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Gearing up for those first baths

It's something you might not think about until you're forced to: How do you give a brand new baby a bath? But as long as you've got the right tools and the right touch, it should be fun for everybody.
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Tips:

  • Have everything ready before you start the bathing process.
  • Make sure the room is warm — if necessary, use a space heater to help warm it up.
  • In a small bowl, mix a little baby soap with warm water. Use this solution for washing so you won't have to worry about getting too much soap on an already slippery baby.
  • Want to remember these early days? Get someone else to take a picture or two of your little one in the bath.

Step by step:

  1. Choose a clean place to bathe your baby. Often a sink (especially the kitchen sink, since it's higher it won't strain your back as much), or use a baby bath. I recommend a bath sponge insert or putting a hand towel on the bottom of the sink or tub. Little wet babies are very slippery, so it's important to have a non-skid cushion between them and the slippery surface.
  2. Make sure that the room is warm and draft-free and have everything — from soap to towel — ready.
  3. Relax. Don't plan on answering the phone or the door or using the facilities.
  4. Fill the bath a few inches deep with warm (baby temperature) water. Most babies don't like the water running while they are in the bath. Also, make sure to move the spigot (if you can) out of the way.
  5. Slowly get the baby undressed. Talk to your baby in a soothing voice and tell her what's going to be happening while you're removing her clothing.
  6. While cradling the baby in your arms, speak reassuringly and look her in the eyes as you slowly lower her into the bath. Use your elbow to support her head as she gets used to the water.
  7. Start washing her face. Use a very small amount of soap. (We cut a soft towel into little strips for washing the baby's face.) They really don't like having their whole face covered, so just wash one small area at a time.
  8. Next, wash the top of the head and work your way down...and don't forget behind the ears, her neck and under the arms — all places where stuff can accumulate.
  9. Wash your baby's arms and legs. It's amazing the lint that collects in their little fingers and toes, so make sure to rinse those areas well.
  10. Clean around the belly button, and finally, the diaper zone. Remember to rinse this area thoroughly.
  11. Once you've washed the front of baby, it's time to clean the back. Cup your hand around the baby's neck and hold your little one up so that with the other hand, you can clean her back and rear.
  12. Almost done! Lean your baby back and firmly (they are slippery) put a hand under each underarm, lean her slowly forward and pick her up out of the bath. Gently lay her down on the towel.
  13. Dry your baby. Some babies like hooded towels. They are cute and they keep their wet heads warm. (Make sure the hood doesn't descend into their eyes.) Hood or no hood, make sure that you keep your little one's head warm while you dry her.
  14. Your baby's clean! Time for a new diaper and a clean outfit.

Checklist:

So, what do you need to have? Here's a quick checklist:

  • A warm room
  • A sparkling clean baby bath (or sink) with soft insert (towel or sponge, also clean)
  • Running water
  • Baby soap
  • Washcloth and small face-washing cloth
  • Clean baby towel
  • Clean outfit
  • Two clean diapers (just in case)
  • A baby!

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 12reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by When my fiancé and I gave our son his first bath he cried for a moment. After he got in and settled in his tub he was fine. He loved every minute of the bath. When it came to getting him out he cried but that was because he was cold. We had everything set up before hand, so then we didn't have to run all around for it. He now gets a bath every couple days. August 12, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by As a young mother, i had no idea how i was going to handle giving a fragile little baby a bath! My fiancé seemed to be the stronger one of us! we took our "first bath pictures" rinsed her off real good and got her out fast. she didn't like it at first but now she loves it! we just have to let her know she is ok and help her feel comfortable with us there!! March 18, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Will try bathing my baby for the first time this weekend. Article provided a good summary. April 17, 2013
    Rated 0 out of 5 This was very useful my daughters first bath at home was a major success! I found out too my baby loves baths! March 23, 2013
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