Welcoming a little one into the family fold is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life. Babies bring so much happiness in is nothing short of delightful to nurture them, watch them grow and be part of their lives.
Although they are certainly a delight, there are many instances that will bring about stressful moments and bathing a newborn or an infant can be one of them. As most parents already know, babies are delicate creatures and the utmost care and nurture have to be given to keep them healthy and happy.
Bathtime, of course, is a necessary part of people’s daily routines, and it’s no different for babies.
A good wash helps keep baby clean after a full day of typical baby activities of wetting or soiling diapers, burping up milk, and all the other smelly, but daily occurrences. Bathtime can be a wonderful time to bond with your baby.
Most babies love or are intrigued with the soap bubbles and love the water gently splashing against their skin. It can also be a great educational opportunity that teaches baby the different and special parts of their body. It will also help your baby sleep well at night.
Babies are slippery and water will make them even more slippery, so it can be a little tricky making sure the baby is bathed properly. There are some points for parents to heed and remember to make bath time a great experience.
Here are some simple steps to take for ensuring bathtime is an enjoyable and stress-free time for both baby and parent.
15 Filling The Tub With Too Much Water
Unless you plan on taking a bath with your baby, there is never a reason to fill the tub with too much water. Babies don’t need a full tub of water. The best way to bath your baby is to place them in their own tub instead of the bathtub. This prevents the use of too much water and the dangers that can occur.
If you’re using the regular bathtub, fill it with just enough water to cover the baby’s bottom or your feet. If you’re using their bathtub, simply place the baby in the tub and with either about an inch or two of water in their tub or the regular bathtub. One of the best ways to give baby a bath is to place them in the bathroom sink.
Not only do most babies fit comfortably in the sink, it avoids placing them in too much water.
14 Not Securing The Baby
As discussed in point 2, it is best to use a bath seat or baby tub when washing your infant. Things just go much better for everyone. The baby can be fit securely in the bath seat without moving around too much or sliding out of your grasp.
Remember, a baby's skin is fairly slippery without being wet, so it’s very slippery when they are wet. Since they move around so much, a baby can easily slip out of your grasp any minute.
The ideal way to keep this from happening is to make sure they are safe and secure in their own bath seat. Many of these seats fit perfect in the sink. But if you prefer to place baby in the bathtub, it is very important to either have them in the bath seat or to make sure your grip on baby is strong.
13 Using Overly Scented Washes
Babies have the most sensitive skin which causes them to break out very easily. Just like the wrong milk or food can cause an allergic reaction or problem with your child so can certain chemicals. It is important not to use scented or overly scented washes on baby.
Many of those products have ingredients that can irritate a baby’s skin. You may want to avoid products that use alcohol, mineral oil, highly fragrant chemicals, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, fragrance, phthalates, parabens, octinoxate, benzophenones, ethanolamines and nitrosamines.
Use products that are specifically designed for babies skin. Oftentimes you won’t be aware if a baby is allergic to a certain product so it’s best to stay away from scented or overly scented lotions, perfumes and soap.
Although specially designed baby products may cost more, it will be beneficial and cost less in the long run because you’ll avoid doctor bills and medication to treat baby’s skin.
12 Not Drying The Baby Completely
Be sure you dry baby completely. Not only can it cause the baby to become sick, it can cause skin irritation if soap or even water remains on their skin. Soap residue can cause red bumps and the baby to scratch their skin, which causes a whole set of other problems.
Water residue can also cause bumps and dryness to the skin, which in turn, will cause irritation. And as parents know, since a baby cannot tell you what’s causing them to feel bad, they can only cry and scream, and this causes you stress.
Be sure soap is completely rinsed off and make sure baby is completely dry because it doesn’t take long to notice breakouts or irritations on baby’s skin. Be sure to use a large enough towel to dry off baby completely. When using a towel, make sure the fabric is not rough and is perfect for baby’s skin.
Certain fabric can cause skin irritation or your baby can be allergic to certain fabrics.
11 Not Checking The Water Temperature
Make sure the water is lukewarm. Never place your baby in hot water or cold water. Their sensitive skin can easily burn or irritate if the water is hot. And cold water can cause them to become sick since their immune system is not very strong.
Just like you would check the water before you step into a tub or adjust the water before you jump into the shower, be sure you check the water temperature before you place baby in it.
Babies’ skin is more sensitive than adults, teenagers and older children. They break out easier and they’re more likely to have an allergic reaction Their skin is also very pliable and this can cause issues if the water is too hot or cold.
Cold water can cause cause cold stress, hypoxia and hypoglycemia. Signs include lethargy, pale skin color, difficulty breathing, and restlessness. Hot water can cause scalding and burning of the skin.
10 Not Having All Supplies Ready Before The Bath
New parents may make this mistake more than experienced ones. Make sure you have everything you will need when it’s time to bath baby, and make sure it is in reaching distance and you’re able to keep one eye on the baby while grabbing for supplies.
First, you don’t want to ever leave the baby unattended for even a quick turnaround to grab something. They are extremely wet and can easily slip if your grip is loosened at any time.
Babies wiggle a lot anyway so any quick movement while wet can cause a dangerous situation. Secondly, you don’t want the baby wet longer than necessary while you’re running trying to grab extra supplies. Even when babies are wrapped in towels, if they don’t have clothes on, they can easily catch a cold or get sick.
So be sure to have every supply, including clothes and other accessories at hand when bathing the baby.
9 Leaving The Baby Unattended
As previously mentioned, never leave the baby unattended during their bath time. It is never safe to do so even for a quick minute to answer the phone, door, turn off the stove, or search for additional items for the baby. Make sure your baby has your undivided attention during bath time.
Don’t leave food on the stove. Don’t answer the door - they can wait or call ahead. Don’t get sidetrack with the phone ringing.
Babies are delicate and although bath time can become routine for you, never take it lightly. Babies can drown very quickly without even being submerged under water. Too much water in their nostrils can cause them harm.
And a quick slip out of your hand can instantly cause them to go underwater in a split second which can be fatal. When you’re preparing for bath time, be sure to have your phone close at hand just in case there is an emergency.
8 Adding Too Many Toys To The Bath
It may be tempting to let your baby enjoy themselves as much as possible with placing multiple toys in the water or in the bathroom during bath time, but refrain from doing so. It can be a serious hazardous.
Too many toys in the tub can distract your baby causing them to reach for toys swiftly without warning, which means they can quickly get away from you and slip under water.
If the toys are outside the tub, be careful your toddler doesn’t try to climb out of the tub to grab their toys. They are wet and the floor is probably slippery. This can cause them to fall and injure themselves. Also, toys can remain wet for hours unless they are placed somewhere to quickly dry off.
Wet toys may leak water out and cause the floor or their bed or crib to soak or fill up with water which can cause injury to the baby.
7 Taking A Bath With The Baby
Some parents may want to ensure the safety of their baby or just enjoy the fun their baby is experiencing by taking a bath with them. However this is not a good idea when they are infants because their skin is very sensitive. If you’re using regular bath soap and bubble bath or creams, those items are not good for the baby.
They can definitely cause irritation to your baby’s skin. Also, your skin, including the hair on your skin, can cause irritation to the baby’s skin. Even dirt from your skin can irritate their skin and cause infections to the baby.
Another hazardous when taking a bath with your baby is getting in and out of the tub which can be a dangerous situation just by yourself, let alone when handling an infant. Slipping and falling is always an issue when people take baths, so the chance of these things happening holding an infant increases.
6 Not Fully Rinsing The Soap Out Of The Hair
Be sure you rinse your baby well. Don’t leave any soap on them especially on their scalp which can cause irritation, hair loss or lack of hair growth. Just like the rest of a baby’s skin, the scalp is very tender and sensitive. The simplest way to make sure all soap is removed is to slowly pour a cup or bottle of warm water over the scalp.
Make sure the head is tilt back slightly to avoid the water getting in their eyes, ears or nose. You can wash the scalp with a soft sponge but be sure the sponge is made out of material that won’t irritate the skin. Depending on how old the baby is, washing their scalp may not be necessary.
A very young infant doesn’t need it’s head or scalp washed. There is no need to wash it with soap until the baby gets a little older, say around six months or so.
5 Not Drying And Dressing On Flat, Secure Surfaces
In order to make sure your baby is completely dry it is important to lie them on a flat, secure surface. Never put them on an uneven or weak surface which can cause not only an uneven drying experience, but a lack of support for their head or neck.
The surface needs to be flat so the baby’s head and neck will be supported correctly. Incorrect head and neck support can cause the baby to be uncomfortable or cause injuries.
Lying them on a flat surface helps you dry them off easily without missing areas. It’s also imperative to place your baby on a secure surface. If your baby is a newborn always make sure the head, neck and spine are well supported and placed on a secure platform when engaging in any activity.
An uneven surface can also make drying complicated and cause the baby to become fussy.
4 Washing The Baby In An Unclean Tub
No one should wash in an unclean tub if they can help it, and that definitely goes for babies. There are several reasons why this is important. First, babies’ immune systems are not as strong as adults and dirt and debris breeds germs which causes sicknesses and infections for babies.
Secondly, a baby's skin is very sensitive and dirt or germs can cause skin irritations that can be difficult to treat.
Be sure the tub or the baby's bath seat is thoroughly cleaned before placing them in it. Use a soft, clean towel or paper towel with soap, liquid detergent, rubbing alcohol or baking soda and hot water to ensure it is free of any filth that can irritate the baby’s skin.
If you have a newborn, be certain to clean it with chemicals that do not have a residual effect. Keep the baby’s bath seat free of dust when it is not being used.
3 Leaving The Baby In The Water Too Long
Leaving the baby in the water too long can cause their skin to dry and result in skin irritations and injuries. If the baby is a newborn leaving them in the water can cause damage to the navel area where the umbilical cord was cut. It can cause the skin to become too stretchable and prevent it from being pliable.
Babies can get hypothermia from being in the water too long, which can often go unnoticed to the parent. Don’t leave the baby longer than 5 to 10 minutes in the water which can cause the infant to catch a cold or become very sick due to heat loss.
Newborns lose body heat through various ways, in particularly, through evaporation of water on the body. Remove the baby from the water when done with the actual washing. You can comb hair and perform other duties once they are out of the water.
2 Submerging The Umbilical Stump Before It Falls Off
Refrain from submerging the baby in the water prior to the umbilical stump falling off. In fact, infants don’t need to be submerged in the water. About two inches of water is enough for most newborns with their abdomen above the water.
While baby is sitting in the bath seat or sink, gently rub the towel across their body avoiding their naval or the umbilical stump area. You can place a cloth over the area to avoid excess water exposure to that area.
Babies don’t need to be submerged from the abdomen down until they’re a few months old. Any age prior to that, a simple quick sponge bath is best and goes pretty quick. This keeps the baby from being exposed to too much water or being in the water too long which easily exposes them to hypothermia.
Once the cord falls off, wait a couple of weeks to ensure complete healing has taken place.
1 Bathing The Baby Too Much
Giving a baby too many baths is not only unnecessary but can cause damage to their sensitive skin. First of all, babies are not dirty like adults and older children get. Not only does the skin protect itself from excessive water loss, it also protects it from dirt.
Plus, babies don’t sweat which causes dead skin to build up. They also don’t develop smells that need to be washed away. Another reason it’s not good to bathe babies too much is because their skin dries out easily. And a dry skin can cause skin irritation that is difficult to treat with a baby.
Also, the use of soaps and other chemicals, even those designed for infants, can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions due to heavy use. So there is simply no need to bathe an infant more than 2-3 times a week. And when you do bathe them it should last no longer than 10 minutes.