Giving a baby a bath. Cute little toes sticking out of the water, kids playing in the bubbles. When did something so simple become so complicated? Is the ideal bath time during the day or night? How much soap should be used? What products are best? There are probably as many ways to give a bath as there opinions. In our experience there are just a few things you need to do to make your baby’s bath safe and enjoyable for both of you. Here are the 6 things you need to know to give your baby a bath, created in conjunction with respected parenting consultants, Moms On Call. Read on before you turn on the water.
- Establish a good routine.
Getting into a good nighttime bath routine is the ideal way to prepare you and your baby for bedtime. When your baby bathes at night, he will begin to associate bath time with bedtime. He will begin to realize that after bath comes changing, feeding and lights out, and will help him slow down for sleep. This is especially handy when you start traveling with your baby across time zones. The nightly bath time routine serves as a reset point during the “witching hour” to remind your baby that bath time equals bedtime.
- Set the right bath conditions.
There are many products out there that help you determine what the bath water temperature should be. Instead, we recommend you check the water temperature yourself. Just put your hand in and feel the temperature. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your baby. It’s also best to use warm water – not hot water – and keep the bath to less than five minutes for babies ages newborn to six months old. Baths can extend to ten minutes or less for babies older than six months. Water does not hydrate, but instead dries out the skin so keeping water exposure to a minimum is important.
- Only clean where you must.
Babies actually aren’t that dirty so it is best not to use soap all over your baby’s skin. Soap can further strip your baby of her normal oils. Areas that need soap include the hair, hands, feet, armpits, neck folds, and groin. Other than those areas, just use water. For the dirty areas, look for a 2-in-1 hair and body cleanser like Baby Pibu’s Bathtime Wash. That way you only need one product. When choosing a wash, look for the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association (NEA). The NEA recognizes products that have been clinically tested to be hypoallergenic and irritant-free. Lastly, look for products in bottles that can be opened and squirted with one hand. At some point in time you will be giving your baby a bath by yourself and you’ll need one hand to support her.
- Exfoliate, even at this young age.
No, not to keep his skin youthful looking! Instead, exfoliate to protect against cradle cap. Cradle cap is a common skin condition that occurs on a baby’s scalp as well as the eyebrows, nose, and around the ears. It is caused by overgrowth of yeast-like Malassezia from excess oil. To prevent cradle cap, lather up a soft bristle brush with wash and gently massage the baby’s scalp in a circular motion. With a warm, wet washcloth, gently wipe around the eyebrows, nose and behind the ears. Do not use wash on the washcloth – just water. Using the soft bristle brush and washcloth helps to remove the buildup of excess oil and ultimately helps to prevent cradle cap formation.
- Hydrate and protect.
After the bath, it’s best to apply a moisturizer to lock in moisture and hydrate your baby’s skin. Use either a cream or an ointment since lotions are made up mostly of water and don’t seal in moisture as well. We recommend Baby Pibu’s Baby Butter for everyday use or Hydrating Ointment for the drier times. For the bottom, apply Hydrating Ointment or a diaper rash cream such as Baby Pibu’s Bottom Balm to help prevent unwanted diaper rash.
- Never leave your baby alone in the tub by himself.
It goes without saying, but it’s so important we’ll say it again. You may face the time when the phone rings or some other interruption happens during bath time, and you will consider handling it since it will only be a few seconds. Just don’t. Don’t ever leave your baby or toddler in the bath by themselves even for a single second. Drowning accidents can happen in the bathtub even with a couple inches of water.
Need a review to feel confident so you can do it yourself? Check out our video showing Dr. Amy demonstrating how to give a baby a bath.
With these few simple tips, bath time may just become your favorite time of day – and your baby’s.
~ The Baby Pibu™ Team