At the end of a busy day, you’ve usually got a tired mom and a fussy baby— bath time may be the last thing on your mind. But making bath time part of your daily routine is also soothing, calm, quality time for the two of you. And, let’s be honest, nothing heals the soul more than a clean, soft baby, jammied up and smelling sweet. So, here are some pointers for an easier bath time that is comforting for both you and your baby.
First, a couple of safety ground rules that every mom (or dad) needs to know:
- Always test the temperature of the bath water yourself.
- Support your baby’s neck and head throughout the bath.
- If interrupted, always take your baby with you. Don’t ever leave your child in the bath unattended – even a baby bathtub and not even for a second.
Step #1— Timing is everything: As with any routine, timing is key. For many moms, evenings are best because it’s the time to wind down and prepare your baby for bed. This will help your babies to associate bath time with sleeping. But whatever time of day or night you choose, make it an opportunity when you can relax and enjoy, and your baby will too.
Step #2— Preparation, preparation, preparation: With a baby, you never seem to have enough hands, so gather everything you need for bath time before you actually start. You will need:
- A baby bath (typically, these have a little insert for the baby as well as a bin to keep supplies in). Place your baby bath on a firm, safe surface.
- Hair and body cleanser appropriate for baby’s tender skin
- 1-2 soft baby washcloths and a soft bristle brush
It’s also a great idea and a big help to put your baby’s bouncy seat within reach, with a big, fluffy bath towel on top. You’ll use this as you put your child in and out of the bath.
Step #3— Rub a dub, dub, put baby in the tub: When the bath water is ready and you’ve checked the temperature, undress your baby and gently lay him in the tub. The bathtub insert should keep your baby inclined but you always want to use your hand to cradle your child’s head and neck. You’ll only need a couple of inches of water in the tub – just enough to keep him warm.
Step #4— Wash the cares away: For comfort and warmth, use one of the wet, warm washcloths to cover your baby’s tummy. Wet the other washcloth and start cleaning your baby around the eyes, nose, face and behind his cute, little ears. One thing new moms may not realize is babies don’t get that dirty so you don’t need to use soap all over.
For the areas that do actually get dirty, bring out your soap. Squirt a little soap right on the washcloth covering your child’s tummy, and then massage it in with your fingers – under the arms, in the groin area, and in between the chubby little baby folds of skin and over their feet. Feel free to change out your washcloths, putting the non-soapy one on your baby as you clean with the other, using the washcloth and your hands to gently rinse soap off your baby.
Finally, put a pea-sized dab of soap on your soft bristle brush and gently scrub your baby’s scalp. This feels wonderful and cleans away the dry skin and oils that can cause cradle cap. Again, use your washcloths for rinsing, and your baby is squeaky clean!
Step #5— Fluff and Dry: Babies are very wet and slippery right after bath time, so as you take your baby out of the bed, continue to support his head and grab his thigh really well. Transfer your baby to the warm towel waiting in the bouncy seat. And, while baby towels are adorable, an adult-sized, fluffy bath towel is ideal to spread over the bouncy seat and wrap around your child. Now, you’ve got a sweet, clean, happy little baby, ready for a soothing moisturizer and a lullaby from Mom.
Make bath time a part of the routine, not just for your baby but for both of you. With a little planning and preparation bath time can become one of those precious moments that every mom will treasure.
For more information and helpful tips, watch this video of Dr. Amy giving a real baby bath: Dr. Amy Bath Video
~ Happy tubby time from the Baby Pibu™ Team