by Robin Elise Weiss
Bathing a baby is one of my favorite activities. It can be such a great relaxing time for you and the baby. Older kids also love to help out if your baby isn't the first one on the block. Here are some baby bathing basics. Remember to talk to the baby as you are bathing. If you're unsure of what to say, simply tell them, step-by-step what you're doing. They love this interaction and it stimulates their brain and makes them feel more comfortable.
Alternative Ways to Bathe Baby
As with everything there is always more than one way to do it! While the above is the traditional way that many people use to bathe their babies, there are alternatives. A great one to use is to actually bring the baby into the bath with you. This is particularly good if the baby is very fussy or sick. They love the skin-to-skin contact. You simply cradle the baby on your lap and bathe them. When you're done, you can either hand the baby off to another adult and finish your bath or get out and take care of baby. This is also a great technique for baby's who are having trouble latching onto the breast. The water and skin contact can be enough to help them relax and nurse more effectively.
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- Gather your supplies. Being prepared is usually the first step with anything having to do with a baby! So, gather a towel, wash cloth, any soaps or lotions you intend to use.
- In the bathroom. It doesn't matter what form of tub you're using, whether it's the regular bath tub, a baby bathtub or or container, the water needs to be shallow and just the right temperature, about 100 degrees Farenheit. Many people suggest testing the water with your wrist, an area of more sensitive skin. You also want to ensure that whatever room you are in is warm enough and free of drafts.
- Strip Tease Now it's time to undress your baby. Talk to your baby as you remove their clothing. Hold them closely and make them feel secure. If you have a baby who absolutely hates to be naked, try doing a sponge bath for the first few weeks, and slowly undress them and wrap them in a towel, and only uncover the part you're currently washing. Generally you can graduate to the regular tubs at a later stage.
- Fresh & Clean Place the baby in the tub, but always hold on with one hand for safety. Use your other hand, or any small helpers, to take the wash cloth and begin washing the baby. Remember to start with the face and neck and do the diaper area last. Many soaps for baby can be used in their hair. You also have the option of not using soap on baby's delicate skin.
- All done! Once baby is washed, wrap him or her in a towel and leave the bath stuff for a clean up later. Use the towel to dry baby off. You can, if you desire, use lotion on the baby after a bath, though it's not necessary for most babies. Put a clean diaper and outfit on the baby. Once baby is sleeping or with someone else, you can then clean up the bath equipment.