So you’ve just had a baby. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! We hope your little bundle of joy is healthy and happy and you’re all home safe and sound.
It’s now time for one of the first of many parental hurdles you’ll hit over the coming months, your baby’s first bath. There are lots of little details and techniques to keep in mind in order to optimize this time and ensure it goes smoothly, but not to worry, we’re here to help! Read on for some of our recommended tips and tricks to make this first bath experience as painless and fun as possible.
Timing - When to Give Your Baby Their First Bath
While there isn’t an exact amount of time required to wait before bathing your newborn, the general consensus is that longer is better, within reason. For the sake of offering some guidance, we recommend waiting a week, or at least until the umbilical cord stump falls off. Light sponge baths and regular wipe downs of the face, hands, and genitals are a good substitute in the meantime.
Beyond the general waiting period, there are even optimal scenarios to help ensure your baby is in the best mood to be bathed. Some factors that can aid in the process are:
- Ensuring both you and your baby are fully awake
- Waiting an appropriate amount of time after feeding for the milk or formula to settle
- Allotting yourself plenty of time to avoid feeling rushed when bathing
- Creating a space free of distractions and interruptions
Additionally, maintaining a regular rhythm when it comes to bath time can help set your baby’s bodyclock and help them feel comfortable with being bathed.
Prep - What to Have On Hand For Bathtime
You’ve gone through the waiting period of sponge baths and wipe downs, and it’s now time for your baby’s first proper bath! There are certain products and items that are a must-have for a successful first-time bathing experience.
First and foremost, you’ll need a proper baby tub (such as a Blooming Bath Lotus) that meets the current safety standards. Also, you’ll want to have all of your supplies open and within arm’s reach, such as:
- Safe hair and skin products (like our Hair and Body Babywash)
- You may want to stick to solely using warm water for the first few baths, before incorporating bath products as they get a little older
- Washcloths and towels
- Cup to rinse your baby off
- Clean clothes and a clean diaper
It’s also helpful to have another person in the room with you during bathtime, to provide an extra set of hands and grab any items that might have been forgotten.
You made it, you’re all prepared and ready for bathtime, now what? Well, let’s get going!
First things first, make sure the room you’re bathing in is at about 75 degrees fahrenheit to prevent your baby from getting cold. Once that’s done, fill your baby’s tub with just enough water to cover the bottom of their body (about 2 inches). Make sure the water is warm, not hot (you can test the temperature by using your elbow or the inside of your wrist), and always fill the tub with water before placing your baby in it. You can also place a warm washcloth on your baby’s torso to keep them warm.
Take your time, and stay calm! This will help your baby feel relaxed during the time. With that said, it’s totally normal for your baby to cry the first few times they get bathed, talk or sing to them softly to help them feel at ease when they fuss.
NOTE: This may sound obvious, but never leave your baby unsupervised in the bath, even for a second!
Make sure to keep at least one hand or set of hands on your baby at all times, this is where having another person around can be helpful. When it comes to washing, start with the baby’s face and then move down to the rest of the body. Use a warm wash cloth to gently clean in and around all of the cute little folds and between fingers and toes, as drool and milk can hide there. When it comes to cleaning their private parts, wipe girl’s genitals front to back, and wipe boy’s clean, uncircumcised or not.
When this is done, use one more round of warm water to rinse them off, before wrapping them in a warm towel and holding them close. For the most part, lotion is not necessary as babies are born with soft, supple skin. Feel free to consult your baby’s healthcare provider on whether they recommend using lotion or oil.
… and that’s it! Congratulations on a successful bath time experience!