5 tips for a successful first baby bath
Your little one has finally arrived. Congratulations! After a few days in the maternity ward, you're now back home and feeling a little overwhelmed having to give your little one their first bath. Here are some essential tips to make this a stress free moment and a memory you’ll cherish forever. These may seem like common sense, but it's always useful to have a checklist!
When should you give your baby their first bath? It's usual to give a newborn baby their first bath a few days after birth. This allows young parents to learn the technique in a calm environment before they take over at home. That said, first baths in a maternity ward are becoming less common, with parents being told to wait a week before the first bath. Indeed, the vernix (the white cheesy-looking coating) that covers a baby's skin is composed of proteins, lipids and antioxidants that protect the baby's skin long after it has left the protective environment of mom's belly. There is no hard and fast rule on this subject. Each parent is free to choose whether they bathe their baby in the maternity ward or wait until they get home.
During the first three months of your baby's life, your bathroom sink can work perfectly well as an improvised bathtub. It should be spotless and filled with a few centimetres of water. However, the first baby bath will be much more comfortable for your baby (and for you) if you give it to them in a small adapted bathtub. Once your baby can hold their head up, you can pop your little one in a baby bath seat or lounger that you then place in your bathtub. You could also invest in a small bucket-shaped bathtub called a Shantala bathtub which allows your baby to be bathed in a reassuring foetal position. They'll find themselves in the same comforting position they had in mom's belly.
Preparing everything for your baby's bath time is one of the keys to a fuss-free bath. First of all, place everything you need, during and after the bath, at hand's reach (and within sight) near the changing table: the body and hair cleansing gell, a baby boy or girl bath towel, bath wrap or hooded bath towel. No need to reach for a diaper, onesie or pajamas, immediately after the bath, just wrap up your naked baby in a lovely newborn bath towel. Otherwise, they'll lose all their body warmth and comforting bathtime heat. Rule number 1 during bathing and changing is simple: keep your eyes on your baby at all times.
The bath must be at the right temperature (between 98.6°F and 100F), the water level 1/2 ft maximum, and you should take the ambient temperature of your bathroom into account. For your first baby bath, make sure the temperature of the room is between 71°F and 75°F in summer and winter.
Baby skin is delicate, so use a hypoallergenic, soap-free baby cleasing gel or an emollient dermatological bar.
To apply the product, just follow these steps. Lather the cleanest areas of the body first (hair, arms, legs, belly and back) and the dirtiest last (baby's buttocks). Make sure to clean any folds in the skin (thighs, neck, crotch). Avoid wetting their face as this could stress your newborn. Or just moisten with a tiny amount of soft water.
On the other hand, wash their head thoroughly, as newborns' heads can sweat a lot. Rinse their head gently by cupping the water with your hand and pouring the water gently over their crown. Finish with a tender kiss.
Gently wrap your baby up after bathing
From their first bath onwards, you must prevent your baby from getting cold by immediately wrapping them up in a newborn bath towel or hooded towel, making sure their head is covered.
Babies skin is very thin. Don't rub them dry, but gently pat them dry so the towel absorbs the water. And don't forget to fully dry all the skin folds too. After putting on a diaper, why not give your baby a little massage? Using a multi-care dry oil, you can round off a relaxing bath time in the best possible way! A little massage can also be done at another time of the day to relax and comfort your little one. We have a wide range of massage and baby care oils, perfect for magical moments with your baby.
Just follow these tips for a stress-free bath time - giggles included for free! And as your baby grows older, a bath cape or toddler bath towel will be a useful addition to your baby bath kit.