Congratulations! Your wait is nearly over (or it is over!) and soon you’ll have a little bundle of joy safely settled at home. New parenthood is full of lessons to be learned, and many questions to be answered. When it comes to newborns, we noticed that many new parents have questions about bathing their babies - how often should they do it, where, and of course, what about the umbilical cord? These questions are perfectly normal and all new parents have them.
We collected some of the most common questions new parents have about bathing their babies, and found some answers from the experts, so read on!
When Should You Bathe Your Baby?
There’s no right time of day to bathe your baby, just like there’s no right time of day or night to sleep during those first few weeks. It really depends on when you have an uninterrupted, relaxed span of time so you can take the care you need to bathe your baby carefully. One point to note, experts recommend against bathing too soon following a feeding, you don’t want the baby dirtying the bath water with spit up!
As for when to start, you can start bathing your baby in a tub after around two weeks; at this point the umbilical cord should have fallen off.
How Do You Bathe A Baby With An Umbilical Cord?
Before those first two weeks are up, you’re going to have an umbilical cord to contend with. This can be a little intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. At this point, you’ll want to stick to sponge baths and keep the umbilical cord as dry as possible. Current advice leans towards leaving the cord alone and giving it plenty of air time to allow it to dry and fall off naturally.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby?
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but the same doesn’t go for a bath. Newborns not only do just fine with three or so baths a week, they do better. Experts agree that too many baths can dry out a new baby’s skin, and cause more problems than they seek to prevent. Stay on top of minor messes like spit up and diaper changes and those three baths a week will be plenty.
What Kinds Of Soap Are Ok?
Your newborn can’t use your vanilla chai scented soap. In fact, doctors recommend against it! Just like too many baths, too many scents can cause problems for newborns. Use a small amount of mild, scent-free, hypoallergenic soap for the best bathtime results.
How Long Should Bathing Your Baby Take?
A nice long soak in the tub is often great for adults, but this is not the case for your baby. Newborns lose heat fast, so experts recommend limiting baths in your baby’s early days to no more than five to 10 minutes. If your infant is calm and happy in the bath, you can extend that time as they get older. The good news is; you can get your baby clean in as little as five minutes without the water cooling down.
Where Should You Bathe Your Baby?
While the idea of bathing your baby in a kitchen sink or wash bin may have a nostalgic appeal, the safest bet is something a little softer. Newborns should be bathed in slings or specially created padded supports. Once baby can sit without help, they can be moved to plastic tubs or soft inflatable tubs, you can even get one shaped like a whale!
Experts typically recommend using two inches of warm water in your tub of choice, although some say it’s safe to let the water come up to the baby’s shoulders.
All that said, the sink is perfectly safe, just remember that no matter what kind of tub you’re using, you can never leave your infant or child alone while bathing, even for just a moment.
Bathtime is sweet bonding time with your little one, with a great end result — a sweet smelling baby with kissable cheeks and toes! It’s normal to have questions about the best way to bathe your newborn, but remember that you know your baby best. Follow our guidelines above for help, and as always, trust yourself and enjoy your sweet newborn.