HOW TO GIVE YOUR NEWBORN A BATH


How often should You Bathe a Newborn

Bathing a newborn can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether you are bathing your first baby for the first time or are in baby number two, you may still have newborn bathing questions, the most pressing one being, “How often should I bathe my baby? “Studies have shown that you don’t need to bath your baby every day; Three times a week might be enough until you baby becomes more mobile, but you should wash their neck, face, neck, hands and bottom carefully each day. Bathing your baby too much can dry out their skin. While it may feel odd to bathe your baby so infrequently, babies don’t need to bathe as often as adults. They don’t sweat or get dirty in the same way as older people, and their skin is more sensitive than that of adults.


What time is Best, In the morning or at night?

That’s entirely your choice. Chose a time that works best for you. Some parents opt for morning baths, when their babies are alert. Others prefer to make baby baths part of calming bedtime rituals. Don’t bath them immediately after a feed, consider waiting for your baby’s tummy to settle a bit first.


Bathing

Ensure that you have everything required before you bathe your baby.

This should include:

Basin

Towel

Cotton wool

Face flannel

Lukewarm water

Baby clothes

Clean diaper/nappy

Baby soap(mild)

Baby oil

Baby Powder

Chlorhexidine( Umbilical Cord Care Solution)

Make sure that the room is warm, with the windows and the doors are closed, there should be no or minimal interruptions.

  1. Undress your baby and wrap him in a towel. Leave the diaper on.

  2. Pour water in the basin and make sure it’s not too hot or cold by testing it using your inner arm.

  3. Clean the babies eyes 1st using a piece of cotton wool dipped in water. Use a separate piece for each eye and wipe from inside out, then clean the rest of the face using plain water.

  4. While still wrapped, safely hold your baby over the basin wet baby’s hair and then apply a little hair and body wash. Rinse off the soap and then pat dry the hair.

  5. While still covering the rest of the body, remove the diaper and clean the baby’s bottom using wipes/cotton wool and water. Wipe from front back.

  6. Put your baby in water, wet the face flannel in water then apply soap on it.

  7. Wash the baby’s body gently while paying attention to the folds on the neck, armpit and the groin, then thoroughly rinse your baby.

  8. Lift him from the basin safely and place him on the towel. Pat dry him paying special attention to the folds.

  9. Clean the cord with cotton and clean warm water, then apply chlorhexidine (Umbilical cord care solution). This should be done until the stump is completely healed.

  10. Apply baby oil all over the body. Use this time to massage your baby and make him or her more relaxed. Pour a drop or two on the cradle cap to loosen the dirt

  11. Apply a thin layer of baby powder on the folds, to keep them dry and avoid friction

  12. Apply baby jelly on baby’s bottom to protect the skin and to prevent nappy rush.

  13. Put on a clean nappy/diaper

  14. Dress the baby appropriately depending on the weather

Additional tips

  • Never leave your baby unattended in and around water.

  • The water level should not go above the baby chest level.

  • Make birth time fun by playing water games with your baby. Remember this is a time to bond with your baby.

  • Give your baby a bath at the same time of day to create a routine.

  • When the baby is still small, ensure that you support his back and head.

References

  • Gözen D, et al (2019). First bathing time of newborn infants after birth: a comparative analysis. DOI:

  • Mayo Clinic. 2021. A parent's guide to newborn baths. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20044438> [Accessed 9 April 2021].

  • Shelov SP, et al. Basic infant care. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.

  • Jana LA, et al. Baby bath basics. In: Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. 3rd ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2015.



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