Congratulations on the newest member of your family! It’s the most exciting time for any mother (especially if this is your first child) to discover and experience a few firsts with your baby: coming home for the first time, the first feeding, the first changing, the first sleepless hour, and, of course, the first bath. Chances are you have heard so much about this intimate ritual from relatives, friends and your readings that when the time comes you are most often surprised that each baby is unique and hard rules rarely apply. It is up to you to figure out what works for both of you and what advice to skip on.
We have, however, selected the few basic tips that seemingly apply to all first baby baths. These do not depend on your baby’s particular personality, but are rather technicalities that you should familiarize yourself with. After all, the first bathing is not up for too many experiments, but you should, above all, remember to enjoy the fresh bond you are forming with your child in those precious moments.
Test the waters
Babies’ skin is so tender and sensitive that it is essential to ensure their comfort by adjusting the temperature of both the air and the water. Turn up the heat in the bathing room to a comfortable 75 to 80 degrees and fill in your sink or tub with pleasantly warm water. It’s a good idea to test the temperature with your elbow which is more sensitive than your fingers. Remember not to fill in a baby’s bathing tub with the baby already inside. Run the water while your baby is still in the crib and come back together when it’s already full.
Slide your baby in and soap up sparingly
Slide the child gently and slowly into the warm water, feet first. It is important to use the right products at this stage. The baby bathing product industry is so advanced nowadays that there are numerous tear-free shampoos and gentle pH-balanced soaps and wash gels. Don’t wash the hair at every bathing – once or twice a week is enough. Lather up (actually, soap up is more appropriate as you should use only a few drops of product) from the top down, leaving the grimiest parts for last.
The washing routine
Massage each area with the tops of your fingertips, including the top of the head where the spot is still soft. Don’t worry about breaking your baby’s head, it is not possible as long as you use gentle movements. Wipe the eyes and the outside of the ears with a damp washcloth (never use Q-tips for your baby’s ear cleaning routine). Be especially tender with the baby’s private area and use a damp washcloth.
The drying routine
Don’t use a coarse towel to dry the baby’s skin since their skin is not like an adult’s. Use a bath sheet instead. There is no need to invest in expensive sets, a cheap Bath Sheet works fine as long as it is 100% cotton and naturally dyed. Finally, did you know that the first color that babies recognise is yellow? Get a yellow bath sheet to make your baby happy and gently pat, don’t rub the sensitive skin.