I remember it like it was yesterday. In the hospital after my first was born, they offered a session for newborn care, including how to give baby a bath. I opted to sleep instead. I had babysat and nannied for years – what was there to learn? We came home and I planned to give her first bath in the kitchen sink, like my Grandmother had bathed her 8 children and 17 grandchildren. My husband thought I was crazy. We compromised by filling her baby tub in the kitchen… only the plug was loose and water flooded the entire kitchen! Nearly 5 years and 3 kids later, I’ve wised up. Here are my best tips, tricks and product recommendations for how to give baby a bath, including a giveaway of my favorite baby bath products!
How to Give Baby a Bath
Despite having babysat and nannied for years, I had never actually bathed a baby myself before having a child of my own. They are small, floppy, and when wet, super slippery. They may also be screaming bloody murder the entire time because the water is too hot, too cold, wet, or because it is an entirely new experience for them.
Babies are also like dogs. They sense fear. If you smile, show confidence, and act like you know how to give baby a bath, they will smile too! With these few products (P.S. you can do it in the regular tub!) and tips, you will be a pro from the start.
With my first, we bought a baby tub with an insert to prop her up, and all sorts of bath accessories, including a giant body sponge. After we flooded the kitchen, I used the baby tub in the tub… it was a pain to clean, the insert part got moldy and the frame rusted, and ultimately, I tossed it all and just used the giant baby body sponge. I found the one pictured at Babies ‘R Us, or you can get one on Amazon for less than $6.
Before you disrobe the baby, have all your supplies in place for the bath, including everything you need when you are done: towel, diaper, diaper ointment, lotion, and pajamas.
Bathing Your Baby
Since I wised up, I bathe all my babies from birth in the regular tub. Lay the sponge in the bath tub, and fill the tub 1-2″ deep, enough to fully wet sponge. Some babies may actually be soothed by the sound of the water running – although it is loud, it’s what it sounded like inside of you! If they are, just open the drain so the water doesn’t get too deep.
Lay your baby on their back on the sponge. It will keep them from slipping and sliding around in the bath tub. Pour warm water over them so they aren’t cold. You can also lay a warm, wet wash cloth over their body to keep them warm.
Wet your babies hair. Then, just with warm water or Beautycounter Baby Gentle All-Over Wash on a soft bristle baby brush, gently massage their head with the brush. Babies lose all their early skin – the bristles of the brush help loosen it from the scalp, where it can combine with natural body oils and cake on forming cradle cap.
To wash the back of their head, sit baby upright with bottom on sponge to prevent them from sliding, and place one hand behind their head, supporting their head and shoulders. Use the other hand to wash, and then rinse with a cup of warm water. To wash their bodies, using just warm water or All-Over Wash on a washcloth, gently massage their body and extremities. Rinse clean, and remove to ready towel.
Babies’ skin absorbs and loses moisture at a much faster rate than adults. It is very important to moisturize daily, particularly after baths, which can be drying to baby skin. After toweling dry, apply Dr. Smith’s Diaper Ointment to provide a layer of protection on baby’s bottom overnight before diapering. (Side note – Dr. Smith was actually my childhood pediatrician! This was his same diaper ointment formula he used to only offer to his patients, that is now available in stores nationwide.)
Next, gently massage baby with Beautycounter’s Baby Soothing Oil, a mix of organic coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oils, a dry oil, with a never greasy feel. If your baby has any cradle cap, gently massage some oil on their scalp to help loosen it. If there are any patches of irritation or dryness anywhere, gently apply Beautycounter’s Baby Daily Protective Balm. It can also be an effective diaper ointment, and works great on chapped teething cheeks.
Choosing Safer Baby Bath Products
Babies have very sensitive skin, and can easily absorb chemicals through it. Their young immune systems are also much more vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals. You can even skip soap entirely and just bathe them with warm water. When you do introduce soap and lotions, you want to make sure they have as few ingredients as necessary, and are free of harmful toxins and chemicals. Just because it is for sale and for babies, does not mean it is safe. I love the Baby Collection from Beautycounter for just that reason.
You can learn more about Beautycounter and enter a giveaway to win safe skincare products for you here! If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy How I Survived 2 Under Two and Baby’s One-Month Schedule. You can find all of these and my favorites from around the web on my What to Expect and Babies boards on Pinterest!
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