No Stress Baby Bath
A stress free baby bath. Because the hospital won't let you take the nurse home with you.
24 Hours After Birth: First Bath, Umbilical Cord and All
New studies show there is no increase of infection when the umbilical cord stump has not fully healed. So, your baby’s first bath will likely be fully submerged at the hospital. Perhaps while in their swaddle. Swaddles are proven to reduce stress for the newborn and the parent.
Babies are born with vernix on their skin, which hospitals don’t want to wash off, as it serves as both a barrier to infections, and helps retain heat. Young babies are especially sensitive to cold.
The First Bath At Home: Decide. A Sponge Bath or a Swaddle Immersion Bath?
Take your time. No need to rush into this. Newborns don’t get that dirty. But they do get cold 25x faster in water. So either way, use a swaddle.
Get your bearings. Gather all necessary supplies. Here’s a running list. to start.
- baby and/or hair wash
- at least 2 appropriately placed towels
- at least 2 – 3 washcloths
- a rinse cup
- fresh diaper
- change of clothes
- a water basin or infant tub
- Warm Hug™ Bath Swaddle
Prefill. Fill the bath or basin with a few inches of warm water. Do this in advance, never while baby is in the tub, as water temperatures from the faucet can be inconsistent. In the end, you want comfortably warm to the inside of your arm or elbow, and not hot or cool. For those with temperature gauges, that is between 99.9 and 103.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep it snuggly warm. Undress your baby on a warm surface like a towel. Babies lose body heat 25 times faster in water. Very quickly. Keep it stress-free by keeping them gently swaddled. Trust us. Warmer is calmer.
Best Practice: If you’re a skeptic, trust the numbers from UC Poudre Valley Health where swaddling for bath is a “new, best practice.” Why? 38 percent of babies cried during a swaddle immersion bath compared to 93 percent who cried during a sponge bath.
Why the protocol? “Most of the time with a (traditional) sponge bath, the baby will cry, and you see the parents turn away,” said PVH Women’s Care Unit RN Edna Sailer, who spearheaded a new swaddle immersion bath protocol for a healthy term newborn. “It can be a bit dramatic for both parent and baby.” That’s why the new protocol of swaddle immersion bathing was instituted.
Three basic steps to swaddle immersion baths:
Support. Holding your baby in the loose swaddle that opens in the front, support the head and underarm with one hand and use your other hand to support the baby’s bottom.
Slow dip. Gently dip your swaddled baby in the water feet first, using your other hand to support the baby’s bottom.
Let them warm up to the idea. Talk to them. Sing. Know that this by nature unplugged time together is building their connection with you. Focus on the eyes, then the face. Both with washing, and with your gaze.
End with the diaper area.
Enjoy your no stress baby bath!