By Dr Rita Bakshi
New mothers are often in a fix about how to go about the baby’s bath. There is no doubt that your baby’s first bath can be a real breakthrough moment. Mothers always wonder about the ideal time for the baby’s bath, what is best for the baby’s skin, what must be the temperature of the water, how to hold the baby and a lot more.
How often should a baby be bathed?
A newborn baby should be given a bath just two or three times a week. But it is essential that the genitals of the baby are cleansed thoroughly from time to time. The skin of the newborn baby is very soft and sensitive, which is why going for a regular bath is really not required as it may extract essential nourishment. In many cases, the newborn’s skin is not properly developed and still peeling. Thus, it is always advised to stick to a bath on alternate days.
However, for grown babies, they must take a bath every day and this must be an innate part of their routines. Bathing helps the baby get proper sleep and even ensures that they feel fresh and clean.
Where should a baby be bathed?
It is not essential to bathe your baby only in the washroom. You can get a tub with water in your room and get going. Just make sure that the surroundings are clean, safe and the water is neither too hot nor too cold.
Before the bath routine
Before you undress your baby always clean the face with a wet wipe and also clean the eyelids with cotton. Remove the diaper at the end at it gives the baby a feeling of security.
How to hold the baby while bathing
Always support your baby’s head with one arm and support his head and neck with the other. Providing support to the back is very essential as it ensures proper body structure and framework of the baby.
- Step by step
- Collect all that you need for your baby’s bath. A towel, mild soap and shampoo are few essentials. Many mothers also use natural ingredients like curd, aloe vera and besan. Make sure you also prep up the materials of post-bath like moisturizer, oil, diaper and clothes.
- Fill up the tub with about 2-3 inches that is room temperature or is a bit warmer. Always test the temperature of the water before you make the baby sit inside the tub.
- Steadily slip your baby into the tub with his or her feet first. Then support his or her neck and head and then slowly ensure that your baby is fully comfortable in the tub.
- Always use mild soap or bath wash that is made out of natural ingredients. Do not use too much of the chemical based products and look out for natural fixes instead. Clean the baby nicely, wipe him or her from front to back and take out from the tub while supporting her neck and head.
- While you take the baby out from the tub, always do it with utmost precaution as the baby is slippery. Wrap a towel and pat dry too.
- Apply some sheer coconut oil, almond oil or moisturiser on the skin. Massage the oil on the skin and put some powder on the genitals to ensure that they are dry and avert infections.
- Now, dress up your baby and doze him or her off to sleep.
Never leave the baby unsupervised while the baby is in the tub. Always be around and check that nothing happens to the baby. Babies tend to splash water. If left unattended, they can splash water into their own nose, eyes and ears. These can lead to really problematic situations.
(The writer is Senior Gynaecologist and IVF Expert, International Fertility Centre.)