One of the most intimidating things in caring for a new baby is bathing them! It's like trying to bath a floppy fish. Many parents feel hesitant and uncertain when it comes to giving baby their first bath.
This is completely normal and to be expected because babies are fragile in their first few months of life. The truth is, accidents do happen. There are several reports every year of babies suffering injuries while their parents bathed them.
However, these instances are isolated and seldom happen. Even though the situation does not occur frequently, it can be traumatic for parent and baby.
Here are some tips to help you feel confident in keeping your baby safe during bath time, whether it be the first bath or the hundredth bath. We'll help you feel like a baby bathing pro.
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1. Stay with Baby
This sounds like a beyond obvious fact. But there will be a time when you need something in the middle of your babies bath. Maybe you forgot to grab a washcloth or their soap. It's just right there.
But take baby with you, no matter how much of a pain it is. (Or hope someone else is in the house and yell like a mad woman!)
Never step away, even for a second. Drowning is the number one cause of death in children under the age of 6 in the US. It's not worth the risk.
2. Gather Everything Ahead of Time
I cannot tell you what a pain it is to be done with bath time, and realize you don't have a clean towel for your baby. Running around the house with a wet naked baby looking for something to dry them with isn't my idea of fun.
Gather anything you'll need ahead of time and have it ready. Baby soap, towels and toys are all good to have on hand.
2. Keep a Wet Towel Handy
This towel isn't to dry baby. This towel is to help you grip your baby better if things start getting slippery. That super soft baby skin gets super slick somehow during baths. If you keep a dish towel handy, it makes it so much easier to grip your baby in the water.
If you bath your baby in the bath with you, this will be especially handy. You can have your partner hand you your baby wrapped in the small towel. This will help ensure you don't drop your baby in the water.
If using a small baby bath, you can place the towel on the bottom of their tub to create a "stickier" surface. This helps make things so much easier!
3. Make It a Calm Retreat
When you bring baby to the bathtub, take your time and make slow movements. Try not to startle your baby during bath time. By being slow and intentional, an accident is unlikely.
Make bath time fun and calm, it is time for you and baby to spend together and bond. The more relaxed bath time is, the more your baby will enjoy this time with you.
Even though it should be fun, it is important for safety to be the first priority.
4. Check the temperature
When putting baby’s water in the tub, you must ensure the water is not too hot. If the water is too cold, it could startle baby. Too hot of water and baby could get burned.
You can judge the temperature with the inside skin of your wrist, or the skin of your elbow.
Of course, you can make it foolproof with a handy baby bath thermometer.
5. Check the area
Check out the bathtub before settling in for your babies bath. Make sure there are no choking hazards that could float by into your babies grasp.
To know how small is too small, make a circle with your thumb and index finger. If the toy is able to fit through the hole, the toy will most likely pose a choking hazard. Also watch for any water on the floor, you don't want you or your baby to slip.
Another good thing to have is a rubber bath mat to prevent slipping while in the tub. If your baby can sit by themseleves in the tub, this is especially important. Always keep one hand on your baby to make sure they don't fall in the water.
6. Learn Baby & Infant CPR
A terrible thought for any parent is every having to use this. A worse thought is not knowing how to use this. If you can, take an in person CPR class. It could just save a life.
If an in person class is out of the question (highly recommended since they can show you if your doing it right or not) at least familiarize yourself with the process.
7. Be Aware and Trust Your Mama Gut
The most important thing you can do to keep your baby safe in the bath is just be aware and connected with your baby during this time. Don't let yourself get distracted by your phone or something else going on in the house. Also trust your mama instincts. If something feels weird its okay to end the bath early and try again another time.