Tub time: Learn the tools of the trade

By Published On: June 27th, 2012

Some babies love their baths from day one—others, not so […]

Some babies love their baths from day one—others, not so much. If you have a suds session screamer, you’ll want to make washing up a quick affair on an as-needed basis. If your tiny guy loves to linger in the warm water, feel free to let him splash longer and soak more frequently. Just be sure to keep him from getting cold by adding warm water when his bath becomes cool, and watch out for dry skin, which can be a result of too frequent washing.
baby-bath-tub_0Sponge baths
Until your tiny tot’s umbilical cord stump falls off—usually between 10 and 21 days —all he needs is a gentle cleansing with a washcloth.
Step 1: Gather your supplies before you get started. For a sponge bath, you’ll need a basin of warm water, a washcloth and a towel.
Step 2: Find your bath spot. Opt for a surface that is flat and comfortable for your little guy in a room that is warm and free of drafts. The changing table is a good choice for many moms.
Step 3: Spread out the towel and lay your baby on it. Remove his clothes and diaper, then submerge the washcloth in the warm water (make sure it’s not too hot or cold) and wring it out. Gently wash your baby’s body with the cloth, remembering to wipe behind his ears and between his fingers and toes.
Step 4: While you’re bathing your baby, talk soothingly to him and avoid letting him get chilly (which is sure to cause upset). You might want to keep some body parts covered while you’re washing others.
Step 5: Once you’re finished, dry him with the towel and snuggle him up in a warm, cozy outfit.
Basin baths
When your baby’s cord falls off, he’s ready for the big time—well, tub time, at least. Until your baby is ready to sit in the “grown-up” tub on his own, he’ll get his cleanings in a made-for-babe tub (or the kitchen sink in some cases!). Once again, you’ll need to collect all your supplies—including a towel, washcloth, and baby wash—ahead of time since leaving a baby alone in water is a huge no-no. (Scary but true: A child can drown in less than an inch of water in less than 60 seconds.)
Step 1:  Fill the tub with 2 to 3 inches of warm but not hot water—aim for about 90º F (120º F is the maximum). To test the water, dip your forearm or wrist in, since you’ll get a more accurate sense in these thin-skinned areas.
Step 2: Take off baby’s clothes and diaper and gently dip him in the tub feet first, using one hand to support his head and neck. Find a good position for your little one and make sure he’s comfortable and secure in the tub before beginning to wash him.
Step 3: Let the bath begin! To keep your baby warm, continually pour cupfuls of bath water over his little body or lay a warm washcloth on top of him.
Step 4: Gently wash your baby’s skin with a mild, baby-safe soap, softly scrubbing his scalp as well.
Step 5: Thoroughly rinse away the soap.
Step 6: When you’re finished, firmly grasp your baby to remove him from the tub, using one hand to support his head and neck and the other to support his bottom. Position your fingers around one thigh for an extra sure hold.
Step 7: Wrap your baby in a hooded towel and pat him dry. Bathtime will undoubtedly bring a few priceless memories, so take some time to enjoy it and create experiences that both you and your baby will enjoy. It may seem overwhelming in the early days, but before you know it your tiny one will be splashing in the tub like an old pro.