Most often babies are being sent home from the hospital or birthing center without being given a bath. This puts new parents on the alert: Are baths bad for newborns? As always, you can find experts on every side to this issue. There are those saying even plain water will dry your baby’s skin out…….come on!!!
At birth your baby is growing at an incredible rate. Everything is growing and regenerating, especially skin. Some studies say as adults our skin regenerates every seven days. For a newborn it is way faster than that. If properly fed, nourished, and hydrated very little can dry out you baby’s skin. You may notice flaky skin. Most likely this is just old skin falling off to make way for the new. Simply water should not make any difference in a normal situation. If the flakey skin persists be sure to call you pediatrician. It never hurts to ask…..
There are situations where this is different. Example: Cradle Cap. Cradle Cap is the evidence of old skin falling off and unable to disappear because it is in the hair field. Thus, one can see discoloration on a baby’s head. Simply brushing baby’s hair daily (with a very soft brush) will avoid this condition. There are many ways to alleviate this problem. Wet your baby’s head and gently comb their hair with either a soft brush or a special plastic utensil made for this process (shown below). This will loosen the dead skin and remove it. You can use either coconut oil, Aquaphor, or even olive oil for this purpose. Use a very minimal amount as you do not want oily residue on you baby’s head. I always recommend the simplest option, I would use water. Be gentle. It may take a few treatments to remove the old skin. Do this once every day or two as baby’s skin is sensitive and thin and you do not what to irritate it.
Back to baths…………Pediatricians often do not tell parents when regular baths for baby should begin. I worked with a two month old baby who was still receiving baths every third day. Daddy said his baby smelled bad. This is because baby was gaining weight and breastmilk dripped into the rolls on his neck. Bathing every third day did not clean him up enough to avoid the smell. YOUR BABY SHOULD NEVER SMELL BAD WHEN CLEAN!!!!!!! Simply a sponge bath daily will resolve this. You can use very mild baby soaps if you wish, I would just use water.
Bathe your baby daily if you are comfortable with this. Definitely bathe baby after a poop or feeding disaster. I recommend bathing baby after you have been out of the house. If baby has come in contact with others and or children it is wise to clean her up when you get home. When the weather is very humid or warm wiping baby down with a cloth and changing clothing gives comfort.
My grandson spent weekends with us as a very young age. I had a large plastic bowl I would put in my kitchen sink. I filled it with warm (not hot) water and bathed him there. It put him at a great height for my back! Important for you to be comfortable while bathing! I set out a large bath towel on the counter to wrap him in after bath time. This worked beautifully until he was walking.
SIMPLICITY IS THE BEST OPTION. There are many baby bath tubs you can purchase. But then you have to store them and clean them. Initially your newborn is very difficult to hold on to. They are like spaghetti, trying to move them in and out of a bathtub is scary! Arrange a bathing system with which you are comfortable.
HOW TO BATH A NEWBORN
FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS: simply lay a thick soft towel next to your kitchen sink. Lay baby on the towel. Remove clothing and diaper. Use a soft washcloth wet with warm water and wipe baby down. Wipe her face, neck, and head. Then move onto the wrinkles in her neck, her chest, and legs. Roll her over with one hand and wipe with the other to clean her back. Wash her bottom front and back last then disagard your washcloth, If it is cold where you live, undress the top half of baby, wipe down, replace the shirt and then begin on the lower half. I recommend having another adult or mature child with you the first few times you do this. The moral support will make it easier.
Once you are comfortable bathing baby move to the kitchen sink technique. Put warm water in the bottom of a large plastic bowl. I chose plastic because it gives and it does not get cold. Be sure you can hold onto baby with comfort. If you are afraid you will drop her wait a few weeks. Try again. Use water alone unless you feel you need a very mild soap. When finished wiping baby down with a wash cloth move her to the towel beside the sink. Dry her, dress her, don’t forget the diaper, then comb her hair. She will be clean and sweet smelling!! Rah!
Veteran mom’s have baby bathing down pat. Soon you will too!!!!!
Best Wishes!! JUDY
Safety 1st® Soothing Scrub Wet Brush