Splish, Splash! Keeping Bathtime Stress Free
Bathtime should be full giggles, wiggles and a few silly splashes - not stress! If baby's bathtime puts you on edge, just follow these simple suggestions to make sure it's smooth sailing from now on.
- Baby will be ready for an actual bath once the umbilical cord has fallen off (and, if it's a concern, the circumcision has healed). Use a baby bathtub or sling to keep him secure in the water.
- How warm should the water be? Too cold and he'll be shivering; too hot and you risk scalding his delicate skin. Aim for lukewarm temps, and dip your elbow in the bathwater to check -- it should feel warm but not hot.
- Don't worry about giving your baby a bath every day -- every two or three days is probably fine, as long as you keep his hands, face and diaper area clean in between bathtimes.
- When to give your baby a bath depends on your baby. Does bathtime energize him? Then morning is best. If having a bath relaxes him, make it part of your bedtime routine.
- Babies have notoriously sensitive skin, so tread lightly when it comes to your soap and shampoo. In fact, until your baby has a full head of hair you really don't even need separate shampoo; just choose an all-purpose baby wash. Look for soaps that don't have added dyes or fragrances -- they're milder and less likely to irritate. If your little one has cradle cap, loosen it with a soft brush before shampooing.
- Keeping your baby safe during bathtime is mostly a matter of being prepared. Make sure you have everything you need within arm's reach before you start. Use only a couple inches of water, and keep at least one hand on your baby at all times. When bathtime is over, quickly wrap him up in a dry towel so he doesn't lose body temperature, and be sure he's completely dry before diapering and clothing him. Always completely drain the bathtub when you're done.
- Does your baby loudly protest when it's bathtime? Try filling the bathtub before you bring him into the room -- he might just be scared of the sound of the faucet!