Where should I bath my baby?
Using a standard bath will require you to lean awkwardly over your baby. It can be easier in the early days to use a basin or small baby bath.
Put the cold water in first, then the hot. Test the temperature with your elbow – it should feel comfortably warm. Don’t fill the bath too high – about 15cm will be about enough. Lower your baby into the water on her back, supporting her head and shoulders on your hand and forearm.
Use your free hand to wet her body and rub over the skin gently with a clean cloth. If she only has a little hair just rinse her head during the bath, pouring some water over it with a jug or your own hand.
Use plain water for newborn babies. If you like you can start using unperfumed toiletries made for babies from about four to six weeks – but use them sparingly so you don’t damage your baby’s developing skin.
Try a deeper bath sometimes as your baby will enjoy moving her arms and legs in the water.
Babies with longer hair may need a little drop of mild shampoo on wet hair, lathered and rinsed off. Either support your baby’s head and shoulders with one hand as she lies in the bath and pour the water over with your other hand, or wrap her in a towel and hold her over the bath with one hand while you use the other hand to wash.
Dry your baby in a large, soft towel, put on her nappy and dress her.
‘Top and tail’ your baby
This is a quick alternative to a bath for a young baby, once or twice a day.
What you need:
- cotton wool or two soft clean cloths
- a bowl of warm water
- a fresh nappy and clean clothes if necessary
- a bin or bucket for waste.
What to do:
- First wash your own hands, then undress your baby on her back and leave her nappy on – a very new baby may be more comfortable if wrapped in a towel to stay warm
- While she is warmly wrapped up, wipe her face, neck and ears with cotton wool or a soft cloth dipped in warm water; dry with cotton wool, the other cloth or a soft towel
- Wipe her underarms, then dry them
- Take off your baby’s nappy and, for a very new baby, wash any discharge that may have come from the stump of the umbilical cord
- Wash your baby’s genitals and bottom well (for girls, wipe with a clean wet cloth from front to back and never try to pull back a boy's foreskin)
- Then pat dry and use a protective cream if you think that your baby’s skin looks red and sore
- Put on a fresh nappy and dress your baby.