How to give a bath for your new born

The Art of Giving a Newborn Bath

by Tia Slightham
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We all anticipate the day that our baby will be born.  We are filled with mixed emotions.  We are excited, nervous, worried, fearful, thrilled, scared, and full of lots of wonder.  We wonder if we will be good parents.  We wonder if we are capable.  We wonder if we will know what to do in certain situations.  One of these wondering situations that seems to worry many parents is bathing their newborn.  Getting used to handling this tiny, little human is tricky enough, but now to bath them…this is a whole new entity.  Learning how to undress them and handle their slippery, wet bodies all the while trying to keep them calm and happy can feel overwhelming for many new parents.   I am here to tell you that with a few small tricks you will be a pro at giving your newborn a bath in no time!  There’s a so called ‘art’ to this process and with this step-by-step guide you will be a master.

I have two boys of my own who are now six years and four years.  My eldest, Hudson,  was my guinea pig and by the time I had Beckett I had become a ‘pro!’  Now it seems, in a blink of an eye, I’m hardly giving baths anymore.  They either shower on their own or Hudson will bathe Beckett.  I miss those quiet newborn baths where you spend time together bonding during moments you will never get back.  If you are feeling stressed or pressure about bath time, please know you are not alone.  This is not a science but more of an art and one many parents struggle with in the beginning, but over time become comfortable with.  The tips I am giving you today will teach you to become comfortable bathing your newborn so you can cherish and enjoy this special time.  In a blink of your eye you will find that they are growing up and those special bath time moments are few and far in between.   Take each bath time as a moment to grow closer to your child.

To begin the bath time process it is key to find a time where your newborn is not over-tired or hungry.  If they are too tired or hungry you will have a hard time calming them down and bath time will become more of a stresser than a relaxer.  It’s helpful to chart your babies feeding and sleep schedules in the beginning so you can try to pinpoint the optimal time for bathing.  Around 2 weeks of age, begin bathing your baby each night to help create a sleep cue for their nighttime sleep.  Therefore, it’s best to bathe your baby in the evening before bed.  Try to feed your baby ahead of bath so they are relaxed and comfortable.  Have everything ready before you undress him/her so that they are not cold and stressed.  Lay out their diaper, pajamas, and swaddle blanket.  Always be one step ahead.  Being one step ahead will be a parenting tactic that will help you for years to come.  Fill your infant bath with water that is quite warm.  Not too hot to burn, but use your best judgment to fill the bath with water warm enough to relax your infant.  Ask yourself… do you like hopping into a luke warm tub?  Do you feel relaxed in a tub that’s not hot enough and you’re covered in goosebumps?  They are human, just like us, only smaller.  Chances are if you don’t like something, neither will they.  Use this as a general rule of thumb regarding all things parenting.  Once the bath is full and ready, be sure you have two washcloths on hand, the soap, and anything else you need.  Dim the lights so the light isn’t shining into their eyes.  Create a soothing environment where you and your baby will be cozy.  If you are alone, have the towel on hand.  If you have someone with you during bath time, it is helpful to put the towel in the dryer so that it’s nice and warm once you are ready to get them out.  If you can’t do this as you are alone, don’t worry.  Just keep the towel on hand and follow the rest of the steps and all will be fine!  Please note to NEVER leave your baby unattended while in the bath!!

Once your baby is ready to get in the bath, undress them and remain calm.  Your baby feeds off of your stress.  If you are relaxed it helps your baby relax.  As nervous as you may be, remember that you are capable and this is going to become one of your favourite times to spend with your baby.  Use this time to connect with your baby.  Give your full attention and try to chat and sing to your little one.  This will not only increase your bond, but will also be an educational language opportunity for your baby.  They will be enthralled with your attention!  Place your baby in the infant bathtub slowly to be sure that your baby feels comfortable with the water temperature.  Once they are in the bath you can place one of the washcloths soaked in water on top of their tummy.  This makes them feel secure, which is how they love to feel.  Just like how they felt in the womb and in a swaddle!  Throughout bath time keep re-wetting the cloth to keep them warm.  If you find your baby is slipping around in the bath you can place a swaddle blanket under them to keep them secure and more still.  During the bathing process use the second cloth to wash their hair and body.  The warm cloth being rubbed will act like a massage and again help them to relax.  I have had my little guys fall asleep during their bath because it was just so darn relaxing and cozy.  Priceless moments of parenting!  Once they are ready to get out, wrap them up on the towel you have laid out and ready or send your partner to get the towel from the dryer.  Wrap them up and continue with getting them diapered, dressed, and swaddled.  Give them a top up feed and story.  Sing a goodnight lullaby and off to sleep they go!  Sweet dreams to follow their sweet bath!  Hopefully with these bath time tips you and your newborn will look forward to your special time together!  For more information on infants and parenting please visit my site at www.tiaslightham.com

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