Bathing a newborn for the first time can be quite daunting and so I have dedicated this post to providing some tips to make bath time for baby less scary. Once you get the hang of bathing a newborn it can be a really enjoyable and relaxing time for both mother and baby. Bathing your newborn helps you bond and form a loving relationship with your baby so I do encourage fathers to have a few turns bathing bubs as well.
The first rule of thumb for bathing a newborn is to choose a standard no frill, no attachment, simple and very basic stock standard bath tub. Target and Kmart standard baby tubs are perfect and should cost about $30. Don’t bother going for an expensive tub with all these toys and other attachments on, it hinders and makes the task of bathing more difficult! Because your newborn is very fragile and you need to have a good grip on them you do not want anything hanging off the bath tub getting in the way it can get very annoying. The only accessory that I do recommend is a bath stand for those that are like me and have a bad back, having a stand allows you to bathe baby standing up.
Next and very importantly make sure the water temp is warm but not too hot. The ideal temperature for bathing babies is 37 degrees Celsius. If you are a first time mother I strongly recommend a bath thermometer to make sure the water is not too hot. The trick is to fill the tub with cold water first then add the hot water to warm it up. Remember never leave the water running when bathing a baby as the water can get too hot really quickly.
Choosing what soaps or bath lotion to use can be rather stressful and confusing as there are quite a lot of different good quality bath soaps, lotions and oils available. My general guide in this area is to choose a soap free one. The more natural the better for our babies as generally most babies don’t really get that dirty that you would need harsh soaps to clean them. Babies skins are still quite soft and sensitive and so exposing them to soaps can cause rashes and dries their skins. I have included above my recommendations as I have used all three brands with my children without any problems. However, any other soap free brands are just as good. Addressing cradle caps, for both my children the Dermaveen oatmeal shampoo worked in lifting and removing their cradle caps (which is the hard, flaky, scab like formation on a babies head) usually appears a few days after birth. I have heard rubbing olive oil also works on stubborn cradle cap.
Finally, babies usually should only need one bath a day (they don’t usually get dirty except for the occasional bowel accidents)! I find bathing baby twice a day tends to dry their skin out. However, most babies seem to settle and sleep easier after a bath, my second child was like this. After bath time he settle into a good sleep quite easily so I chose to give him his daily bath just before bedtime. As baby gets older bath toys and bubbles can be introduce to make bath time fun as some may find that their child might not like or enjoy having a bath and can make bath time quite dramatic! I find if this is the case try giving them bubble baths instead, kids love anything to do with bubbles! Toys can help distract them from being afraid of being in the water and gives them something to fidget with while you clean them!