A new born baby is ready for his first bath as soon as his umbilical stump heals and falls off. Till then regular sponge baths should just suffice. In case the baby is averse to the water or is running a temperature you can continue with the sponge baths till the baby is more accustomed to his environment.
Make sure you use only luke warm water to bathe the baby and that the baby is held firmly to prevent any reflexive fear of falling.
Select an Area
Earmark an area to give the baby a bath. There should be some privacy without any intrusions that may alarm or distract the baby. If you are using a portable baby bath tub then this can be easily placed in a kitchen sink, bathroom sink or the big bath tub. The big bath tub for adults may pose some difficulty in manoeuvring. Ensure that there is enough room for the bath tub as well as the other bathing paraphernalia. Make sure that you, as the caregiver are comfortably seated or positioned. The first couple of times that you give the baby a bath, do not use a soap. Some babies are known to react to soap so it is better to wait and watch.
You Will Need The Following
Before you bathe the baby have the following items ready – the baby bath tub, the basin or sink, well scrubbed and clean, baby soap, baby shampoo, towel, flannels, cotton wool for cleaning the eyes, clean nappy, diaper rash cream and baby clothes.
Bathing The Baby
Run the water into the bath so that the baby’s body is just sufficiently immersed into the tub. Make sure you test the water before bathing baby. The water should never be too hot. Never run the water while bathing baby as the temperature might suddenly change from warm to hot and may scald the baby. Do not add bubble soaps and aroma oils to the bath as they dry up baby’s delicate skin.
Undress the baby. Slip the baby into the tub using warm, reassuring tones and words. Hold firmly to prevent startling. Support the baby’s head and neck with one hand unless the bath tub has built in support. Use your arms for support if the baby feels more secure with your grasp. The baby should be held in a semi-reclining position.
With the free hand, wash the baby thoroughly with water. Then with soap and flannel gently scrub and rinse working from the cleanest to the dirtiest areas. Dip sterile cotton wool in warm water and gently clean the corner of the baby’s eyes. Then wash face, ears and neck. Use a mild baby shampoo to wash your baby’s hair. Make sure that no shampoo or water should go on his face and eyes. Now turn him over and rinse his back and buttocks. Rinse the baby once with a fresh flannel. Wrap the baby in a towel, pat dry and dress him.
Until the baby’s neck gains more control over his head, you will have to continuously support him, while you use your free hand. The nappy area requires the most concentrated cleaning effort and should be saved for the last. This prevents the germs from reaching other body parts.
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