How to Bathe Your Baby
Unfortunately, not all babies instantly enjoy being immersed in water and some downright hate it! The best way to avoid bath time becoming a chore is to be very organised in the beginning and make the routine pass as quickly as possible. Once your little one is a bit older you can help them to view the night time routine as an extension of play time…
Here are a few tips to help you to develop an easy system for bath time, right from the start:
- Make sure that the bathroom is comfortably warm beforehand. The room should be around 24°C ideally.
- Gather all the necessary items together first including towels and fresh clothes, etc. because you should never, ever leave your baby unattended in the bath whilst you go looking for a forgotten item.
- Baths are slippery – use a rubber mat in the base of the bath to avoid slippage. Special bathing chairs and frames are available too, depending on the age of your child.
- Fill the bath to the correct depth (5 – 7cm) with water and check the temperature carefully. Use a purpose-built thermometer if possible. If necessary you can use your elbow to test the water. At the perfect temperature, you should not feel the warmth.
- Be aware that wet babies are extremely slippery and they can wriggle. You should always keep a firm grip on the baby to keep them secure and support their head carefully if they are very young.
- If you are alone and the phone or doorbell rings during bath time and you feel you really must answer then you need to remove the baby from the water, wrap them securely in a warm towel and take them with you. Never, ever leave a baby or child in the bath alone – a baby can drown in 2cm of water.
- Bubble bath is best avoided for babies and young children. Babies have extremely sensitive skin and could get an irritation and sore skin from bath products.
- Use cotton wool to cleanse baby’s face first while the water is fresh and pay close attention to any folds around the neck which can become sore from milk dribbles.
- Work down the baby’s body with fresh cotton wool for each area, finishing with a thorough clean of the nappy area.
- When bath time is over, lift baby onto a warm towel and dry thoroughly before dressing. Moisturisers are not necessary if the baby is completely dry.
When your baby is old enough to play you can introduce toys to make bath time fun:
- Any small containers are fun in the bath and plenty of boats, ducks and fish are readily available in toy stores. If your little one is fretful you could try playing games to try to distract them.
- Introduce small pots of bubbles into bath time and see who can blow the biggest bubbles.
- You can buy bath pens to draw on the side of the bath for older tots. Keep them out of reach between bath sessions. They are difficult to remove from walls and furniture.
- Cheap plastic balls can turn the bath into a mini ballpark which can be great fun.
- If your child really dislikes bath time try singing some water songs to cheer them up or make up stories about all the animals who love playing in the water.
Being well prepared right from the start can make bath time nice and speedy for very small babies and hopefully by the time they are older they will already view the routine in a positive way and you can start to turn it into a fun playtime for you both of you to enjoy.