Bath time provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with your baby; however some babies take a little time before they start to enjoy having a bath. The timing of your baby's bath is up to you. Some parents like to bathe their baby in the morning, while others bathe just before bedtime as it relaxes baby and becomes part of their night-time routine in preparation for bed.
Safety at bath time
- Never leave your baby alone in or near water
- Your baby must be watched at all times by you or another adult
- If you need to answer the phone, take your baby with you
- Always double-check the water temperature is comfortably warm before placing your baby into the bath
If your baby becomes distressed during bath time
Babies can become distressed during bath time. Here are some things you can do to help calm your baby in the water:
- Gently talk or sing to your baby
- Position yourself so your baby can see your face and make eye contact
- Work slowly and smoothly and avoid sudden or jerky movements
Preparing the bath
Being well prepared is the key to a relaxing bathing experience for both you and your baby. Before you start, place your baby somewhere safe as in their bassinet or cot.
- Collect all the thing you will need for bath time and put them in easy reach of the bath. i.e. washer, cotton wool (if used), towel and mild soap or bath lotions you are using (if any).
- Other equipment, nappy and clothing will need to be ready next to the area you will dry and dress your baby.
- Remove your watch and any jewellery that might get in the way or scratch your baby
- The bath can be made less slippery by placing a hand towel or small rubber bathmat in the bottom of the bath
- Always start with cold water then top up with hotter water. If using a bathtub, make sure you finish by running the cold tap so that the tap fitting isn't hot to touch.
- Test water temperature with the inside part of the wrist and make sure it is warm to touch.
- When dressing or undressing your baby, make sure the room is comfortably warm (no draughts).
How much water?
Try using a shallow amount of water at first. Once you are confident, slowly increase the amount. Babies often like enough to float.
Constant watchfulness and common sense is key to bathing your baby. Never leave your baby alone even for a split second in or near water.
In the bath
Make sure you have a firm grip on your baby by placing your arm around their back and hold them round the arm that is furthest from you; and cradle the lower half of the baby's body with your other hand.
- Life and gently lower into the bath
- Supporting baby's head lay your baby down in the bath so the back of the head is touching the water
- Using a head to toe routine, wash the baby's head first making sure you protect the baby's eyes from soap or bath lotions
- The hair only needs washing twice a week. Shampoo or lotions are not needed for newborn hair
Do I need a baby bath?
You don't need to buy a baby bath or even use a normal adult bath. Many parents have bathed their baby in the laundry tub!