Bathtub Safety for Infants
Bathing an infant may possibly be on the list of top 20 trickiest things of all time. They’re itty bitty, incredibly slippery, and oh so fragile. But, alas, they still need to be washed! Infancy goes by in a blink of an eye, yet some aspects of it – including bathing – seem to take up so much time and effort that it seems to drag on and on! Safety plays a huge roll in the daunting task of bath time, so in an effort to refresh and hopefully ease some of your bathing worries, here are some of the basics of infant bathing safety:
Necessities close byHaving all needed items within arms reach is a good start to a safe bath. This includes washcloths, soaps, a towel, and anything else you think you may need in this time period. It is strictly not okay to leave baby unattended, even if it is to just grab something in the other room real quick! So preparation is key!
Practical bathing space
Safe soapsTiny baby skin is so super sensitive that even some basic adult soaps or lotions can easily irritate it. Baby shampoo, soap, lotion, and creams are very specifically made so as to not harm or agitate delicate skin.
Safe temperatureIt is recommended that you use your elbow or inside of your wrist to judge the temperature of your baby’s bath water rather than your hand. It should be lukewarm, definitely not too hot and not too cold. There are also some bath thermometers to help with this if it’s something that stresses you out (like it did for me with my first). They say anywhere between 90 degrees and 100 degrees is the right temperature. I like to stick with the midway-higher side of that range, closer to body temperature.
Washing processAfter baby is born, a nurse will assist with (or solely perform) baby’s first bath. In doing so, the nurse should talk through what he/she is doing and the most proper method of the washing process. Baby’s face should be washed first, starting with the eyes. Then the body, ending with the genitals. And last is the hair (or head if your babe is more on the bald side…). This should all be done with a gentle washcloth, mild soap, and a light touch.
Proper rinsing and dryingThis is especially important for the chubbier babes! Wrinkles and rolls and hard-to-reach areas don’t always get the attention they need when it comes to rinsing and drying. Perhaps it takes the hard way for everybody to learn the importance of this step, as it’s difficult to miss the residue, smells, and sores as a result. With my second baby (much chubbier than my first), I found that towels were a little too thick and too rough to get into those areas to dry them off, and while the baby washcloths worked just fine, I experimented one day and found that dried up wipes worked best to perform the important job of drying between my baby’s rolls! Very soft, very thin, and a good purpose for poorly sealed wipe packs!
An extra set of hands
If available, use the help of someone else, particularly when it comes to getting baby out of the bath. Like I mentioned before, wet babes are slippery little fellas, so being able to hand off the glassy, wiggly, dripping, and possibly unhappy baby to someone waiting and ready with a dry towel seems a lot easier than fidgeting to get them wrapped up nice and warm all by yourself! Of course, this extra set of hands may not be available as often as you’d like, so just be sure to be incredibly careful when maneuvering from the tub to the towel.