You're home with your newborn and there isn't a nurse around to offer advice anymore. When it comes to bathing him, keep in mind that your baby should only get a sponge bath at first, according to the KidsHealth website. He should not be placed in the tub until his umbilical cord has fallen off and the stump has healed, which can take anywhere from one to four weeks. If he has been circumcised, that should be completely healed before a bath as well, which should happen within one to two weeks. Give your newborn a sponge bath each day until he is ready to graduate to the bathtub.
There is no other smell quite so sweet as the scent of a new baby. After you bring your newborn home from the hospital, you may be anxious to break out that new baby bathtub and all of those wonderful smelling bath products you received at your baby shower, but it's important that you know how and when the right time is to bathe your baby. He may not need to be bathed quite as often as you have imagined.
Bathing Your Newborn
Up to 12 Months
When it's time to move on to a bath, it still isn't necessary to bathe your baby every day. It's perfectly fine to give her a bath two to three times each week, with a quick sponge bath on those off days, suggests HealthyChildren.org. Until she begins to explore the world through crawling or starts eating baby food, she is not likely to get very dirty each day, anyway. Once she does become more mobile and learns how fun it can be to get messy, then she may need a daily soak in the tub. Trust your instincts to know whether she really needs a bath.
To give your newborn a sponge bath, simply use a washcloth that is warm and moistened to wash his entire body. You can even use a dab of baby soap or shampoo, if you like, KidsHealth advises. During diaper changes, clean his genital area thoroughly. When he is ready for a real bath, make it easier on you both by having everything prepared and ready beforehand. Place all of your bathing supplies within arm's reach, then fill the bath with approximately 2 inches of warm -- but not hot -- water. It's also a good idea to make sure the room you are bathing him in is warm to make him more comfortable. Start cleaning his face and hair with a mild baby shampoo avoiding getting any into his eyes. Then move down his body. Clean his genitals last.
You'll find that many different types of baby bath products are on the market, which can make it confusing when it comes time to select the right ones. Choose a baby bathtub that is made of thick plastic, with slip-resistant backing, KidsHealth recommends. Get more bang for your buck by selecting an infant-to-toddler tub that can grow with your baby. Avoid purchasing a bath seat that sits your baby upright in your big bathtub, HealthyChildren.org warns. These sets sometimes tip over, creating a drowning hazard. As far as other supplies, you will need some bath towels, washcloths, mild baby soap and shampoo and an oil-based moisturizer, if you plan to use lotion on your babies skin.
- HealthyChildren.org: Bathing Your Newborn
- HealthyChildren.org: To Bathe or Not to Bathe
- Baby Center: Bathing Your Newborn
- KidsHealth: A Guide for First-Time Parents
- HealthyChildren.org: Bath Seats: Avoid Use
- KidsHealth: Choosing Safe Baby Products: Bathtubs
- HealthyChildren.org: Preparing Your Bathing Area
- HealthyChildren.org: Ready, Set, Bath!
- KidsHealth: Preventing Drowning
- Baby Center: Dry Skin
- Photo Credit FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images
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