It’s a moment you’ve been waiting for. The umbilical chord has fallen off and he can now have his first baby bath! This is usually an exciting time for many new parents, but it can also be a stressful one, too. With these tips, you’re sure to have a smooth bath time with your little one.
Prepare the Room
After Baby is out of the bath, he can get cold quickly. Keep a little heater in the room to keep it warm. Have your towel, wash cloth and soap nearby so you don’t have to reach for it. For safety reasons, you should never leave your baby unattended in an infant tub to retrieve such items or answer the phone, etc. After his bath, consider clothing him in the same room, too, so you don’t go from one warm room to another cool room. He might not like the cool air once you remove the towel!
Drawing the Bath
The water may feel just right to you, but if could be way too hot for Baby’s sensitive skin. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should “fill the basin with two inches of water that feels warm — not hot — to the inside of your wrist or elbow.” So, be sure you turn test the water first before you place baby in to prevent him from getting hurt. If you don’t feel confident with your own sense of touch, consider purchasing an infant tub with a built-in thermometer. That way, you know how warm the water is.
Be Aware of Drownings
As your baby gets older and bath time is more frequent, remember you still can’t leave his side.
“Drowning is the second major cause of unintentional death in children younger than 20. There is no substitute for direct adult supervision when a child is around standing water,” says Libby Long, M.D., a pediatrician with Tennessee Pediatrics in Murfreesboro.
“Parents erroneously believe that they can leave the bathroom door cracked while their child is bathing and that they’ll hear their child if they’re in trouble. In fact, the majority of such drownings are silent.”
Bath seats or rings are often involved in bathtub drownings, but bath seats are not safety devices. The suction cups on the bottom can come loose and cause a baby to slip through the leg openings. If not used at the right age, Baby can even slip through the leg openings by simply twisting in place, too. This can make bath time harder for you!
“Bath seats, which are meant to support a child in a tub, are not a substitute for direct adult supervision,” says Long. “While it seems difficult to believe that a toddler can drown in inches of water, the ability to sit or stand lies beyond their problem solving abilities.”
Never leave your child alone in or near any kind of water. Don’t answer the door or phone or attend to other children without taking your baby with you or draining the tub.
Have Fun with It
Be sure to show Baby a good time. You don’t want him to see you all stressed and uncomfortable or he will relate that with all bath times. Have some small, bath tub safe toys to play with. There are cute wash cloth finger puppets that are great for little ones. You can make a story and talk to Baby as you wash him. Encourage splashing. In the end, you may be soaked, but it will be worth it.