January is National Bath Safety Month! In honor of this month-long celebration of bath safety and awareness, here are a few steps to make your baby’s bath safer and more enjoyable. It’s normal for babies to be fussy during bath time for the first few months. But taking the right steps can help them adjust to bathtime quicker and easier.
Your baby’s umbilical cord should be completely healed and fallen off before proceeding with a tub bath. Otherwise, submerging the baby’s body in water may cause infections.
As you prepare for baby’s first bath, make the room nice and warm. Keeping the room warm helps regulate the baby’s core body temperature when going in and out of the water. Next, cover the floor of the bathtub with a towel. It is easier for a baby to adjust to laying on a soft towel than a plastic tub.
When everything is set up, fill the bathtub with about two or three inches of warm water. The water temperature should be between 90 to 100 F. Once there’s enough water in the tub to cover the baby’s body, place your hand and wrist into the tub to check the water temperature.
If the water is just right, support the baby’s neck and body as you lower the baby into the tub.
Start bathing your baby by using a cotton ball and gently wipe the baby’s eye from the inner corner out. Discard the cotton ball afterward and use a fresh one to wipe the other eye. Use fresh cotton balls each time you clean your baby’s eyes to prevent discharge from spreading to the other eye.
After, use a washcloth to clean your baby’s face and neck. Wet the washcloth and begin by gently wiping the baby’s cheeks and forehead. Then, clean the creases of the baby’s neck. As you clean the baby’s neck, be sure to get into all the creases to clean up milk dribbles that may collect there.
Once the face and neck are clean, continue wiping the baby’s arms, legs, fingers, and toes.
Lastly, it’s time to clean the baby’s head and bottom. Use the washcloth to wipe the baby’s bottom. Then, set the dirty washcloth aside.
You may choose to wash the baby’s hair with mild, tear-free soap or rinse with warm water. Squeeze a quarter size bit of soap into your hand and massage it into the baby’s hair using small gentle circles. Then, soak a clean washcloth and gently squeeze the water onto the baby’s head. You can also use a small cup instead of a washcloth.
When the suds are all gone, lift your baby up out of the water and into a towel. Hooded bath towels help keep the baby’s head warm as you dry them.
Since babies have sensitive skin, over-washing may dry their skin. In the first few months, limit baths to only a few times a month. You can keep your baby clean in between baths by wiping them with wet washcloths. As they adjust to bathtime, it becomes fun for the whole family. In the meantime, celebrate National Bath Safety Month and make baths as enjoyable and safe as possible!