Close at Hand
Put together everything you'll need ahead of time and set it within arm's reach before you lower baby into the bath. Squirt body wash on a washcloth so you won't have to futz with one hand after you've started to clean her.
Test the Waters
Fill an infant tub or clean kitchen sink with about two inches of warm water. Check the temperature with the underside of your wrist, the most sensitive part of an adult's body. Gently place your baby in the tub while supporting her head.
Be sure to clean baby's neck, armpits, bends of the legs, and in the folds of the skin, where collected moisture can cause irritation. To prevent dry skin, use body wash only a couple times a week. If you bathe her more often, use plain water.
To prevent chills from a wet head, wash her hair last, lightly massaging shampoo into her scalp. For cradle cap, put shampoo on a baby brush and rub in a circular motion. To rinse, cup your hand over her forehead to keep water out of her eyes.
When taking baby out of the tub, hold her under the head and neck for support. Place your other hand beneath her bottom, making sure you get a good grip on both legs, then carefully lift her out of the tub. Wrap her up right away in a towel.
- Mild baby shampoo
- Mild body wash
- Baby brush (to treat cradle cap)
- Towel for post-bath
- Wait until the umbilical stump falls off before giving baby a tub bath.
- If you use an infant tub on a countertop, consider using a nonskid pad underneath.
- To reduce the risk of scalding, set your water heater to 120? or lower. Whether or not your heater is set, make sure you always check the water temperature.
Originally published in the September 2010 issue of American Baby magazine.