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15 Bathing

| Articles | February 16, 2008

Bath time is a special time of bonding with a baby and her parents. It’s a time to play gently, talk and sing. Get everything you will need ready before you start! The list includes water (of course), washcloth, alcohol pads, bath towel (with hood if you have one), clean diaper, any items you routinely use during a diaper change (for little circumcised boys this would include Vaseline and gauze squares), and fresh clothes. Use a special baby wash and baby shampoo, preferably natural ones with calendula oils; regular soaps and shampoos can be too harsh or drying. Babies lose body heat very quickly, so make sure the room is warm — 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

Gently cradle your baby’s head in one hand and use the other hand to remove her clothing. Gently wash her with a soft, warm washcloth, and dry her off with a towel. If you like, you can wash one area at a time and put a fresh item of clothing on as soon as an area is washed and dried. This is not necessary unless you are in a chilly room.

It’s a good idea to start with the “less dirty” areas first, i.e. leave the diaper area until last, so you’re not washing the baby in dirty water. As you go, be sure to gently wash behind her ears; the crevices in her neck, elbows, and knees; and in between her fingers and toes. It’s a good idea to wash a newborn’s hair near the end of bath time. This will help prevent him or her from losing too much body heat. Most newborns don’t have much hair, so it is easy to sponge it with water much the same way you do the rest of the body. Almost all babies dislike getting their eyes wet. If you tip the head back just a bit and work your way from the front to the back, you can avoid getting water in your baby’s eyes.

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