The first bath that parents give their babies can be nerve-racking. From worrying about the water being the right temperature, babies getting cold, and the fear of little ones being slippery when taking them out of the water, there is a lot to be worried about when babies bathe. But this worry is one that parents can put a pin in for a minute because newborns need to wait some time before getting their first bath.
With their delicate skin, the first baths that babies get should be fairly short. This is because their skin can easily dry out and become flaky, according to RaisingChildren.net.au. If babies are already suffering from dry skin, this is especially true.
Because of this and the fact that babies do not get very dirty, most newborns can get away with bathing just once to twice per week in their first months of life.
Here is when to give babies their first bath.
When Baby Can Have First Bath (Hospital)
After babies are born, they are covered with vernix. And while the substance is not the best to look at, it does help to keep babies’ skin moisturized. This is why many mothers ask for it to be massaged in versus wiped off after birth.
At some point, however, the vernix and other substances covering the babies’ bodies do need to be washed off. And because of this, babies will have their first bath at the hospital approximately 24 hours after birth.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it used to be that babies would receive a bath within hours of being born. But over the years, per publication, it was determined that babies were more prone to hypothermia, skin drying out, and less success with breastfeeding when bathing occurred within a few hours of birth. Therefore, the decision was made to delay bathing for the first time. And there was nothing but benefits for babies and their mothers as a result.
When Baby Can Have First Bath (Home)
Once babies have come home, it will be a bit of time before they will get their first bath. This is because some healing of babies’ bodies needs to occur first. Something, according to Infantinooccurs between one and three weeks after birth.
Per the publication, newborns can take a bath after the umbilical cord stump needs to fall off. If that has happened and the navel has healed, then baby girls are ready to try out a bath.
If baby boys had a circumcision, they may need to wait a bit longer. This is because the circumcision needs to heal before being immersed in a tub.
Sponge Bath When Accidents Happen
Parents may be asking themselves what they are supposed to do with their babies if there are accidents that occur before the time comes to be able to bathe their little ones. And the answer is to give babies sponge baths.
Sponge baths are an easy way to clean babies up while ensuring that their belly button area stays dry. They are something that should be sufficient giving just a few times per week, barring any major blowouts or spitting up. And then when the time comes to give an official bath, babies will have gotten used to water washing off their bodies. Something that can take some time to get used to.
How To Bathe Baby For The First Time
When it is finally time to give babies a bath at home for the first time, according to BabyCenter, bathing them in only water is completely fine. This will give babies an opportunity to get used to being in the water without having to worry about any skin irritation from body wash or shampoo.
However, per the publication, if the choice is made to wash babies with soap and shampoo, “mild” ones should be chosen so that the skin does not dry or break out.
Once it is time to bathe babies, according to BabyCenter:
- Everything should be laid out on a flat surface before babies are put into the tub.
- Then, warm water should be placed in the tub approximately three inches deep.
- When putting babies into the tub, per publication, they should be put in feet first, taking care to place their heads in carefully. And once little ones are in the tub, washing can begin with working from head to toe and front to back.
- After washing and rinsing, babies should be wrapped in a towel and patted dry. This will keep the skin from getting damaged or dried out.
- The final step, according to BabyCenter, is to apply baby-safe lotion and get babies dressed in comfortable clothing. Once this is complete, bath time is done.
Source: RaisingChildren.net.au, American Academy of Pediatrics, Infantino, BabyCenter, BabyCenter