Bath time, baby! How to bathe an infant safely and confidently

When it comes to routine baby care, few things scare new parents as much as bath time.

“Parents can get very nervous about an infant’s first baths,” said Dr. Daniel Rosenfield, Pediatric Emergency Physician at the Hospital for Sick Children. “Well, the first thing I’d say is don’t be afraid — you have this.”

dr Rosenfield offers new parents (and grandparents who may not have bathed a wriggling baby in a while) advice on how to make bath time safe and enjoyable.

When should parents bathe their newborn?

Some hospitals bathe the baby before sending him home with his family. However, many don’t because they like it when the cheesy smear — that’s the creamy, white biofilm that infants are born with — stays on your baby’s skin for up to 24 hours.

In any case, you don’t have to bathe your child as often as you bathe yourself. Two to three times a week for the first few days is sufficient.

What is the best method for bathing an infant?

Typically, one begins with sponge baths, especially until the umbilical stump has fallen off and the umbilical region has healed. Before bathing your baby, make sure the room is warm – newborns hate cold air on their bodies. Have a changing mat within reach, a small basin of lukewarm water, a damp washcloth, baby soap, baby shampoo, and an extra towel or small blanket.

Some parents like to use a small plastic tub; others like to use a sink. When buying a baby bath, try to get one with a hole in the bottom so you can easily drain the water after bath time. There are even baby baths that fit in a kitchen sink.

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Gently lower your baby into the water, making sure to support their head and neck with one hand. Use the soapless washcloth to wash your baby’s face. While washing one part of the body, try to keep the other parts nice and warm by covering them with a towel or blanket. Clean all folds of your baby’s body, e.g. B. under the armpits and behind the ears. Be sure to wash the diaper area last. Use mild soap and be sure to rinse the soap off really well.

You don’t need to shampoo your baby’s hair more than once or twice a week. To do this, cradle your baby with your arm in a soccer ball grip and your hand to support their head. Hold her head over the sink and use your hand to gently splash lukewarm water over her head. Don’t put your baby’s head directly under the tap. Lather up with a small amount of baby shampoo, rinse well and towel dry immediately.

A few things to avoid: Don’t use Q-Tips. Your baby’s ears clean themselves, as does their nose. If you have an uncircumcised boy, do not retract the foreskin; it is also self-cleaning.

When is your baby ready to move to a bigger room?

You will not place your baby in a proper tub until they are able to support themselves. So if they can’t sit up unaided, you can’t put them in a tub or they’ll fall over. And we know that a child can drown in two inches of water lying face down.

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What other safety tips should parents keep in mind?

The water temperature is great. Unfortunately, scalding from baths still happens. Health Canada recommends setting your water heater at 49°C (120°F) as a safe temperature. You can also install automatic mixing valves on faucets, showers and tubs, or an anti-scald mixing valve on your water heater.

Regardless, parents filling the tub should always check the temperature themselves before putting the child in.

Of course, if you have toys in the bath you want to make sure they don’t pose a choking hazard. If you have older children, they may have bath toys that are not suitable for babies. So you should make sure you clear the tub of toys for older children.

When your baby is older, how often should you bathe him?

Bath time tends to become more frequent as babies become more active and messier. For example, when learning to feed themselves, babies tend to become covered in food. Even so, two to three times a week is still very reasonable at this point.

Healthy Kids poses health questions to the experts at SickKids. Always consult your doctor with specific concerns. Torstar is in a fundraising and education partnership with the SickKids Foundation to raise $1.5 billion for new facilities.

If you have to leave the room to get a towel – don’t!

dr Rosenfield said he couldn’t stress enough the importance of having an adult present 100 percent of the time when a baby is in the bath. This includes never leaving your baby alone in the care of another child.

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“When the doorbell rings, you get the baby out, let him cry, grab what you need,” he said.

“Even if you just run into the next room to get a towel – don’t! Because that’s the story every time these horrific events happen: ‘I was only gone two seconds.’

You just have to imagine it: when the baby is in the bath, it either goes everywhere with you or you don’t move until it’s done.”



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