Monday, November 3, 2014

Bathing a Newborn

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Bathing a newborn can be and is very scary- especially for first time parents. I know when we brought Baby H home, I was excited to be able to give her a submersion bath once her cord fell off- and I was doubly excited to wash her hair for the first time (maybe it's a mom thing, or a "first" thing!). Well, Baby H's cord fell off on the 3rd of 4th day and we had gotten the go-ahead from the pediatrician to give her a submersion bath. We still were told to wait to wash her hair until she was a week old.

It just so happens that she decided to have a huge poop that day- so Hubby and I decided to just give her a bath at that moment. Well, it was an impromptu decision with little prep or thought given as to how to approach her first bath. Hubby didn't know what I was thinking as far as prepping the bath, nor had he ever given a baby a bath before. I had never given a newborn a bath before, but had given babies as young as 6 months baths. I had in my mind how I wanted it to go, but it went nothing like that! In my mind, I wanted to talk to her through the whole process, to give her a little massage, not rush it, and hope that she didn't cry and that she enjoy it. Now, this is what it looked like: a screaming baby, a panicked mom, a frustrated dad, and a not-so-enjoyable first bath. Much to our dismay, this happened a second time in response to another newborn massive poop.


Finally, it was time to wash her hair, so naturally, it was time for another bath. This is what I begin counting as her first bath. It was planned, thought out, and mistakes from the previous two non-first-baths were corrected. Here are some tips that I thought might help other new parents that we learned quickly:

1. Have the items needed prepared prior to getting baby naked for the bath. Have a towel next to the tub so it's a quick wrap up when baby is done. They get cold very easily.

2. Have an extra "tub"/wash basin ready and partially filled with clean water for the rinsing (this can be avoided if you have a dish sprayer- which we do not)

3. Be patient and calm. Babies sense fear, nervousness and frustration. Talk in a lower than normal volume, sing, describe what you are doing, etc. and make sure you are smiling at baby.

4. Have a hat ready to put on when baby is out of the tub to help keep baby warm.

5. Start at the head and work your way down baby's body. I personally skip their lady/boy parts and do those last, but I think that is more of a preference.

6. Use two wash cloths. One to wash, one to rinse. I keep the rinsing cloth in the extra basin of water. I then use it to dribble clean water over baby's body to rinse off the soap as the rub is draining. I also dribble water over Baby H's face- just a teeny bit- to help her get accustomed to the sensation. 

7. This is probably the thing that helps the most- at least in our case. Have an extra towel- hand towel or kitchen towels work great. Once baby is in the tub, wet the hand towel and lay it on top of baby from next down. This helps keeps baby warm. You will need to rewet that hand towel periodically to keep it warm.

8. I typically with bathe, then nurse. My daughter falls asleep eating- almost every time and I don't want to bathe a sleeping baby.

What are some things you found helpful in bathing a newborn?



1 comment:

  1. The first time I did a bath with the boys I ended up calling my Mom to come over...it was hard! I keep several washcloths and start at the feet and move up to the head so that their head is cold for the least amount of time. I also end with the private parts.

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