s and Dont’s:
Pick a time when you and your baby are both calm
You can schedule a bath any time during the day as long as you both are comfortable. Being in a calm state of mind will help you to be more present and allow you to bond better with your baby. A calm baby will also respond better and enjoy the bath more. Make sure to postpone the bath if your baby has been recently fed or is hungry or grumpy! Baby baths can also help to set your baby’s routine, so you can try to bathe your baby at a similar time to see if it works for your baby.
Keep all supplies ready and within reach before the bath
Whether a sponge bath or a regular bath, make sure to gather everything you need beforehand. A sponge or washcloth, hooded bath towel, mild tear-free cleanser and shampoo, baby wipes, a baby tub or basin, and a fresh diaper and clean outfit are some essentials for a baby bath. You can also invest in a few other items, such as a soft, warm receiving towel.
Choose the right baby-safe cleanser and shampoo
Your baby’s skin loses moisture easily, and baby baths are a drying affair. So make sure to invest in a gentle cleanser and shampoo for your baby with safe ingredients that do not dry off your baby’s skin or hair. Of course, a tear-free formulation is a must. CITTA’s natural foaming baby wash and harsh chemical-free baby shampoo, which are enriched with natural ingredients, gently cleanse your baby’s skin and hair while preventing dryness.
Maintain the right water and room temperature
Your baby’s body is still learning to adapt to temperature changes, so it is essential that you keep both the water and the room where the bath takes place, warm. Lukewarm water, not hot, is recommended for your baby’s bath. Hot water baths may seem appealing, but they can be extremely drying and also cause scalding in the worst cases. A water temperature of between 37-38 degrees Celsius is recommended for babies.
Make sure to always keep one hand on your baby while bathing him/her. You could also use a safety strap if you are using a changing table as a bath area. Line a hard surface with a soft towel before placing your baby on it for a sponge bath. For a regular water bath, ensure that your baby’s head remains above the water at all times and that the water is not deeper than 5 cm. And lastly, do not leave your baby alone in the bathtub even for a small duration of time.
We hope that with these baby bath basics, you’ll feel prepared to bathe your baby in a way that you both enjoy it! Happy bathtime!