Someone sent me a personal message on Instagram asking for a step-by-step guide on how we give baby P a bath.
Luckily, at this post-partum stage (our baby is 12 days old as of writing) where I’m still having bleeding down there and generally recuperating from our birth, my husband has taken most of the caregiving tasks such as diaper changing, burping the baby, and giving him a bath. I really am blessed to have a hands-on husband, and so for this post, we all have to thank him, because really, the content of this post will come from him.
Before I gave birth, we attended a NEWBORN CARE class at The Parenting Emporium. Nurse Joyce taught a lot of things including giving your newborn a bath. Then, when we were at the hospital, our son was given a bath (24 hours after delivery as requested). My husband accompanied him to make sure he’s okay and to also watch how the hospital does it.
This step-by-step newborn bath procedure is a result of what learned from both Nurse Joyce and the hospital. Hope this serves as a guide for you until you find your own groove with your baby!
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Cotton Balls
- Cotton Buds
- Basin with Warm Water (to check warmth, use your elbow or thermometer)
- Basin with Baby Wash (this is optional – newborns are not dirty at all and can do away with just water)
- Basin to catch used water (this is optional, too)
- Baby Tub/ Diaper Changing Mat (this is optional, too)
- New set of clothes and diaper
- Thermometer (to check baby’s temperature – must be between 36.5-37.5 C)
- Mittens (2)
- Baby Wash (optional | to find a baby wash acceptable to you, we recommend checking each and every ingredient HERE so you know what goes in your baby’s skin)
- Put a towel underneath and hold baby facing you. Using wet cotton balls (no soap, just water), clean the eyes (inner canthus to outer canthus). Use the cotton ball only once (one per eye), then discard.
- Cover the ears with your thumb and middle finger. Using wet cotton balls (no soap, just water), clean the baby’s face. You can do circular motions or inner to outer strokes. You may clean the outer mouth, but do not clean the lips.
- Wear mittens, dip the mittens on your water with soap (optional, you can also use plain water), then gently rub the baby’s head in a circular motion. If you choose to use soap, rinse with water. Make sure the ears are still covered so that water will not go in the ears. Once you’re done, dry the baby’s head right away. (For this step, we put a basin under baby P’s head so that the water falls on the basin since we do the bathing in his room and not in the bathroom).
- Get another mitten, soak in water with soap (optional, you can also use plain water), gently rub the baby’s body: neck, folds on the neck, arms, underarms, stomach, legs (general rule: upper to lower part). Rinse thoroughly especially the folds on the neck. (For this step, we put a basin under baby P’s body so that the water falls on the basin since we do the bathing in his room and not in the bathroom). To rinse, use your hands with water.
- Clean hands with plain water (no soap, please, since your baby sucks hands often). You can use circular motion for the hands. To rinse, use your hands with water.
- Clean feet with plain water or water with soap. To rinse, use your hands with water.
- Turn the baby around (facing the towel), hold the jaw of the baby and use your forearm to support his/her body. Use water with soap to clean the back. Start from upper to lower part then dry the baby. (For this step, we put a basin under baby P so that the water falls on the basin since we do the bathing in his room and not in the bathroom). To rinse, use your hands with water.
It’s amazing how much our son loves the turned back position, where his Papa supports his jaw and body. When he’s facing us, he would usually let out a cry, but once we do the turned back position, he just stops and enjoys his bath.
Anyway, right after drying, we put on his diaper and clothes. No need for lotion, oil, or powder after.
- To clean his belly button, we just use soft cotton buds and 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. Many advise using Alcohol all the time, but unless there’s an infection or you’re still waiting for it to fully heal (like we are now), we learned that there really is no need for this. Water and cotton buds will do.
- We don’t know how long we will keep his bath like this yet. Maybe 2 weeks, or maybe a bit more. It really depends on whether or not his belly button has fully healed already, then we would feel more comfortable to start soaking him in water.
- If you want or need to do a sponge bath, the procedure is pretty much the same. Just use cotton balls instead of mittens to clean the body and cotton balls instead of your hands with water to rinse. For sponge bath, instead of using the basins, we place him on our diaper-changing mat so he can lie down properly while we use cotton balls all over his body. We love this mat my mom-in-law got for us from IKEA because it’s so easy to clean and use anywhere!
- For baby wash, we have chosen SACRED (you can read my post about it HERE) but still, we don’t really use it on him everyday! At this stage, honestly, they really don’t get dirty. Water will do for the most part.
- Photo below are the basins we actually use. The transparent one is the only one we bought from the department store. The white and green basins came from the hospital (part of their newborn care kit which you get to bring home!), so before you buy, double check the things you can bring home from the hospital to avoid redundancy and spending twice!
Hope this post helps you! Share your tips on how you make bathtime a fun time for you and your newborn!