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Maybe you’re expecting to deliver your sweet baby in a few weeks and are wondering how you’re going to bathe them. Or perhaps you’ve had your newborn at home for a few days and aren’t sure the best way to do bath time.
These questions can be overwhelming with all the other adjustments you’ve been making for your little one, so Dr. Sarah Li, AdventHealth for Children pediatrician helps put you at ease with these simple bath time safety tips.
Never Leave Baby Alone During Bath Time
The most important safety rule for bath time is to never leave your infant alone. Accidents happen in a blink of an eye, and a baby can drown in even an inch of water. “Never walk away from the tub or leave your baby unattended, even if it’s just for a moment,” warns Dr. Li.
Before starting bath time, gather everything you’ll need and keep it within arm’s reach. By keeping the soap, washcloth, towels, diaper and a change of clothes near you, you can make sure that you always keep one hand on your baby at all times.
Use the Right Amount of Water and Temperature
“Your bathtub is likely too large and slippery to safely wash a newborn in the early days,” says Dr. Li, “it is best to use a smaller vessel, like an infant tub or a sink.”
Fill the tub with about two inches of lukewarm water. Before setting your baby in the water, check the temperature by dipping your elbow into the water — it should be warm but not hot. Just as important as the water temperature is the air temperature in your home. Ideally, your home should be set to 75 to 80 degrees so that your baby doesn’t get too cold while you’re drying and changing them.
Unlike a bath for an adult, don’t fill the tub all the way, as a baby’s body should never be fully submerged in water. You can use a cup or your hands to scoop up water and pour it on their body throughout the bath. Keep the water shallow and safe for your little one.
Use Baby-Safe Products
A baby’s skin is incredibly sensitive, so it’s important to use the right kind of bath products to keep their skin healthy. “Just warm water and a washcloth in the first early days is more than enough,” explains Dr. Li, “a parent can also use a small amount of soap in the folds of the skin, like the neck and armpits, and moisturize afterwards.”
Use products that don’t contain added perfumes or dyes, which can be irritating and drying. Also, look for mild tear-free shampoo in case suds run into their little eyes while rinsing.
When washing your baby, you don’t need to lather on a lot of soap or shampoo. Just a small drop is enough to get them clean.
Take an Infant CPR Class
Even with all the precautions and safety measures in place, emergencies can happen. “Knowing how to perform CPR safely and correctly on an infant until medical help arrives can be lifesaving,” says Dr. Li.
At AdventHealth for Children, we’re committed to helping you feel confident in keeping your baby safe. Sign up today to take one of our infant CPR training classes.
Lean On Expert Support
Being a new mom or dad can be overwhelming, especially with everything you need to learn to keep your baby healthy and happy. But you don’t have to walk through this new season of life alone. At AdventHealth for Children and AdventHealth for Women, our team of experts is here to guide you at every step. If you need to find a pediatrician or get connected to other resources in the community, contact our Health Navigation Team at AdventHealthforChildren.com/HealthNavigator.