Washing Your Newborn Baby | Step by Step Guide

washing your newborn Jax, FL | Jax, FL Newborn Nanny | Night Nanny Jax, FL | Sleep Specialist Jax, FL

Washing Your Newborn | Step by Step Guide

You don’t have to be a brand new parent to get butterflies in your stomach when you think about washing your newborn baby. Lots of parents who’ve done it before worry about “doing it right” or doing it all wrong. Much like riding a bike it usually comes back to you after a time or two. Step by step we’re walking you through bathtime and helping you gain the confidence you need when washing your newborn! If you’re about to embark on baby’s very first bath using a tub with water, you’ll want to go over and read “Baby’s First Bath, Level Up With These Tips” to get all the best tips ahead of this step by step blog.

Did You Know: It’s not necessary to wash your newborn or infant every day.

Newborns and immobile infants don’t get “dirty” often. You’ll want to wash your baby two to three times a week maximum to avoid drying out their skin. Until your baby begins scooting, crawling, or playing with pets on the floor or other infants out in public a simple wipe down with a warm wet cloth in between baths is sufficient.

Did You Know: A little dab will do ya! You don’t need to use much soap at all.

In addition to being bathed too often, using too much soap can also dry out your baby’s delicate and oh so soft skin. You can just put a tiny drop or two of your soap of choice into the bath water for washing your newborn baby, reserving a single drop for washing his hair. That’s all you need.

Step #1: The Set Up

Choose a time when your baby isn’t tired and hungry to bathe him. Begin by placing the baby bathtub either in the sink or on a level surface, not too close to the edge of the counter. If you’re using one of those blooming sink inserts you will use it in the sink. If you’re using a bather that sits inside the tub you’ll either be in the tub with your baby or kneeling beside the tub. If you’re getting in with baby you want to have a second person to assist you with getting yourself and baby out. If kneeling, please protect your knees!

Step #2: Washing Your Newborn

Make sure all supplies are easily within reach, make sure the tub is plugged, add the water, and then your sweet babe! Immediately place one washcloth that you’ve wet over your baby’s genitals, remembering the 3 T’s of Bathtime.

Your baby will pee in the tub and it’s okay and there’s no need to drain the water! If poop happens, you’ll want to drain and start again. Fun times! While we’re talking pee and poop believe it or not sometimes little girls can pee up and everywhere just as little boys can. Pro tip, I recommend always starting by placing a wet washcloth over their genitals as soon as the diaper comes off and baby is placed in the tub.

Wash and rinse in this order: top to bottom, front to back. Beginning with baby’s hair use a single drop of soap of choice (tear-free may be a good option for you) onto the other wet washcloth and gently begin washing your baby’s hair. Pay close attention not to get soap in her eyes or mouth. Wipe behind her ears and then under her neck, in his little neck creases where milk gets trapped. Rinse carefully avoiding his eyes, nose, and mouth. Work your way down the front of your baby. Use the towel over his/her genitals to clean the diaper area well. How you clean your baby’s genitals depends on if your baby is a boy or a girl, is circumcised or intact. Check carefully to be sure your baby doesn’t have any hair wrapped around his toes.

Washing a baby’s backside isn’t as easy as the front, but in time you’ll become a pro at washing your newborn baby! You can either tip your baby carefully onto his side and wash the opposite side of his back and bottom and then repeat. Or, you can gently transfer your baby to lay face down onto your hand and arm always keeping his face out of the water while you wash then rinse.

Step #3: The Wrap Up

Remembering timing in the 3 T’s of Bathtime wrap it up as soon as possible, even if things are going really well. Pull the plug from the tub being careful to make sure the water is making it in the sink and not your countertop and floor.

Holding the towel on your chest using your teeth and toss the right side over your right arm and left side over your left arm. Then, standing as close to the counter and your baby as possible carefully lift your baby from the bath and transfer him to the center of the towel on your chest. Wrap up your baby burrito!

If your baby is happy you may be able to transfer him to the place you’ll lay him to dry and dress him. If he is upset, take a moment or two to calm and comfort him before continuing being mindful of the possibility of pee and poop. Place your baby on his back and dry him well. Then put his diaper on. If you are planning to use lotion on his skin, nows the time to do it. Start by rubbing the lotion in your hands to warm it first. Begin at the top and work your way down your baby’s body. You can use the towel to cover the areas you aren’t applying lotion to, to keep your baby warm.

When you’ve finished the top half of your baby’s body put his shirt/top on. Then finish applying lotion to the bottom half and put his pants/bottoms on. Before putting on his socks check his nails and clip them if they need to be clipped. Brush his hair/head with a soft bristle baby brush. Use cotton balls to dry his ears. Avoid putting anything into his ears including Q-tips you can damage his eardrums.

That’s it! You’re done!

Whether your baby blissfully obliged or painfully protested his bath you’re awesome! You’ll get the hang of washing your newborn and he’ll get the hang of being pampered and may even become playful with time!

Bathing is a topic our educators teach in our newborn care class and our team of postpartum and infant care specialists provide one-on-one assistance with baby’s first bath in the comfort and serenity of your home! Contact us to find out more!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth Luke

Baby’s First Bath, Level Up With These Tips

baby's first bath jax, fl | Jax, FL Nanny | Newborn Care Jax, FL

Baby’s First Bath, Level Up With These Tips

These tips for a baby’s first bath will help ease your fears and make the first bath (and many more) run smoothly. At The Jax Baby Company, we help bathe lots of slippery newborns, wiggly infants, and rambunctious toddlers. We have bathtime down to a science!

When parents talk about baby’s very first bath, most of them are referring to a bath with water and some soap. That’s what we will cover here today. However, until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off you’ll want to skip a traditional bath with water and soap and give a “sponge bath”. Wiping your baby down with a warm wet washcloth is sufficient and keeps the umbilical area dry. Pay close attention to the neck creases where milk drips and collects, the creases of the legs, and diaper area.

Tip #1: Follow the 3 T’s of Bathtime

When we teach parents about babies we always talk about safety! Follow the 3 T’s of tub time What are the 3 T’s you ask?

  • Temperature: A newborn can chill easily. You want the room your bathing your baby in to be free from drafts and not too cold. You don’t need to turn on the heat in Florida unless it’s true winter, but you can turn off any fan you may have running in the room. Likewise, make sure the water temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. Baby bear like’s it “just right”. To prevent scalding, before your baby is born adjust the thermostat on your water heater to below 120 F (49 C). Always test the water temperature with your hand or thermometer if needed before bathing your baby. Aim to have the bath water around 100 F (38 C).
  • Touch: Keep one hand on your baby at all times. Babies slip and slump easily in the water. It only takes a moment for an accident to happen. If you can’t reach “it” while keeping a hand on your baby you don’t really need it.
  • Time: Baby’s first bath shouldn’t take long, in fact, all baths should be kept to under 10 minutes. Newborns have very short sleep/wake cycles. So, although your baby may seem very content, at a moments notice your baby can be sleepy again and things can escalate quickly.

Tip #2: Gather Your Supplies First

You want everything you’ll need for the bath, from start to finish, within an arms reach. Go ahead and rip those safety seals off before you ever starting. Remember touch of the 3 T’s of bathtime? One hand on your baby at all times, always! You’ll want all the rest of the supplies you’ll need right where you’ll dress and groom your baby. What supplies do you need? Well, that depends on what you’re tackling, remember to keep it under 10 minutes total.

Bath Time:

  • tub, bather, or bloom sink insert
  • a cup to pour the water on the baby
  • baby wash/soap of choice
  • warm water (100 F (38 C)
  • 2 washcloths
  • towel

Grooming & Dressing:

  • diaper
  • clothing
  • socks
  • cotton ball for drying ears
  • lotion
  • brush
  • nail clippers

Tip #3: Take a Deep Breath & Keep Calm

Most newborn babies hate being naked, cool, and wet. If you find that your baby starts to cry keep calm! Don’t panic! If she takes a pacifier you can use one that doesn’t allow water to get inside of it, like this. Most of the time baby’s first bath involves some tears. You can stop where you are, wrap it up, move on to our bonus tip and call it a success. OR you can push through, finish the bath, move onto the bonus tip, and call it a success! Either way keep calm because your baby can sense when you’re feeling sad, down, or panicked. This is new to you too, it gets easier I promise!

We’re wrapping up tips for baby’s first bath with a bonus tip!

Bonus Tip: Follow Up with Skin to Skin Bonding

Babies love being skin to skin with their parents! They love everything about it! The warmth, the closeness, and the hormones it helps mom release. They love your smell and the gentleness. They love the sound your heart makes as they lay against your chest and the humming of your voice. If your baby cried during bathtime this is a sure way to make it up to him (and you). Fresh babies are the best! So this bonus tip is just as much for you as it is for them. These moments are the “stop and smell the roses” of life. Take them every chance you get!

How do you do skin to skin?

You’ll want your baby to be in only a diaper and you’ll want to remove your shirt and bra if you’re wearing one. Lay your baby on your bare chest facing you on his/her belly. Place a blanket over the two of you leaving only your baby’s head exposed. Snuggle that muggle! Smell him, caress him, touch his soft, fine hair. Let him hold your finger in his tiny precious hand. Enjoy this time, uninterrupted for as long as you’d like.

I hope you find these tips for baby’s first bath as helpful as the families we work with. If you’d love help with your baby’s first bath contact us and one of our baby whispers will come and help you through bathtime, instilling confidence along the way!

To recap just remember:

  • 3 T’s of Bathtime: temperature, touch, time (10),
  • Gather all of your supplies first
  • Follow up with skin to skin

Be sure to check out our upcoming blog: When and How to Wash a Newborn for step by step instructions!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth Luke