Bathing the newborn baby is a pleasurable experience both for the mother and the baby. It can also be defined as a process through which the mother and child bond. A mother understands the requirements of the child and the baby adapts itself to the cleanliness regime of the mother.
When should I start bathing my new born baby?
According to guidelines of WHO, initial bath for a term newborn weighing more than 2.5kg should be given 6 hours after birth. In the term low birth weight babies weighing less than 2.5kgs, only sponge bath is to be given, till the weight crosses 2.5kg.
Dip baths can be given once the umbilical cord falls off i.e. by 7 -10 days. Till then sponge baths are to be given.
How should I bathe my baby?
The room should be warm and free from draught of air as a wet baby can easily catch the chill. Check the temperature of the bath water before placing the baby in the bath tub. The depth of the water should be 5 cms upto the hip of the baby. Eyes can be cleaned by using one sterile water-soaked cotton swab for each eye. The Head should be washed last and dried first to prevent exposure due to large surface area. Pay special attention to skin folds of the neck, behind the ears, underarms, and diaper area. Also wash between the fingers and the toes.
What cleanser/ soap should I use for my baby?
Do not use soap for the first 1 month of life. After that, use any mild unmedicated soap or liquid cleanser with acidic/ neutral pH, that maintains the pH of the baby's skin. Avoid scented soaps and bubble baths.
How frequently should I bathe my baby?
In summer months, daily baths can be given. In winters, dip bath may be given twice/thrice a week and rest of the days, it is preferable to sponge the baby.
Hair wash can be given twice a week.
A word of caution:
Never leave your baby unattended to in the bath tub.Bath tub should be disinfected after use. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult the doctor and ask a free question.