Every baby arrives smelling brand new and wonderful, but let's face it – keeping baby clean takes work. Here are some "Baby Basics” that might help.
Bath time can be a special bonding time for the two of you, but many new moms are too tentative with their wriggly, wet little creature to actually relax and enjoy it. But if you follow these simple tips, you'll be able to relish the moments you have with your "water baby."
As long as their faces and their bottoms are kept clean, most babies don't need a full bath more than once or twice a week. Just use a warm, wet washcloth to keep skin creases clean as necessary. Also remember — until the belly button is completely healed, you should stick with sponge baths to keep that area dry.
When you are going to bathe your newborn, it's important to have everything you need on hand, right by the sink or tub. Once the baby is in the water, you won't be able to walk away to retrieve a forgotten washcloth or bar of soap.
Scrub a dub dub — get these essentials in the tub:
For easiest cleaning, a tiny baby can be washed in the bathroom sink. As she gets bigger, a baby tub like the First Years Sure Comfort Tub by Learning Curve can be placed in your own tub to make bathing more manageable.
Make sure the bath water is warm, not hot, as babies are easily scalded. Some tubs, such as 4 Moms The Clean Water Infant Tub, come with built-in thermometers, or you can buy a floating bath tub thermometer such as Safety First's Floating Bath Pal. Bath water should be approximately 90 degrees, or warm and comfortable to your touch.
Use cotton balls to gently clean the baby's eyes before the bath. Put your baby into the water slowly, and use a cup to pour water over him so he doesn't get cold. Use soap sparingly, and gently clean the baby front to back, top to bottom. Rinse using the sponge or by wringing clean water from the washcloth over soapy areas.
Wash baby's head once or twice a week using baby soap or shampoo. Rub gently, then rinse using a clean washcloth. Then wrap baby in a towel and pat her dry.
Of course, the genital area should be cleaned with each diapering. To properly diaper the baby — and keep this area clean — follow these simple steps:
Special side-note for mothers of boys — you may want to place a diaper or clean, dry washcloth over your son's penis before you begin the diapering process, or you may learn how appropriate the nickname of "little squirt" can be.
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