Bath time with your baby can go two ways. It’s either a fun time to bond and have your child explore the sensory sensation of water, or a tear-filled challenge. But just because bath time is hard now doesn’t mean it will always be stressful. By making a few adjustments, like choosing the right tub, the right temperature, and the right time, you can help your baby enjoy baths.
We’ve rounded up nine helpful tips to help make bath time an enjoyable experience for your baby.
Tip 1: Keep your baby warm while bathing
Your baby’s body loses heat four times faster than yours. And because you’re not going to submerge them in water, bath time can make your baby chilly and uncomfortable.
If you sponge bathe your newborn, you can keep him wrapped in a towel except for the part you are actively cleaning.
Once they’ve moved on to a baby bath, it gets a little trickier. You shouldn’t have them in more than a few inches of water, but that leaves their little bodies exposed to the air. Warm your bathroom up to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure that you gently splash the bathwater on your baby throughout. You can also cover them with a warm washcloth and periodically dip it in bath water to maintain their temperature.
All of this might make you want to use hot water, but that’s not the best idea. The water doesn’t have to be very hot to burn your baby or dry out their skin. The temperature should be warm, not hot, when you test it inside your wrist. If you have a bath thermometer, it should read 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Tip 2: bathe your baby only a few times a week
Until your baby becomes mobile, he doesn’t need a daily bath. Mayo Clinic experts say give your baby a bath three times a week is probably enough. More than it can irritate your baby’s delicate skinmaking bath time less enjoyable for them.
This means you don’t have to force bath time if your baby isn’t in the mood. If he’s tired, hungry, or just plain grumpy, you can skip the bath that day. As long as you clean their diaper area thoroughly each time they need to be changed, they should stay clean enough for another day.
Tip 3: Get ready before you start bath time
You should never leave your child alone in the bath. Babies can drown even in small amounts of water. Plus, leaving them alone can make bath time scarier.
Before running the water, make sure you have everything you need:
- Gentle baby soap and baby shampoo
- Bath toys, if your baby is old enough to enjoy them
- Their baby bath, if any
- Towels to dry them off
- A clean diaper for afterwards
The last thing you want is to have to run into the next room because you forgot something. But if you do, be sure to bring your baby with you (wrapped in a towel so he doesn’t get cold).
Tip 4: Use soap sparingly while bathing
Although you may have images of a bath filled with bubbles, skip it. Not only can too much soap irritate your baby’s skin, but it can also lead to urinary tract infections. Instead, stick with a few drops of baby-safe soap or shampoo to get rid of any dirt.
Your baby’s skin probably won’t need lotion afterwards, but you can talk to your pediatrician if you notice dry skin. Remember that anything you put on your baby’s skin can upset its delicate balance.
Tip 5: Make bathing part of your baby’s routine
Your baby may feel more comfortable in the bath if you make it part of his routine. Some parents choose to incorporate bath time into the bedtime routine, for example, using it to soothe their babies as they prepare them for bedtime.
You don’t have to set a hard and fast rule about when to bathe your baby. If they are difficult one evening, you can try again the next morning. Forcing bath time can make it even more unpleasant.
Tip 6: Have fun while bathing baby
If your baby seems to like water, use bath time as play time. Splash around gently and let them play in the water too. If you end up staying in the bath for a while and need to add more hot water, run the cold water first to avoid scalding your baby and be sure to add more water. lukewarm water, not hot.
Once your baby starts playing with toys, you may want to introduce them to bath time to make it more fun.
Tip 7: Use the right bathtub for your baby
To prepare both of you for an enjoyable bath, get the right type of bathtub for them.
While they have their umbilical stump, that means no bathtub at all. Your baby should only receive sponge baths.
Once the umbilical area has healed, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended using a safe and sturdy tub without a liner or net. This will give your baby the support they need while freeing up your hands to gently wash them, keep soap out of their eyes and tend to their needs.
When your baby can sit up on their own, you can use a full-size tub, but only fill it a few centimeters.
Tip 8: Don’t rush bath time
If you are stressed at bath time, your baby can feel it. If you’re feeling rushed, consider postponing the bath until the next day.
Bath time should be a time for you and your baby to bond, maybe even play in the water together. If you have to hurry, you’ll both have a less enjoyable time.
Tip 9: Make your baby comfortable after bathing
Does it feel good to get out of the shower and wrap yourself in a big fluffy towel in a warm room? Your baby will also appreciate this feeling.
Right after the bath is finished, wrap a towel around them and use a second towel or washcloth to gently dry them off. Remember to get inside the pleats and rolls. Have a diaper and clean clothes, pajamas or bathrobe handy to put them in something that will keep them warm and comfortable after their bath.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.