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

Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns | 5 Easy Steps

newborn umbilical cord care | Jax, FL Baby Nurse

Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns | 5 Easy Steps

Writing an informative piece on umbilical cord care is right up my alley! When I’m not helping parents with all the things after their babies are born I’m teaching classes that include information on optimal umbilical cord clamping and providing placenta encapsulation services. During that time I often get to talk with parents about the anatomy of the placenta and cord and the functions of the umbilical cord during pregnancy. After birth, the umbilical cord is no longer needed as the placenta will no longer supply nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the newborn. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut leaving behind a small nub of cord still attached to your baby’s abdomen.

Clamped and cut, now what?

Your baby’s umbilical cord should begin to dry out, turn into a stump, and eventually, it falls off. What kind of time frame are we talking about here? Usually, within one to two weeks after your baby is born the stump that once was the cord falls off. Until then, follow the 5 simple steps below unless otherwise directed by your pediatrician.

Umbilical Cord Care in 5 Easy Steps:

1. Only give a sponge baths IF a bath is needed.

Generally speaking, newborns don’t need to bathe. A simple wipe down with warm, clean water and a cloth is sufficient. Pay close attention to areas that are moist and tucked away like the creases of their necks and their legs near their diaper area. Avoid their umbilical cord area. The idea is to keep it dry and sponge bathing your newborn will help with that!

2. Keep the stump dry.

You may hear all sorts recommendations such as putting breastmilk on it or applying Goldenseal and Echinacea powder to the area. Please consult your care provider before putting anything on the umbilical cord as it heals. Dry care is currently said to be the best care! There is research that suggests by putting anything on the cord you may be killing beneficial bacteria that is present naturally to help the cord heal on its own. What if my baby pees or soils the umbilical cord area? Don’t stress it! Just wipe it clean using a cloth and warm water (no soap), and let it dry out!

3. Let the umbilical cord air out!

Keep the umbilical area exposed to the air in a controlled temperature environment as much as possible. Fold down the newborn’s diaper, don’t allow it to touch or rub on the cord! Won’t my baby get cold with his umbilical cord area exposed? As long as you have him dressed for his environment he should be fine. For example, if your home is kept around 76 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re wearing shorts and a tank, your baby will be fine in a shirt, diaper, socks, and loose blanket over her lower half. Better yet, snuggle up!

4. Leave it alone!

Let the stump fall off on its own. No pulling or picking at it! If there’s some dried blood around the cord itself (that’s normal) on the skin, you can leave it or wipe it off with a cloth and warm water (no soap), being careful not to get the cord wet. Can I do something so my baby will have an “innie/outtie”? Nope! There’s nothing you can do to encourage or ensure your baby will have an “innie” or an “outtie” a belly button is a belly button! If it’s meant to be it’ll be!

5. Report any problems or concerns to your pediatrician.

Similarly to a scab, the stump might bleed a little when it’s falling off, that’s normal. However, you’ll want to contact your baby’s doctor if: The umbilical cord area oozes or has visible puss. The skin surrounding the cord gets red and swollen. If there’s an odor or smell coming from the area. If your baby’s umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off by the end of week two, even without signs of infection.

Together we can keep dem’ babies safe!

There isn’t a general consensus for umbilical cord care everywhere. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “dry cord care without the application of topical substances is preferable under most circumstances in high-resource countries and for in-hospital births elsewhere; the application of topical chlorhexidine is recommended for infants born outside the hospital setting in communities with high neonatal mortality rates.20 ” Basically, they’re saying that that dry care is usually the best care in low-risk environments. In settings where the risk of bacterial infection is high, it may be prudent to use an antiseptic as per your pediatrician or general practitioner’s recommendations.

Here’s the recap:

  1. keep it dry
  2. sponge bathe only as needed
  3. let it air out
  4. leave it alone
  5. report possible problems or infections to your pediatrician right away!

That’s it, folks!

Sounds simple enough, right? For the most part, it is! Follow these recommendations, that of your pediatrician, and most importantly listen to your gut! Not familiar with that? Our postpartum and infant care specialists are amazing at helping you tap into that parental power! Book a consult with us today and grow more confident in parenting each day!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

~Elizabeth Luke