June 26, 2018
You’re home with your new baby and thinking about all the fun things you will get to experience with baby, how your daily activities will now include caring for this little one’s every need. One of those things will be bath time. Suddenly you realize you’ve never given a newborn a bath. Maybe you don’t remember how the nurse showed you at the hospital. Or maybe baby wasn’t bathed at all while in the hospital. We’ve found this “how to” to be helpful!
Preparing for bath time.
The room should be warm and free of drafts. You can warm up the bathroom easily by running the shower with hot water for a few minutes and steaming the room. Make sure to adjust the temperature of the water before filling up baby’s bath tub.
Your infant can be bathed in a baby bathtub or the bathtub in your home. Whatever you choose to use, be sure it has been cleaned prior to placing your infant in and the water has been checked and is not too hot. Use the inside of your wrist to test the temperature or a small floating thermometer.
Washcloth, mild soap, and shampoo should be all that you need.
Towel, clean clothing, a diaper, and a comb or brush should be ready to use immediately after the bath.
Remove any jewelry or watches, and roll up long sleeves. This will help prevent any injury to the infant during the bathing process.
Depending on the type of tub used, place a clean towel on the bottom and on one side of the tub. This helps prevent the infant from slipping while in the tub.
The timing of the bath should be planned between feedings, when the parent is not rushed by other household responsibilities and the infant is not focused on the feeling of hunger, or trying to manage a newly ingested feeding.
Utilize gentle techniques for wakening infant for the bath experience.
Slowly place your infant into the bath water, being sure to support your infant’s head at all times. Be sure you have firm control of one of your infant’s arms so the infant won’t slip.
Start bathing your infant at the head. This allows you to move from an area that is cleaner to one that tends not to be as clean.
Wet the washcloth and wring it out. Make sure to only use water on your baby’s face.
Gently wash the eyes starting from the inner to the outer corner.
Wash the ear using your index finger inside of the wash cloth.
Gently wash one side of the infant’s head and face and then move to the other.
To rinse the shampoo, use your free hand to gently cup water and gently pour over the infant’s head.
Continue washing the infant’s body. Pay special attention to any skinfolds, such as the neck and behind the ears. If soap or shampoo is left on the skin, it can irritate the infant’s skin.
Female infant— Be sure to use a front-to-back motion to prevent any bacteria from being wiped forward which can result in UTI’s or other infections.
Male infant— Always wipe away from the urethra. Again, this prevents any bacteria from being wiped into the urethral opening. If your son is not circumcised, do not retract the foreskin. This skin cannot be fully moved down until your son is around 3 years of age. If you retract or move the skin down, the skin may not come back to the original position, and this can harm or hurt your son.
Once you have completed bathing your infant, check his or her skin once more to be sure you have removed all of the soap.
When done, remove your infant and immediately wrap him or her in a clean towel and gently rub dry.
Do not place anything inside the ears of your infant.
This is a good time to have skin-to-skin contact with the infant to promote bonding.
Please note that infant care should always be interactive:
*During the bath, use one stimulus (auditory or visual) at a time.
*Use sound to elicit infant responses.
*Use bath toys or distraction to calm infant.
*Recognize infant cues and respond to them.
*Utilize “focus and follow” play to enhance infant response.
*Observe changes in reflex responses and developing motor ability of infant each bath-time.