Your baby is still so small and vulnerable, so we understand that a bath or shower is very exciting for you and your little one. But with our tips, your baby will feel like a fish in the water. During the first few months of life, daily bathing is not necessary. This can dry out your baby's skin and cause irritation. Therefore, bathing or showering once or twice a week is more than enough. However, it is important to wash your baby every day to keep it clean and fresh. So mum and dad: enjoy this wonderful moment together, because before you know it, during the teenage years the bathroom door will be locked!
Imagine: a lovely bath every day. That sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Maybe for us, but bathing your baby every day is strongly discouraged. Newborn babies hardly ever get dirty, so bathing them once or twice a week is sufficient. Bathing or showering your baby too often can cause their skin to dry out, which can lead to unpleasant skin irritation. Do you want to avoid this or does the skin feel a little dry? Lubricate your little one with bath oil, baby oil or baby cream. It is important that you freshen up your little one daily with a washcloth or baby towel. Because you like to start the day or go to bed refreshed, don't you? We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but when your little one starts to tiger and crawl, it's advisable to bathe him or her daily (Pregnancy Portal, 2019)!
The perfect bathing moment
It is always a bit of a search for the right moment, because you have to deal with two agendas. That of the baby and that of the parent. It is very important that you feel comfortable, but even more important: is your baby ready for a bath? So watch and listen carefully to your little one. Is your baby awake, excited and fed a while ago? Then it's green light and bath time can begin. It is very important to bathe your baby in between feedings, there is a chance that he will spit up when his stomach is full or become restless when his stomach is empty (Pregnancy Portal, 2019). A bath in the evening can help your baby relax, so he will sleep like a rose (Praktijk de Wolk, s.d.). But again, every baby is different. Therefore, go on a search for the perfect bath time together with your baby.
What do you need?
Prepare everything you need during and after your bath so that it goes safely, smoothly and pleasantly. Good preparation is half the battle. Let's start with the baby bathYou can also give your baby a bath, a bath thermometer (or your elbow) and possibly a water toy. Put a towel or hydrophilic cloth on the changing mat, clean diaper, Prepare some clothes and if necessary a cream or oil (Praktijk de Wolk, s.d.). Tip of the day: put your clothes on the heater or a warm hot water bottle. In addition to feeling pleasant, it also ensures that your baby's body temperature does not drop immediately after the nice warm bath (Grotenhuis, 2020). Take your time and experience along the way what you find handy to have on hand. Are there any essential products that you use besides our tips? If so, please share them with us!
Preparing the bath
The bath can cool down quickly if the bathing area is cold. So let the room warm up, about 24 degrees is ideal. Rinse the baby bath and fill it up with water. The perfect temperature for the bath is 37 degrees. You can check this with the bath thermometer or with your elbow. Yes you read that right, with your elbow! Elbows are very sensitive and therefore feel the heat very well. If the temperature of water and your elbow is the same, then the water temperature is good. Go get your little one and wipe their bottom if necessary, the bathing fun is finally about to begin (Pregnancy Portal, 2019)!
The bathing moment is finally here!
After a great deal of preparation, your baby can now take a bath. The moment of pleasure is about to begin, but please note that safety is paramount! Always support the neck and make sure you and your baby hold on with one hand (Pregnancy Portal, 2019). Mieke Cotterink of VeiligheidNL advises parents not to get distracted during bath time. An accident can happen at any time, so put your phone on silent: the rest of the world can wait, first it's time for you and your baby to enjoy the bath (Grotenhuis, 2020). With your free hand, wash your baby's entire body. You can do this with your hands or a soft washcloth. In the first few months of your baby's life, it is not yet necessary to use soap. If you do prefer to use soap, choose products that are suitable for babies. Don't skip a spot and give attention to the skin folds, hollows of the knees, buttocks, pubic area, armpits, navel, behind the ears and between the fingers and toes. A bath between five to ten minutes is more than enough (Pregnancy Portal, 2019). Talk, laugh or sing to your baby and make it a wonderful moment together!
Bathing or showering together
In addition to the oft-repeated baby bathIf you have a baby, you can also take a bath or shower together with your baby. For many parents this feels like a very safe choice, because you can intervene immediately if something happens. Besides the safety, many parents find sharing the moment very enjoyable and cosy. The skin-to-skin contact creates a strong bond between parent and child. Do you feel insecure about taking a bath or shower with your baby because you feel your baby might slip out of your hands? Special shower gloves have been designed for this. In this way, you can calmly get used to it and develop confidence for this moment together (Grotenhuis, 2020). Parents, enjoy! Or as the cliché saying goes: live, laugh, love!
Dry off a bit
We're almost there, but not quite! Now it's time to dry and dress your little one. Before you start, we would like to warn you that there is a big chance your baby will not like being dried. Therefore, try to pat your baby dry and not rub it. Pay enough attention to the skin folds, otherwise they may become stained. The nappy and the (warm) clothes can be put on, and we advise you to wear a cap during the autumn and winter months (Pregnancy Portal, 2019).
You'll get used to it, believe us!
The last seven paragraphs will become part of your routine in no time and bathing your baby will be something you just do! Give yourself time to get used to it and find your own handiwork. We try to give you guidelines with our knowledge and expertise, but you are the one who has to do it. Make the moment your own and listen to the needs of all parties. Have fun swimming!
Grotenhuis, L. T. (2020, November 17). How to bathe your baby safely? Consumers' Association. https://www.consumentenbond.nl/kind-en-veiligheid/veilig-in-bad
Practice the Cloud. (s.d.). Your baby in the bath, 5 tips for a relaxed bath time. Midwifery practice De Wolk. https://www.vroedvrouwenpraktijkdewolk.be/praatkraam/je-baby-in-bad/
Pregnancy Portal. (2019). Bathing your baby? Here's how to do it! https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/baby/verzorging/je-baby-in-bad-doen-zo-doe-je-dat