Newborn babies are so tiny, and seem so frail! Carrying them around requires a lot of care…I remember how when I was new mom I was afraid to even breathe when I would pass her to my husband.
But what really made me nervous was the prospect of giving her a bath. Luckily for me, we were living with my in-laws at the time and my mother-in-law–who had eight babies of her own, was quite the expert. She was kind enough to guide me through giving my first born her first bath which I had put this off for a week (relying on mainly sponge baths), and it was honestly a lot more complicated that it looked!
Whichever method you choose–and there are plenty out there, here are the essentials (and a few tips) you should prepare before giving your newborn her first bath.
1. A basin of warm water and a cup to pour. For a calm and relaxing experience for your baby, refrain from using a detachable shower head (the force and noise of its spraying may upset your child) and use a cup to gently pour warm water over her head and body. Here’s a tip: you may want to start off with your baby’s head by cradling her over the sink at the nook of your arm (where your elbow bends). This will prevent the water from entering your baby’s eyes and ears.
2. Prepare a small towel, loofa, or sponge for soaping. Whichever you decide to use, ensure that what you will use for soaping is soft to the skin. Be as gentle as you can will rubbing the soap over your baby’s body, and try to treat it as a soothing massage. Even if this is a very new experience, your baby will relax once she is able to recognize her own mother’s comforting touch.
3. Mild soap for a baby’s sensitive skin. Avoid rashes and dry skin buy choosing a soap that is doctor-approved (and mama) approved. For the first few weeks of your baby’s life, try to avoid using soaps with strong fragrances.
4. Shampoo for a baby’s sensitive scalp. Same as the above. 😉
5. A newborn baby tub. While there are many tubs available on the market (and in different price ranges, too!) I would recommend to buy a tub with the following characteristics:
a. Foldable – If you plan on taking trips or going out of town with your baby, a foldable tub makes packing for your travels a lot less stressful.
b. Cushioned – We were gifted with an inflatable tub and my baby loved it! I also appreciated that she was comfortable, and was not slipping around when she moved.
c. With Drainage – Before purchasing a tub, check the description on the box to determine if it has a drainage. This is a safety feature will prevent the water from rising.
6. A dry towel. Before you even begin your bath, ensure that you have a dry towel within arms reach to wrap your baby in. This will protect your baby from feeling cold, as newborn babies are very sensitive to changes in temperature.
7. A clean set of clothes, and a diaper. Also have these ready and laid out on your bed or on your changing table for when you are finished bathing your child. You don’t want your baby to freeze while you are running around the room deciding on what she will wear.
While bathtime with your baby may seem intimidating, it is also a wonderful opportunity for bonding between mother and child. Once this becomes second nature to you, it will will be a time in the day that you will look forward to and truly enjoy.