Baby health

Baby's first bath

Preparing for baby's first baths

By Holly Bennett

Baby's first bath

You’ve got everything you need: bath supplies and clean clothing close at hand in a nice warm room. It’s time to take the plunge! When your baby is ready to graduate from sponge bathing, follow these steps and you’ll soon be a pro.

Never leave your baby unattended in the tub, even for a moment. Babies can drown in seconds in just a small amount of water.

• Fill the tub with warm, not hot, water.

• Use your elbow to check the temperature.

• Undress your baby and swaddle her snugly.

• Gently wash her eyes, using a different corner of a clean washcloth for each eye.

• Wash her face and outer ears but don’t probe inside the ear. Pat dry.

• Holding the baby close to your body like a football, with your hand supporting her neck and head, wash her hair.

• Wet hair using a cup or washcloth, and then lather with a tiny dab of shampoo.

• Rinse thoroughly and dry well.

• Time to go into the tub. Unwrap your baby and with one hand, hold onto her arm, your wrist supporting her head and neck.

• With the other hand, hold the baby between her legs under her bum.

• Gently lower her into the water.

• Hold her with both hands in the water until she relaxes.

• Now free your bottom hand and gently wash her body; don’t forget the creases in her neck, underarms, and in the genital area.

• As your baby grows a little older, she may want to kick for a few moments in the warm water.

• Turn your baby onto her tummy, with your hand still holding her arm and your wrist and forearm supporting her across her chest.

• Wash her back and bottom.

• Be sure to keep her face well up and out of the water in this position.

• All done! Lay her on a warm, fluffy towel and wrap her up, and then dry her carefully, paying special attention to all her creases.

• Throughout the bath, reassure your baby by talking softly to her and smiling at her.

This article was originally published on Jan 01, 1970