Bathing a baby is always difficult for first-time parents! Today, we have collected several questions about how to bathe a baby.
I wonder how often and when to bathe the baby?
Newborns and young babies do not go out often yet, so the chances of them getting dirty are low. Bathing 3-4 times a week is sufficient. The bath time is about 5 minutes, so it doesn't have to be too long. Of course, if your child likes to take a bath and feels comfortable being in the water, it is okay to bathe them more often.
What should I pay attention to?
If you bathe immediately after feeding, your baby may vomit or have a bowel movement. After one hour of breastfeeding, take a bath when their digestion is complete. It is recommended to breastfeed immediately after bathing to quench your baby's thirst.
What preparations should I make before bathing the baby?
Prepare the necessary items for bathing in advance. When washing the baby, it is recommended to dry them off in the bedroom or living room, not the bathroom, to prevent slipping and to keep the room from getting too cold. Have a towel for wiping the baby's body available within easy reach.
Prepare the baby bath water in advance and prepare the rinsing water separately. Rinsing water will cool down while you’re giving your baby a bath, so it can be slightly warmer. If you run the water directly from the tap to wash your child, the water may suddenly become hot or cold, which can be irritating for your baby’s skin.
The bath water temperature must be tested so that it feels the right amount of warm when applied directly to the guardian's most sensitive skin (inner wrist, etc.) Babies don't like water that's too cold, but they also don't like water that's as hot as the hot water in a public bath for adults. If you want to be very precise, you can buy thermometers designed for baby baths to check that it’s the perfect temperature, as this is very important!
What order do I bathe the baby in?
First, clean the bathtub and the guardian's hands. After that, 1) wash your face and hair, and 2) wipe your body. Remove the baby's clothes but wipe their face and head first while keeping their diaper on.
If your baby still has the Moro reflex, it's a good idea to start with an under wrap. At this time, place your baby on their side in a supine position but support your baby's spine with your arms.
After washing in the order of eyes → face → head, wipe the area around their face with a handkerchief, and then prepare to wipe the body.
This order seems a bit unclear to me - when do you take off the diaper? Is the baby supine in or out of the bath? Do you start this washing before they get in the bath? I think some more detail is needed in these steps.
When brushing your baby’s body, start in the most stable position so that your baby does not become anxious. To support the back of the baby's neck, put your hand in their armpit, while supporting the chest of the baby with your hands. Gently put your baby in the bath water.
It's a time when they can't control their neck yet, so you need to be careful not to shake your baby's neck. It is okay to start in a lying position when cleaning the front of the baby and change to a prone position when cleaning the back of the baby.
Clean the baby’s folds of skin and their clenched fists, and, for the last step of bathing, pour on the rinse water to clean the child's whole body. Always use your hand to gently clean your child. After bathing, place the baby on a soft towel. Wipe them gently down as if you’re dabbing the water away.
Author: Kwon Hyang-hwa
- Newborn Childcare Coach
- IBCLC International Breastfeeding Specialist
- Worked as the director of a postpartum care center for 10 years.