That first bath can come as a bit of a shock -- for parent and newborn. But before you know it, bath-time will be great fun for all of you. In the meantime, to help clean-ups go as smoothly as possible, print out this handy bath-time guide.Things to Know:
- Most experts say that newborns don't need daily baths. Two or three baths a week is usually sufficient.
- Until the umbilical cord falls off and the circumcision (if any) heals, stick with sponge baths to avoid infection.
- It's not really necessary to use soap on a newborn or young infant unless the weather has been very hot or he's gotten especially dirty from spitting-up or a bowel movement. When you do use soap, use it toward the end of the bath, so the baby doesn't sit too long in soapy water, which can dry out his skin.
- Baby's hair only needs to be washed once or twice a week. You can use mild baby soap or baby shampoo. If your baby doesn't have much hair, a washcloth will work fine. As hair grows, keep a cup close by for rinsing (cradle his head in your hand and tilt it back as your rinse so water doesn't run into his eyes).
- Make sure the room where you bathe the baby is warm and draft-free.
- If your baby hates being bathed in his tub, keep giving him sponge baths. But every few weeks be sure to try using the baby tub. If your baby dislikes being naked in the tub, try covering his back or belly with a wet washcloth as you bathe his other parts.
- A baby should not be bathed in an adult bathtub until he can sit up on his own, usually at about six months of age.