How To Bath a Baby

Bathing your little one is one of the most enjoyable aspects of caring for a newborn baby. It is important from a hygiene point of view but it also helps to strengthen the bond between the two of you.

This is something that you will have been shown how to do when you were in hospital but now you have to do this for yourself. This can be a scary prospect but it needn't be. Once you have learnt the best way of doing this you will find that it is easier than you imagined.

New babies vary in their feelings about being bathed. Some babies take to it very quickly but others may take a little longer. Your little one is an individual so don't expect him or her to enjoy it at the same time as your friend's baby did.

There is no set age for giving a baby a bath. It is very much a case of whenever you are ready to do so. Your baby doesn't need to be bathed every day – around 2 to 3 times a week will do - although you can bath them every day if they love it!

Preparation for bathing a baby

It is a good idea to get everything ready before you wash your baby. Fill a bowl with warm water, have a couple of towels and cotton wool close to hand and leave a clean nappy and clothes within reach.

Topping and tailing

You have probably heard this expression before but if you haven't then this is what it means. It refers to a way of bathing your baby in which you wash their hands and face (topping) and their genitals and bottom (tailing).

Lay your baby on a changing mat and undress them apart from their nappy. Use a cotton wool ball to wipe around their eyes, nose and ears, and do the same with the rest of their face, neck and hands. Dry your baby with a towel.

Then remove your baby's nappy and use a clean cotton wool ball to wipe around his/her bottom and genitals. Dry these areas, particularly the skin folds and apply a moisturising lotion if he/she has dry skin. Then dress him/her in a clean nappy.

Don't forget to talk to your baby while you are doing this as this will remove any anxiety on their part.

Topping and tailing needs to be done every day.

Bathing your baby

This can be done 3 times a week or more depending on how your baby responds to it. If your little one gurgles and coos whilst you are bathing him/her then take that as a sign that they are enjoying the experience.

It makes it easier for you as well.

Do not bath your baby after they have been fed, are tired or when hungry. Ensure that the area is warm and dry and again, have everything to hand as with topping and tailing.

It is a good idea to keep a couple of towels to hand in case your little one has an accident (oops) whilst you are bathing him/her.

Fill a bowl or special baby bath with warm NOT hot water. How do you check this? Do what your mother and other women have done over the years and check the temperature with your elbow.

Start by placing your baby on your knee and wash his/her face. Then wash their hair using a special baby shampoo and dry this. Remove your baby's nappy and clean him/her if necessary before placing him/her in the bath. Support your baby carefully whilst you do so.

Keep their head clear of the water and wash their body but avoid splashing water into their face and eyes. Do not leave your baby unattended at any time during bathing.

Lift your baby out of the bath and wrap them in a nice, soft towel. Pat them dry and then apply baby cream or oil which helps to keep their little folds of skin clean and free from infection. Plus you may find that your little one loves you massaging him/her with this oil.

Give your baby a big hug!