Bathing your child is a memorable event for many parents. While your little new family member likes the touch of warm water on their skin, it’s a perfect moment to interact without being distracted. Yet, when it comes to when and how to do it correctly, this basic parental practice is fraught with concerns and occasionally worry.
1. Over the last few years, the time of your baby’s first bath has shifted. While most hospitals used to wash newborns within an hour or two of delivery, this is changing. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises postponing a baby’s first bath until 24 hours after delivery, or at least 6 hours if a full day isn’t possible due to cultural considerations.
2. A bath is not required for newborns on a daily basis. They don’t sweat or get dirty enough to require a complete bath on a regular basis. During the first year of a baby’s life, three baths a week may be sufficient. Bathing your infant more regularly might dry up his or her skin.
3. Give your baby sponge showers just until the umbilical cord stump comes off, which normally happens after one or two weeks. If the problem persists after that period, there may be other difficulties at hand. If the chord has not dried up and come off by the time the infant is two months old, consult a doctor.
4. You might try placing your kid straight in the water once the umbilical region has healed. Baths should be as mild and brief as possible when he first starts. He could object a little. (If this occurs, return to sponge baths for a week or two before attempting the bath again.) When a baby is ready, they typically make it plain.
5. Some people prefer that babies be more attentive in the morning, but others may schedule it in the early evening as part of her goodnight routines. Make her bathtime part of a peaceful bedtime ritual that includes a last bottle or nursing session, a book, and a short song when it’s time to wind down.
6. Keep in mind, though, that infants don’t require much bathing (two or three times per week is plenty), and you’ll be giving her a fast sponge bath at first until her umbilical cord stump falls off, which normally occurs one to three weeks after delivery.
7. When you put your wrist or elbow into your baby’s bath water to check the temperature, it should be comfortably warm, not scorching. To avoid scorching your infant, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that the warmest temperature at the faucet be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Bathtime will assist establish your baby’s body clock, especially if you do it in the evening (“Mommy or Daddy is giving me a bath – that indicates it’s almost bedtime”) After the bath, dim the lights and keep the noise and activity low to reinforce the sleepy-time message. Of course, if you and your infant prefer a different time of day, that’s OK.
9. Since you can’t leave your kid in the bath (and it’s no fun shopping for what you need with a wet, naked newborn in tow), have everything on hand. Baby soap and shampoo, cotton washcloths, cotton balls, a plush towel or two, and a plastic basin are all necessities. A fresh diaper, a clean pair of clothing, and diaper ointment or cream for after the bath may also be required.
Bathtime is a lot of fun for both the baby and the new parents! If yours isn’t very enthusiastic, keep it brief and sweet. When you turn on the faucet, your infant will squeal with excitement.
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