The prospect of bathing a baby for the first time is enough to make any new mother nervous. How to hold the little creature? Will the tiny one cry? However, bath time can be an enjoyable activity for both mom and baby. Here's a handy baby bathing guide.
Bathing a newborn baby
Sponge baths are best for your baby until your baby is about three weeks old. Gather a small tub (for holding warm water; not the baby), mild baby soap, shampoo, cotton washcloths, baby wipes and a soft baby towel. Lay your baby down on a large plush towel on the kitchen counter or changing table. Soak the washcloth with warm (soapy) water and gently wipe each part of your baby's body. Pay special attention to the outside of your baby's ears, eyelids, between fingers and toes and the folds of skin. Wash your baby's genitals carefully and wipe from front to back. Massage baby shampoo into your baby's hair until foamy. Immerse the washcloth into clean water and squeeze it over the baby's head to rinse. When done rinsing, pat-dry your baby's hair and body gently with the baby towel and apply baby lotion. Diaper and dress your baby. Your bundle of joy is now fresh and clean!
Bathing older babies and toddlers
You'll need the same accessories for bathing toddlers as mentioned above, but you can add fun bath toys such as ducks, colourful fish, squirtees and bath finger puppets. Fill a toddler tub, kitchen sink, or your bathtub with about three inches of lukewarm soapy bath water. Using one hand to support your baby's neck and another to support the butt, gently dip your baby feet-first into the water. Grasp your baby firmly under the armpits and pour mugs of water over your baby from time to time to keep baby warm. It is best to clean the baby's face first, then body and finally the hair. The idea is to minimise the amount of time that the baby's hair is wet.
Helpful tips and tricks
Newborns don't need to be bathed daily; twice a week is enough as long as you clean the baby's face, neck and genital area daily.
Never ever leave your baby unsupervised in the bath no matter what. Babies can drown even in one inch of water within a minute!
Fill the bath water first, test the water temperature with an infant digital temperature tester (35 degrees Celsius is optimal), and then dip your baby in the water.