The Best Way to Bathe a Baby
How do you give a newborn baby a bath without
traumatizing everyone in the room?
How to get from this
Is it normal for a new baby to scream in the bath? At first I thought it was. Until I finally figured out the best way to bathe a baby.
Edited: I love that I have these pictures of my third baby, my only boy! Now he is almost 4 years old!
Bath Preparation: 3 minutes
Choose a warm time of day when the baby will be able to nap after the bath. He or she will probably be sleepy after the relaxing bath.
Use a clean kitchen sink to bathe your baby. Place a dry, comfy bath sponge in the empty sink. It should be large enough to cushion the baby’s head and body. Prop it vertically along the back corner of the sink. Cover it with a clean, dry baby towel. Set aside another clean, dry towel to dry baby after the bath. Open the cap to the baby soap (I like Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash) so it is ready to use.
Run the sink water on the opposite side of the sink so the towel and cushion stay dry for now. This will prevent a chill when you set baby on the cushion. Set the sink water to a good temperature that is very warm but does not sting your inner wrist. Be sure that it is set and not getting hotter the longer it runs. Hold down the spray attachment and be sure water is running the same perfect temperature through the sprayer. Leave the water running while you go grab your baby.
Bath Time! 3 minutes
Check baby’s diaper and make sure there is no poop. If there is poop, change your baby’s diaper before starting the bath.
Remember to relax, sing, and smile while you bathe your baby. If you are tense and frowning, your baby will think there is something wrong.
Bring baby to the sink (The water is already running and set to the right temperature.) Quickly undress baby in your arms or on the after-bath towel and remove diaper. Place him or her inside the sink on the dry towel and cushion. Baby should be propped upright on top of the bath cushion, with head, back and bottom supported by the cushion.
Obviously, never leave your baby unattended in the bath, even for a second. Avoid spraying water in baby’s eyes.
Run the sprayer on the opposite side of the sink to be sure water is the perfect temperature: very warm but does not sting your inner wrist.
The actual bath should take maybe two minutes. Start by spraying or pouring water on your baby’s feet. Then wet his or her legs and arms. Finally, wet the hair.
As you spray, avoid getting water on the belly button if the cord has not fallen off. Treat the belly button and, if applicable, the circumcision, as advised by your pediatrician.
Quickly, using a dime sized drop of baby soap, wash baby’s hair and face first. Be sure to gently wash in the creases of the neck and ears. Rinse clean.
Next, with another dollop of soap, wash baby’s stomach, back, arms, and armpits. Rinse clean. Wash baby’s feet and legs. Be sure to wash in the creases of the legs like behind the knees. Rinse clean.
Last, with another drop of soap, gently wash the front and then back of the baby’s bottom area. Rinse clean. If you think baby needs a final rinse, do one more quick rinse, turn off water, and lift baby to the clean dry towel. Immediately wrap baby in the towel to minimize the chill of the air on the wet body.
Drying Off: 3 minutes
Laugh and play with your baby as you dry, diaper, and clothe. Baby’s bottom should be completely dry to avoid diaper rash. This is a good time to apply a small amount of baby lotion if baby’s skin is sensitive.
Dry in between baby’s toes before putting socks on baby’s feet. Dry baby’s armpits and neck area before putting on a shirt or onesie.
After a bath, a baby likes to be warm. Remember to dress baby in long sleeves, long pants, and socks after the bath. When hair is completely dry, put on a light hat. Wrap or swaddle baby in a clean blanket. If he or she starts to fuss, it is likely that the relaxation of the bath brought up a burp or helped release a poop. Try burping baby and check diaper. Baby is most likely fussy because he or she wants to sleep.
Finally, hold baby close. Feed or nurse baby and he or she will be ready to fall asleep.
*This kitchen sink method worked brilliantly from newborn to four months old, or until my baby was too big for the sink.
**Older babies enjoy taking a bath with mom or dad. Just put on your swimsuit and get in the tub with your baby in your arms or on your lap, making bath time fun. Make sure water level is low to avoid dipping baby’s face in the water. Keep dry towels close by so you can dry baby before drying yourself. Or ask your spouse to take baby from you and dry baby while you dry off.