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Bath time: 10 tips to start practicing now!

This daily task is crucial not only because of hygiene, but also to comfort and soothe the baby.

1. Prepping

Gather your supplies and have everything within reach, not only in the bathroom but also on the changing table – including setting aside the outfit you’ve picked for the baby to wear. While you do this, keep the baby inside the crib if you’re alone to prevent any accidents.

2. The right amount of water

Wash the bathtub or sink before giving the child a bath. Fill it with just enough water to cover the bottom of the baby’s body.

3. Water temperature

The water temperature should be warm, the bathwater should be just above 100 F (somewhere between 37 and 38 degrees celsius). The important thing is to make sure the water won’t hurt the baby’s skin. A clever way to test the water is using the inside of your arm, since its a more sensitive área than your fingertips, you’ll be able to feel if the water is at a comfortable temperature for your baby.

4. Taking your baby to the bathtub

Babies may get startled when being placed in the bathtub because they sometimes get the sensation of falling and may even raise their hands outwards – that’s the Moro reflex. There are some tricks to ease this moment and avoid the free-falling sensation, you may try placing your little one in the bathtub facing the water and then turning the baby on her or his back. Another idea is to wrap them in a washcloth big enough to keep them tucked in.

5. The swaddle bathing trick

To make your baby feel safer, you can loosely wrap your child in a swaddle blanket and immerse them in the water. But first, wash the face using a damp washcloth or cotton ball. Then, wash the baby’s head (the baby is still out of the bathtub), use your baby wash and rinse. Dry your tot’s face and head. Only now, will the baby be put in the water, swaddled, feet first. Unwrap one arm, wash and cover it again. Move to the other arm, repeat the process and, only then, move to the baby’s legs and genital area. Turn the baby around and wash back and torso (some mothers prefer to just wash the baby’s back massaging them gently through the blanket).

6. How to hold your baby

When the baby is belly down: with one hand, hold his or her armpit (the one farthest from you) and use your forearm to support chest and head. When the baby is belly up: Place your hand under the baby’s armpit ( still the one farthest from you) and let back and head rest on your arm. You can also hold the baby’s neck area with your hand, supporting the baby’s back on your arm. If this is how you chose to do it, it’s best to wash the little one’s face first (you could use wet cotton balls or soft washcloth) and the head and then the trunk and the rest of the body. Leave the baby’s genitals and butt for last to avoid contamination. Always keep the baby’s head higher than the rest of the body.

7. Drying the baby

A terry towel is ideal to dry newborns, due to its soft texture. Start drying from top to bottom (head to toe), carefully drying each little fold (neck, armpits, between fingers). The baby’s skin is very delicate and can chafe easily.

8. How often?

In warmer climates or during times of the year when temperatures are consistently higher, there’s no problem in bathing your child more than once a day.
In colder climates, especially if your baby hasn’t started playing on the ground, a daily bath isn’t needed. In fact, some doctors say, the newborn baby only really needs a bath two or three times a week.

9. Best time for bathtime.

There’s no set time for bathing: after all, each family has their own routine. However, try to avoid the coldest hours of the day.

10. Interact!

Even if it’s quick (babies can get chilly fast), you can use bath time to talk, sing, make eye contact and, of course, strengthen your bond with your little one. He is an idea: choose a soothing song and let it play in the background to help everyone relax.

Read next:

+ Newborn hygiene: Everything yoy need to know

+ Basic cares with the baby’s skin

+ How to prevent and stop diaper rash

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