Baby bath time can be a stressful experience for you and your baby, especially the first few times. But there are several things you can do to make it a more enjoyable and safe activity that you will both grow to quickly love!
1) Getting the frequency right!
Newborns and young babies don't need to be bathed every day. It feels natural to want to do this but at least to begin with just bathing a couple of times a week, combined with hand cleaning their head, stomach and bottom on other days is safe and good practice.
Too frequently to begin with and you could dry out your babies soft skin.
Once you feel your baby is comfortable with bathing you can begin to increase the frequency. Creating a regular routine is important (e.g. the same time in the day) as is having a regular and visually stimulating environment they will grow to recognise and enjoy.
A bath before bed is the ideal time as your baby goes to sleep clean and fresh and it allows you to establish the routine quickly they will get used to. The warm water will also help your baby feel drowsy and help them go to sleep.
2) Choosing the right baby bath
It is personal choice when deciding how you first want to begin bathing your baby. There is no right or wrong here. It is what ever you are most comfortable with. As long as the whole process is fully supervised.
There are some excellent baby bath cradles on the market and these are extremely popular, but equally for very young babies some parents prefer to use a basin to begin with.
3) Getting the water right
Newborn babies are particularly sensitive and can't properly regulate their body temperature. They also have much more sensitive skin and this puts them at high risk of burning. Exposure to being too cold or hot is extremely serious so it is vital you are always regularly checking their water.
The optimal temperature for a babies bath is between 36.5 and 38'c. When filling your bath start with cold water and slowly add warm, until it reaches the right temperature. Always stir the water with your hand to avoid hot / cold spots.
Many parents stress over getting the temperature right. The good-old elbow test is common practice but thankfully the team at Aycorn have developed the perfect solution for you to make sure you get the temperature right every time!
The Aycorn Digital Bath and Room Thermometer quickly tests the temperature of your water and tells you if it's either too hot or too cold. It's easy to read LCD display displays the temperature and it has a red LED warning light which flashes when it's too hot.
Important - never leave your baby unattended. Drowning can occur quickly even in shallow water. Children <12 months are particularly vulnerable. You only need a few inches of water to safely bathe your young baby.
4) Preparing your baby for bath time
Firstly you'll want to get everything close to hand. That means things like the bath mat for the floor, your thermometer, a warm soft towel, your baby wash / shampoo, fresh clothes & nappy and some cotton wool / buds (for young babies).
For young babies the first step before bathing them is to gently clean their face, ears and around the neck. Use cotton wool soaked in cool boiled water and make sure you clean all the little creases under their chin and around the neck.
Next it's time for the bath. Once you have checked the temperature is right you want to gently lower your baby into the water. Hold them firmly around the upper back with your hands wrapped around under their opposite arms so they rest on your forearms as you lower them down..
5) Washing your baby
Baby skin is super sensitive so you want to use a pH neutral body wash at all times. Regular body wash you might use as an adult is not suitable as it contains chemicals which might upset their skin. For hair use a reputable 'no tears' formula which won't sting their eyes or upset their scalp. Some people like to add a drop of almond oil to the bath water too, this is known as a good way to keep young skin soft.
Washing your babies hair is best left until last. Not only will it stop your baby from sitting in too much sudsy water at the end but wet hair will make your baby feel colder.
Always hold young babies with one hand and clean them with your free hand to prevent them unbalancing over.
6) Play time
Making bath-time enjoyable is crucial to the long term bathing routine. Having a range of small toys, playing some gentle soothing music and generally encouraging a relaxing and fun environment will set you up for your young child's years to come.
Bath time does not need to be long. Just a few minutes is enough for you to clean them and for them to also begin to enjoy the experience.
7) Post bath
As soon as you remove your baby from the bath quickly wrap them in a soft towel, or better still a baby bath robe. We recommend bamboo cotton bath robes as they are gentle and super absorbent (up to 60% more than regular cotton towels!). Our favourite is the Liname Premium Bamboo Hooded Towel - we love this design. It's available on Amazon.co.uk.
Once your baby has dried out apply your normal baby-lotion and prepare them for bed time.
8) What if my baby cries?
This is really normal and nothing for you to worry about. The first few times the experience is all new and it's a natural reaction. Just clean them by hand the next time and slowly begin to introduce the bath again on a more regular basis.
We hope you found this useful and if you'd like more information on the Aycorn range of baby safety products we mentioned you can visit our product page here.