It’s bath time! by Wendi Karam, Pediatric Nurse, RN, MSN
This may seem a bit scary for new parents, but it can actually be a relaxing and bonding time for you and your little one. In order to ease any fears you may have about bathing your baby, the following guidelines will make the experience both safe and enjoyable.
Bathing can be done any time of the day, whatever works best for you and your schedule. Find a time where you will have the least amount of disturbances and can focus solely on this precious moment with your baby.
It is only recommended to bathe your baby a few times a week. The oils that their skin produces is good for their body and prevents dry skin and rashes.
Remember that until the umbilical cord falls off, only a sponge bath is required.
Before you start the bath:
· Make sure to gather all of your supplies ahead of time. The basic things you will need are: baby soap and shampoo, a towel, a basin, sink or tub, a hair comb, a diaper and a change of clothes.
· Fill the basin or baby tub with warm water. You should not fill it completely: ¼ or ½ way is plenty. Make sure the room is warm as babies lose heat much faster than adults.
The most important piece of information is to never take your eyes of your baby. If you forgot something or there is a distraction (phone call, doorbell … etc.), make sure to wrap your baby in the towel and carry him/her with you. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, so paying attention to your baby is more important than anything else!
Beginning the bath:
· Begin by washing the baby’s eyes. Use only water to clean their eyes. You can use the corner of your washcloth and wipe eyes from the inside corner of the eye to the outside corner. Next, use a tiny amount of soap and gently wash the baby’s mouth, nose and ears. Never use a Q-tip in their ears!
· Use a different part of the washcloth and begin to wash their body. Save the head for last, since babies lose most of their heat from their head. Wash the arms, legs, back and belly and make sure to wash in all of the creases! Rinse with warm water.
· Last, use a small amount of baby shampoo and wash the baby’s head and hair. Remember to support their head and neck while washing. Rinse the hair and be careful not to get soap in the baby’s eye. If you do, just rinse the eye with cool to warm (but not hot) water.
Now that your baby is squeaky clean, it is time to get him or her out of the tub and dried off. Because babies are so delicate and slippery, this tends to be the most fearful part for new mothers.
It is most important to have a good towel or an item such as aacua that offers the greatest safety in transferring your baby from the tub to the changing area. This will prevent any slipping or potential accidents.
Once you have safely transferred your baby, you can dry him or her off completely, use any baby lotions if desired (do not use adult lotion or powder on their sensitive skin) and then place their diaper and clothing on. Finally, you may want to comb their hair (never use a blow-dryer on a baby).
Now that your baby is safely bathed, enjoy the sweet smell of your precious little one!
Wendi Karam, Pediatric Nurse, RN, MSN
California Pacific Medical Center - Pediatric Department