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.
- 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
Grooming & Dressing:
- cotton ball for drying ears
- 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