How do I bath a baby?

Top ten tips on bathing a baby

By Alexandra Smith

Tip 1 - Bathing a baby might sound simple in theory, and it is, as long as you have everything to hand.  Check out our photo for an idea of what you need to prepare.

Is there something I've forgotten?
Tip 2 - For new babies, invest in a baby bath seat; especially if you've had a C-Section or you're having back pain.  You don’t need to buy a baby bath if you have an appropriate fitted bathtub.  Baby baths are good to save water and if your bathroom is cold or you only have a shower unit but the small plastic tubs can be quite awkward to store, fill, carry and empty.

Tip 3 - Give your baby their own towel to avoid spreading germs; a nice clean bath towel works well (you don't need to buy 
'baby' ones).

Tip 4 - Clean dirty bath tubs using a pan scourer and washing up liquid if you want to avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach (check the scourer won't scratch the bath surface first).

Tip 5 - If it's difficult to bath baby every day then perhaps have less baths (say 4 times a week unless baby gets messy). Remember that you wipe the really dirty areas during nappy changes.

Tip 6 - Use cotton wool pads or balls with pure clean water to wash delicate areas such as the eyes (use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye if you're worried about spreading infection between eyes).  A Ramer sponge is quite soft for new skin and it can withstand a 60 degree machine wash with your towels occasionally to kill any germs.

Tip 7 - Use a bath thermometer and your own judgment of a bath’s temperature.  Even experienced bath-runners like to double check because what an adult considers warm on their arm may be quite hot for a baby's bottom. A baby being too cold isn’t good either; so close any windows and don’t let baby soak too long.  Aim for a maximum of about 5 minutes for newborns and up to 20 minutes for toddlers (if they enjoy playing) as a guide.

Tip 8 - Only use warm, clean water and a mild, perfume-free brand of baby wash or shampoo for delicate skin.  If your baby's skin suddenly becomes dry then try having no soap every other bath time or change the products you are using (one at a time so you can see which might be the problem).  Baby oil or olive oil can sooth cradle cap but can irritate sweat rash or baby eczema (which are all common complaints) so see a doctor or pharmacist if you think a cream is needed.  Remember, you can try expensive creams in the shops yourself, but the right cream can be prescribed from a doctor for free for children under 16.

Tip 9 - Don't put cotton wool buds in your child’s ears but do use cotton wool buds after a bath to dry around the ear hole.  Ear wax stops water getting in to your baby’s ears, which is why you shouldn't poke it away with a bud, but excess water can get into the ear and cause infection.

Tip 10 - Baths are fun and children can learn a lot from playing with water so bath your baby at a time of day when you have the energy to enjoy interacting with your child.  An evening bath can help some babies relax for bed while it can wake up and unsettle others so see what works for you.

© This article and its photo(s) are the property of Alexandra Smith. Only use or reproduce with permission.

Disclaimer: These tips are created from lessons I have learnt during my own experience.  With regard to the content and advice on this blog, Alexandra Smith makes no representations or warranties about its accuracy, reliability or suitability for anyone. Any reliance you place on the blog or its content is at your own discretion and in no event will Alexandra be liable for any loss, damage or injury in connection with your use.

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