Practical Tips for New Parents on When To Give Their Newborn a Bath

Childbirth is over, and now comes the part new parents are all looking forward to: Showing your baby her wonderful room!

I’m sure you’re so excited to bring your newborn home!

And there are probably so many questions in your head, things involving your little one and how to care for her properly. One of these questions may be this: “When can I give my newborn a bath?”

If you’re wondering about the when and how of bathing your tiny bub, here’s a helpful post to get you moving in the right direction.

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When Can I Give My Newborn a Bath?

Don’t be nervous - it’s not THAT challenging to bathe your little one. 

It just takes some understanding on what to do and what not to do, so you can give your child a pleasant experience during bath time while allowing you to enjoy the process, as well.

The norm at most hospitals in the past was to bathe a newborn right away after birth. But the case is not true anymore. According to the World Health Organization, you should wait for 24 hours before you give your newborn a bath.

There are a few reasons for that.

1. Young infants are very sensitive to the cold temperature. This is why bathing them right away can impact their blood sugar level, causing it to drop. Stress linked with cold temperatures can also result in hypoglycemia and hypothermia.

2. The cheese-like quality of skin newborns have helps keep them warm while protecting them from infections. Bathing them too soon washes off this coating on the skin, which limits their protection from infection and causes them to feel more sensitive to cold.

With all these in mind, it makes perfect sense to wait a while before giving your baby a bath.

And as for the number of times to bathe your infant per week, it should be no more than thrice a week. It is even better to sponge bath your child once a week to a maximum of three times. 

Newborns are not filthy, which means they don’t need frequent bathing. It is also not advisable to immerse your child in water if the umbilical cord is still intact. Wait for it to fall off, then you can give him a nice tub bath. Before then, a sponge bath is advisable.

How to Bathe a Newborn

Now that you know when the right time is to bathe your little one, the next question most parents have in mind is how to bathe their baby.

It may seem like a daunting and kind of nerve-racking moment for new parents to give their newborn a bath. But as long as you are well-prepared with the right tools and techniques, it should be pretty easy

Don’t panic if your baby begins to cry. It is a normal reaction but that does not mean there’s something wrong. Follow these steps and ease your mind as you give your little one a relaxing bath.

1. Have the supplies ready.

To sponge-bathe your child, be sure to have the necessary materials on hand. These include a dry towel, soft washcloth, mild baby soap, and a clean diaper.

Place these supplies within arm’s reach and keep them dry. Be sure your baby is never left alone in the tub - not even for a split second!

2. Choose a quiet and safe place for bathing your child.

A bathtub designed specifically for babies is ideal for bathing your newborn.

Use a good quality one without any sharp edges or parts. Place the tub in the sink or a secure spot in your home. You may also use a sling that resembles a hammock for supporting the head as you bathe her.

As much as possible, the bathing area must be warm and cozy. You should also have plenty of space to either stand or kneel while giving the baby a bath.

3. Wash slowly and gently.

Remove her clothes then her diaper. Place her in the tub and make it a point to cover areas you are not bathing. Use a dry, soft towel for these areas.

Lift only a small section at a time as you clean with a sponge. Then be sure to dry it as you go.

Use a washcloth that’s dipped in warm soapy water. Wipe your baby’s skin gently, with more attention to the diaper area and creases of her body.

Tips

Another note before you give your child a full bath. This is only to be done once you have seen the stump of her umbilical cord has already fallen off. If it is still intact, only give sponge baths. It may take a week or two upon birth, so there’s no rush.

This next step is for a full bath. It’s a little tricky, so you will need help from your partner or another person for this one.

1. PREPARE THE TUB

Pour just a couple of inches of warm - not hot - water in the tub. Ideally, it should be around 90 to 100 degrees F but never 120 degrees F. 

2. SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S HEAD

While bathing your baby, always make it a point to keep the head properly supported. This is the most delicate part of your child’s body.

3. KEEP YOUR BABY WARM

You will need a warm washcloth to cover your child as you bathe other parts of her body. Then, you will need to gently dry her body - face and head included - after the bath.

4. USE A MILD SOAP

Lastly, only use soap prescribed for babies. It should be mild and gentle for your child’s delicate skin. Leave out the lotion and powder. Your baby does not need these things. If you can feel some dry patches in your baby’s skin, coconut oil is best to use.

Bottom Line

Bathing your newborn is a fun, yet challenging experience at first. But by following this guide on when to bathe your newborn and how to give her a bath, you can eliminate your worries. You will also be more prepared every bath time while giving your child a pleasant experience.

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