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Bathing your newborn can be a nail-biting experience! The first baby bath comes as an overwhelming experience for most parents – so no, it’s not just you. Many moms have admitted that the dominating emotion they felt at this time was that of nervousness. It is natural to feel uncomfortable handling such a fragile baby. Given this state of mind, and your baby’s delicate body, which option is better: sponge bath or tub bath?
Picking between a sponge bath and a tub bath is a major decision when you are a new mom. You may be advised differently by elders at home as compared to the doctor. There may also be some traditions about baby’s bath that you are asked to follow. But what is the medically approved verdict?
Well, this is what the doctors think is the safest approach to follow:
Opt for a sponge bath in the early weeks after your baby’s birth. Continue to do this until the umbilical cord stump falls off from the baby’s navel and the wound heals completely. This is important to keep your little one’s umbilical stump area clean and dry. It can sometimes become infected – a condition called Omphalitis – which leads to swelling and discomfort.
Later, after the umbilical cord stump has fallen off (usually happens in about 7 to 21 days), you should switch to a tub bath for your baby. According to some hospital studies, tub bathed babies retained their temperatures better as compared to the sponge bathed babies, meaning they felt less cold during the bath. Also, they overall were more content and slept better right after the bath. This is yet another reason to eventually switch to a tub bath when your baby is older.
Finally, as your baby grows up, you can take a call on the daily bath based on your baby’s daily routine as well as what’s convenient to you. There are no apparent reasons at this stage to prefer one method of bathing over another. However, to make bathing a hassle-free experience, no matter which type of bath you choose, you need to be prepared beforehand. Bath time poses several risks for the infant if necessary precautions are missed.
Safest Way To Sponge Bathe Your Newborn
A sponge bath is going to be one of the first bathing experiences for your baby. So go for a warm room and find a clean space which should be covered with a soft towel. Gather all the essentials that you will need before placing your newborn on the surface. They include:
- 2 good quality baby bath sponges or washcloths
- Baby body wash
- Towel for drying
- Clean clothes
- Baby powder
- A small mug/pot full of warm or lukewarm water
- A soft blanket
Then, Follow These Steps:
- Use warm to lukewarm water, depending upon the weather you live in. Mix a few drops of baby body wash in the water.
- There is no need to shampoo your newborn unless his hair or scalp is unclean.
- Undress your little one and keep cradling him with the other hand (it allows him to stay warm after being exposed to the air.). Leave the diaper on and wash the pelvic area in the last.
- With the soft sponge or washcloth soaked in the water, clean one area at a time. You can start from behind his ears and proceed to the face, neck, elbows, knees, back and then to the toes.
- To make sure that the water does not enter the eyes, tip his head back a bit.
- Wipe the area around his eyes with a light hand.
- Wipe his belly button stump as well.
- At the end, take off the diaper and wash his belly, bottom and the genital area. But don’t wash the circumcised penis until it’s completely healed, if you have a boy. Wash the baby girls from front to back. Use a different sponge or washcloth for cleaning the genital area.
- Now soak the sponge in plain water, squeeze out the excess water and wipe off all the soapy water from your baby’s body.
- Finally, pat your little one dry very softly and apply some baby powder if you wish. If you find that his skin is dry, apply some baby lotion or baby oil and skip the powder. Then dress him up and swaddle him in a feather soft blanket for ultimate comfort.
Safest Way To Tub Bathe Your Newborn
Once the umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals completely, your newborn can graduate to a tub bath. Some babies resist this transition, but you can keep trying for a couple of weeks and your baby would look forward to bathing in no time. Your essential tub bathing list should include:
- A bathtub that is thick and made of plastic. Probably one that comes with a slip-resistant backrest to make it easier for your little one to keep from sliding.
- You can also get bathing chairs that you can keep in the tub and place the baby on it. Bathing chair has a mesh net to allow the water to drip away.
- Baby soap or body wash
- Baby powder, baby lotion
- Clothes and blanket
Then, Follow These Steps:
- Fill the tub with lukewarm water, up to 2-3 inches.
- Use one of your hands to support the head of your baby and then gently lower him down in the tub.
- Wash his hair and face with a soft sponge.
- Use a mild baby soap and water to wash the rest of his body, paying careful attention to his under arms, insides of the elbows, between the fingers and the genital area.
- In order to keep your little one warm, keep pouring some lukewarm water over his chest.
- After you are done washing him, pat him dry thoroughly drying the folds and creases on his body.
- Apply a good baby lotion or a baby powder.
- Dress and swaddle him in a blanket.
Bathing your baby may seem like a regular and simple task at first – but moms know just how challenging it can be! Moreover, some newborns might turn on their crying mode and also start off with the complimentary screeching and cranky behaviour during the whole bathing process. Do not worry, as this ritual will become one of his favourite activities soon enough.And once you are done, it will be a beautiful sight to see your little one bundled in a soft towel.