As you are probably aware, babies and children get dirty quite quickly and often. Needless to say, bathing is an important task in the job of being a parent. Like everything in parenting, it isn’t always easy, and you should take precautions to ensure your child is safe and has a pleasant bath every time. Make sure you know the following rules for how to bathe a baby:
Rule #1: All Eyes and Hands on Deck! Never ever leave a baby or your toddler unattended in the bath. Not even for a second. Your whole attention should be on them during the entirety of bath time.
Rule #2: Check for Open Wounds. Give your baby a sponge bath if the umbilical cord and circumcision are still healing. Fill the sink, a plastic tub, or large bowl with lukewarm water and lay your baby comfortably on a towel next to it. Then, use a damp washcloth to wipe down your baby, drying and rewrapping them with a towel as you go. Keep the parts that need to stay dry protected while you clean the head, neck, eyes, underarms, and creases.
Rule #3: The Goldilocks. Not too hot, not too cold — make sure the bathwater temperature is just right. Babies can get third-degree burns in a matter of 2 seconds. Water should be lukewarm when you run it, never too hot or cold. Don’t put your child in while the water is running because the temperature could suddenly change or the water could get too deep. Monitor the temperature in the bathroom as well so your little one doesn’t get freezing cold when you take them out of the tub.
Rule #4: Anytime Is a Good Time. Feel out your little ones for bathing times. Some like it early in the morning, although your child may need one at the end of the day. If it is too stimulating to them, you may not want to give them a bath right before bedtime. However, some babies find bath time relaxing. If this sounds like your baby, right before bedtime should do the trick!
Rule #5: Slippery When Wet. Babies and toddlers like to move around quite a bit, so make sure your tub isn’t too slippery when bathing. Try putting a rubber bath mat on the floor of the tub and a spout cover to protect their heads. Make sure any sliding glass doors are secure and made from safety glass. As your child gets older, you can use a floating bath ring, but don’t leave them alone with it; it’s just there to give you an extra hand.
Rule #6: Approved Products Only. Use safe, non-irritating soap and always rinse your child thoroughly. Some soaps, shampoos, and lotions can cause dry skin or a rash; try something mild that’s made specifically for infants. Toddlers can do bubble baths, but again, make sure it is good formula made for children. Discontinue use of a product if you notice signs of irritation, such as dryness or redness.
Rule #7: Keep All Electrical Appliances Away. Remove hairdryers, curling irons, radios, etc. from the tub and sink area. None of these should be out or within reach when children are present, bath time or not.
Rule #8: Rubber Ducky You’re the One. Whether it’s Scuba Steve or The Little Mermaid who accompanies your child to their bath, make sure the toys are age appropriate. Incorporate fun activities that make your child look forward to getting clean, teaching them to have good hygiene in the future.
Rule #9: Every Nook and Cranny. When bathing your child, pay extra attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck, and in the diaper area, as well as between fingers and toes. Use a wet washcloth to wipe and clean these areas well.
Rule #10: Bundle of Joy. Have a soft blanket, a towel, and a changing pad ready to bundle up your baby when they’ve had enough bath time. Have clean diapers, lotions, powder, and a change of clothes ready to use as well. Use cotton balls or a clean cotton cloth to wipe your baby’s eyes after a bath.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult your healthcare provider directly for medical advice, diagnoses, and treatments. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health or the health of your baby, consult your physician.