Bath time is one of the most important parts of a baby’s routine. Your child is constantly ruining their nappies and clothes with spit-up, and other bodily fluids. Getting them into a regular bath is a fantastic opportunity to get them feeling and smelling fresh again.
However, it can be difficult to figure out the right bath time routine when you’re a new parent. If you’re getting used to washing and bathing a baby for the first time, don’t panic. We’re going to cover some great tips that will help bath time go swimmingly!
The first thing you should know is that you don’t actually have to bathe your baby every day. Sometimes, it’s much easier to carefully wash their face, hands, neck, and bottom instead. This is a process often referred to as “topping and tailing”. It’s a good choice if you don’t necessarily have time for a full bath, or your child isn’t the most water-loving child.
Bathing your child can be a process that happens around 2 or 3 times a week, provided that you clean your baby’s bottom well after every diaper change. For topping and tailing:
- Use cotton wool to simplify the process. This can help you to gently wipe around your baby’s eyes, mouth, nose, and other sensitive areas as carefully as possible. Remember to use fresh pieces of cotton wool for every part of the body.
- Help your child to relax while bathing or topping-and-tailing by talking to them softly throughout the process. The more they hear your voice, the more comfortable they’ll feel with the whole experience.
- Choose the right time. Make sure that your baby is awake and content for bathing or topping and tailing. Make sure that everything is ready in advance. That means a bowl of warm water, a towel, and plenty of cotton wool.
Top Tips for Bathing Your Baby
Remember, although you don’t have to bathe your baby every day, there’s nothing to stop you from running the bath as often as you like if your baby enjoys the experience. However, it’s usually a good idea to avoid bathing straight after your baby has had a feed, as this can lead to sickness. Additionally, it’s best not to bathe a child when they’re tired or hungry.
Prep all of the equipment you’ll need beforehand, and make sure that the water is warm, not hot. You’ll need a clean towel and a nappy for child, as well as clothing or a hooded robe to keep them comfortable after the bath.
The easiest way to bathe a baby is to have them on your knee in the bath, so you can hold them properly. Wash the hair carefully with plain water, and you can wait until after the hair is clean to take off their nappy. Lower your baby into the bath or water using one arm to support their arm and support their head. Remember:
- Avoid adding any soaps or cleansers to the bath during the first few months. Plain water is the best option when your child is new to the world.
- Keep your baby’s head lifted away from the water. Gently swish the water over your baby with the other hand, trying not to cause too much of a splash.
- Don’t take your eye off your baby for a second, even if there’s only a very small amount of water.
Enjoying After-Bath Snuggles
If your baby seems frightened by the bath, the best thing you can do is make sure that you get through the process quickly, and safely, and provide plenty of support. Soothing words and plenty of cuddles will be helpful during this time. Remember that bathing with your baby can sometimes make them feel safer, as you’re actually sitting with them in the bath.
Once you’ve had your bath, remember to gently dry your baby off with a towel, being as careful as possible not to scrub at the sensitive skin. A hooded towel that can help your baby’s damp body to dry off naturally will be a good option here. Hooded towels also help your baby to avoid any discomfort that might happen when their wet heads are exposed to cool air.
If you’re giving a bath before bed, this can be an excellent time to massage your baby, helping them to relax and sleep. Remember, maintain a consistently soft tone and talk to your child as much as you can while you bathe them, as this will help them to bond with you.