How to Give a Baby Bath
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. But after 24 hours, it is time for a bath. At home just remember to prepare your bath area, and keep you baby secure and warm and you will be well on your way. Young babies are especially sensitive to cold, so keeping them warm and secure is important.
1. Gather all necessary supplies.
- 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
2. Set up your bathing area and prefill water at 99.9 to 103.9 degrees
Prefill 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.
3. Undress and snuggle. 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.
4. 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.
5. Slow dip. Gently dip your swaddled baby in the water feet first, using your other hand to support the baby’s bottom. Let them get used to the water. Talk to them. Sing. Know that this unplugged time together is building their connection with you.
6. Think head to to toe. Exception: hair is last.
Focus on the eyes, then the face. Both with washing, and with your gaze. Use one hand to support them, and the other to wash them. Be sure to get under the chin and in the folds where bacteria hides. End with the diaper area.
7. Wash the hair.
Roll up a washcloth and use it as an eye barrier, by placing it gently on the forehead. While swaddled and warm, pour warm water over their head which you have tilted back gently. Add a dab of shampoo if needed and lather. Cover their forehead with an extra wash cloth to avoid water dripping in their eyes, and rinse again.
8. Using another dry towel, dab their hair dry.
9. Remove your baby from the tub and place them gently on their nearby towel, and wrap. Open in sections to apply any ointments, a fresh diaper and fresh clothes.
Talk the entire time to them. They love this communication and bonding time together.