How To Bathe a Baby
Many parents consider bathing an obligatory but simple procedure. However, this ritual has a much more significant value for a baby and has its peculiarities depending on the age of a child. So what should parents know about bathing?
On the Ritual of Bathing
First of all, it is to be emphasized that washing and bathing are different procedures. What is the difference? Washing a baby means a quick hygienic procedure with the use of water, baby wipes, and delicate baby soap while bathing a baby is a real art. It’s a long procedure extremely useful for a kid and bringing joy to both a child and his/her parents.
A newborn child doesn’t need bathing during the first two weeks of life. You can only use special baby wipes. Long bathing in (unboiled) tap water is inadmissible until the umbilical wound closes.
With the umbilical wound out of your way, you can safely bathe a baby. This will help provide physical and emotional development as well as train a kid and stimulate its appetite.
To make the ritual of bathing joyful for both a baby and parents it is important to prepare for it thoroughly. Parents should buy:
- A comfortable and high-quality bathtub (it should be cleaned with soda, rinsed with running water and then with boiled water for disinfection)
- Specialized baby shampoo and soap (soap can be used several times a week, and a shampoo—just once a week)
- A special washcloth (you may also use a soft clean fabric, a piece of cotton or wash a baby with your hands)
- Herbal infusions (such herbs as chamomile, mint, lavender or lemon balm and sage have an antiallergenic, antiseptic, and sedative effect).
It is also important to prepare:
- A water thermometer (to measure the comfort temperature, which is 33–34°С),
- A scoop of 1,5–2 l (to wash your kid),
- Baby linen or a towel (to wipe your kid dry right after bathing),
- Baby’s clothes.
As practice shows, it is easier for parents to bathe a baby together. So the procedure is as follows:
- Take off baby’s clothes and put it carefully into a bathtub filled with pure water (don’t forget to add herbal infusions beforehand)
- Support your baby’s back and head with one hand and soap its body parts one by one with the other one
- Wash your kid with pure water using a scoop from the back and from the tummy
- Take the baby out of the water and wrap it up in a towel
- Carefully and thoroughly wipe your baby’s skin dry
After that, you can rub a special body lotion for babies into all delicate skin areas and folds. Then put warm and soft clothes on your kid.
If you have noticed any problem skin areas, you need to take care of them:
- Moisturise dry skin areas with a special cream or warmed oil (consult your pediatrician beforehand)
- Use baby powder or something of the kind in case of diaper rash (you will need a doctor’s consultation).
Bathing helps babies to waste energy and sleep well after that to gain strength. The given procedure gives an opportunity to normalize metabolic processes in a kid’s body and stimulate the proper functioning of all muscles and organs.
- Start habituating your baby to bathing as soon as you are dismissed from maternity hospital; it is better to bathe a kid at the same time each day (before feeding)
- Start with a 2–3-minute bathing, then gradually increase the time up to a quarter of an hour (until the water gets cold)
- It should be borne in mind that everyday bathing is not only a hygienic procedure; it helps train a baby’s body and calm its excitatory system
- You can start bathing a kid in a big bathtub only when you are sure your baby can sit well (you can cover the bottom of the bathtub with a non-slip mat and pour some water so that a kid is waist-deep in it)
- You should make sure there are no draughts in a bathroom (or a place where you bathe your child) and the air temperature is approximately 22–24°С
- It is also important to use only pure water to bathe a child (fix a water filter on your tap if you need)
- For the baby to swim comfortably in the bathtub you can put on special small rubber rings or a cap with a foam plastic panel
- You can make bathing a real fun by playing merry music and placing cute toys on the edge of a bathtub for your kid.