Not everyone necessarily knows ‘How To’…so here are some pointers
Bathing, in general:
- is a great time to bond with baby
- can be part of a healthy bedtime routine i.e. baby knows “after bathtime, I get diapered, moisturized, dressed & then fed & then I go to sleep”
- keeps your baby clean – but remember that babies don’t get that dirty so it’s not necessary to bathe them every single day- if for some reason you miss a day- don’t get guilt-ridden over it!
Bathing – technique:
- Prepare everything you will need ahead for bathtime before putting baby in the bath: towel, soap/shampoo, any toys he will use, washcloth, mineral oil & dropper if this is part of your routine.
- At the changing area- prepare diaper, moisturizer, ihle’s paste & clothes/pajamas ahead of bath time so that dressing will be smoother & baby will not be cold while you search for items (also so that you don’t have to carry hium around while you search!)
- make sure to use warm-not hot- water-you can test with your elbow.
- There are a variety of infant baths/ bath seats or supports you can choose from (see Gear section)
- NEVER leave baby unattended in bath or on change table- not to get a towel, not to answer the phone-NEVER- call for help or take him with you.
- First wash babies hair, then using a washcloth or cotton balls (and fresh warm water (not what baby is sitting in), gently clean the:
- Eyes – from the inner corner outward- use a clean cotton ball or clean corner of washcloth for each eye
- Ears clean the outer fold of the ears & behind the ears
- Babies neck & all folds of skin
- The rest of babies body, including a thorough cleaning of the scrotum area for boys & the vaginal area for girls
- The rectal area should be well cleaned for both boys & girls
- Many pediatricians recommend putting a drop ot two of mineral oil into baby’s ears a few times weekly to prevent wax buildup.
- It is recommended NOT to use cotton swabs to clean inside of baby’s ears as the cotton can get stuck & baby’s tiny ear drums are better off not getting poked around! Also- these tend to push the wax further into the ear than out of the ear!
- It is OK to use cotton swabs to clean the outer layers of the ear.
- It is a good idea to clean out baby’s mouth (as well as your nipple(s0 if you are breastfeeding with a warm, damp, cloth after every feed. This prevents bacteria from the milk sugars building up to a yeast infection called “thrush” which can be unpleasant, and even painful, for both mom & baby.
- If baby has a cold, it is a good idea to use a saline solution to loosen secretions & then to suction them out using a nasal aspirator. See Gear for what to buy & where.
It is recommended to sterilize feeding tools (i.e. bottles, nipples, etc) until baby has reached 6 months of age. You can do this with a pot of boiling water – add items in & allow to sit in boiling water for 8 minutes, then carefully remove with pre-sterilized tongs to a clean towel or dring rack. BEWARE: Do not do this when you are overtired! Falling asleep can be very dangerous…yes, I know first-hand. A steam-sterilizer is a good investment to avoid such potential disasters. It is, however, important to remember to de-calcify it as per manufacturer’s directions.