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Baby Bath Time!

Bathing your Newborn

It's baby bath time! Washing your helpless newborn may seem daunting at first, but it needs to be done. There's the obvious nappy area to keep clean, but milk can also get into some surprising places. Neck creases and behind your baby's ears can get sore if not kept clean and dry.

Newborn skin is very delicate, vulnerable and sensitive. It’s about five times more absorbent than ours. As a result, it’s very easy for chemicals to get into the body via their skin. For the first four weeks you should only wash your baby with plain warm water and cotton wool. It's best to opt for the bigger cotton wool pads. A sponge bath might be most practical at first, as you will want to keep the cord stump dry until it shrivels up and falls off.

From birth, your baby will pick up microbial bacteria. It sounds alarming, but is nothing to worry about. It supports the building of the immune system, so it's important to encourage that process. By 4 weeks your baby's natural skin barrier will have developed and it’s okay to introduce products if you would like to. But do ensure anything you use is free from perfumes, parabens, sulphates and artificial colours. 'Natural' products can still have  misleading packaging claims so check the ingredients list for those listed above.

Bath time Tips

  • Make sure the room you're in is nice and warm
  • Have everything you need to hand: change mat, clean nappy, fresh clothes, hooded towel. soft flannel etc
  • Add three to four inches of water to the baby bath and ensure it's neither too cold nor too hot. Swish the water around first to mix and ensure there are no hot spots which could scald your baby. About 37 degrees is body temperature and should be just right. You can test with your elbow but a thermometer is best to make sure
  • Get Dad involved! It helps to have someone else there, especially the first time, and it's a lovely bonding experience for them going on. Baby bath time can be a good chance for you to take 10 minutes to yourself!
  • Support baby's head and shoulders with one arm, with the other under their bottom, and slowly lower them in so they have time to get used to the feeling
  • You can use the hand that was under baby's bottom to swish the water gently about
  • Never leave a baby of any age unattended in the bath - even for a second
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