Contrary to what Calvin & Hobbes taught us, plenty of children – and babies – can make it through bathtime without flooding the house and soaking their parents. In fact, plenty of babies enjoy bathing. Baby‘s first bath, when she is about 2 or 3 weeks old and her umbilical stump has just fallen off, may not be her favorite thing, but once she gets a little more used to the idea of water, she can start to enjoy it so much more! This end-of-the-day ritual can be a convenient occasion for you and Baby to enjoy some healthy TLC, but it’s also a time to stay extra vigilant. Keep the following tips in mind the next time you’re drawing a bath, and good clean fun will follow.
- Set the stage
Before you turn on the faucet, gather up the curling iron, hair dryer and all other electrical bathroom devices. Keep them in a secure storage space until after the end of Baby’s bath.
- Less is more
Keeping the bathwater level between 2 and 4 inches will give you plenty of liquid to work with while ensuring a comfortable margin of maritime safety for Baby. The water should be warm but not hot. You can test the temperature by dipping your wrist or elbow in the water. If you think it feels too hot, add some cold water pronto.
- Eyes on the prize
Even an inch of bath water can pose a danger to babies. Once bathtime begins, it’s super important that you stay with Baby from the first scrub to that final gurgle of water disappearing down the drain. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping not just your eyes, but at least one hand on Baby at all times. This means that, in the event of an unavoidable interruption, such as a text alert or an oven timer announcing that your Italian roasted chicken is about to become Mt. Pompeii blackened chicken, you’ll have to wrap Baby up in a towel and take her with you while you straighten things out.
- Keep it clean
Babies tend to have sensitive skin. And at this tender age, shampoos and bath gels can do more harm than good. If you decide to wash Baby with soap, opt for a milder brand designed for babies and try to avoid having her sit in the soapy water for too long once the washing is done. And instead of applying soap directly to Baby‘s skin, you can apply soap to a wet washcloth and clean Baby gently with that.
- Say no to bubbles
Bubble baths can be entertaining, but the chemicals in that bubble bath mix might irritate Baby’s eyes. Save this special treat until the toddler years have passed.
- Beware the faucet
Between powerful cascades of H20 and metal handles that can become hot to touch – even when dispensing lukewarm water – the faucet end of the bathtub should be considered a No Baby Zone.
- Cozy is king
There’s nothing that can turn a fun bathtime upside down faster than a cold bathroom. You might want to think about running the water beforehand to get some steam going. It’s also a good idea to have a warm towel and diaper ready for after the bath to keep Baby nice and cozy right away.
- Make it a matted bath
This only applies once Baby has graduated from the infant tub. Many of us have had at least one painful encounter with a slippery bathtub surface. Spare Baby any bumps or bruises by getting a rubber bath mat that you can affix to the floor of your tub.
- “AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, December 18 2015. Web.
- “Bathing an infant.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 18 2016. Web.
- “Immunization Schedule for Infants and Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017. Web.
- “Water Safety Tips.” United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. United States Consumer and Product Safety Commission. Web.