Ah, yes; bathtime.
I remember bringing my son home for the first time almost 10 years ago. It was absolutely terrifying. Like, honest to goodness fear as both myself and my now ex-husband sat there staring at this new little person we were very suddenly fully responsible for as he snoozed in his car seat.
And then we realized we would have to give him a bath.
What You Need
When the anxiety and first-time-parent jitters finally subsided (a little) and we realized after his first explosive poop that we most definitely couldn’t avoid the bathtime routine, we started to think about what we’d need to get through the experience safely and properly.
If I can give you one solid piece of new-mum advice it’s this: have a bath seat for your wee one. Because wet babies are slippery. And they move. And twitch. And are unpredictable. You don’t need the added stress of trying to hold on to your newborn when they are covered in soap!
So, it is worth investing in a bathing chair/seat that not only fits in your bathtub, but also in your kitchen sink.
Apart from that, you can use things you already have around the house: Soft wash cloth, a jug to gently pour warm water over your baby to rinse, and a warm, fluffy towel to wrap them up in afterwards.
Use tear-free shampoo, because I promise you that no matter how hard you try you WILL get soap in your baby’s eye. And that does NOT make you a bad mum. We all do it. Trust me. That’s why they make tear-free shampoos and soaps.
That First Bath
Of course, the first instinct when giving a bath is to give it, naturally, in the bathtub. But, I’m here to tell you that you might want to reconsider that with a newborn. The kitchen sink is really the very best place to give those first few baths, until you get the hang of things.
The kitchen sink means you are standing (not crouched over uncomfortably), and baby is in a small space and contained.
I used to keep a cloth over my son’s tummy, and constantly run warm water over his tummy and body to keep his temperature regulated and warm. Gentle wipes and not too many suds are the best way to go about bathing your newborn.
A baby bathtub will certainly make bath time much easier for you and your baby. Some baby bathtubs accommodate infants up to 4 years old, and include a non-slip foam to hold your baby in place: a well worthy purchase! These will save you unnecessary hassle and will make bath time with your baby much more enjoyable.
Bathing as they grow
As your baby grows and gets bigger, they are going to grow out of that bath seat, and they are going to be able to sit up on their own (and they are going to want to do that). This is when you can switch to the bathtub.
I would highly recommend getting yourself a stool or seat that works with the height of your bathtub so you have something to sit on.
Once baby is in the tub and sitting up, you will want to make sure they don’t fall backwards into the water, so a constant support on their back is a good thing to have. A little life hack I only learned well after my son was a baby (and something I wish I had seen when he WAS a baby) is to seat your wee one in a laundry basket in the bathtub. Sounds strange but hear me out: This way, your baby is contained and even if they lose their balance, they have a side that’s right beside them to fall back or sideways onto. You can also put toys inside the basket walls for them so they don’t feel the need or want to reach out and potentially fall over.
The Most Important Part of Bathtime
It only takes a second for things to change, so the absolute number one thing to remember when giving your newborn baby a bath is to always remain by their side and never take your eyes off them. If you have to give your baby a bath alone, make sure it’s during a time when you know you will be able to give your full attention.
Put that phone down, take photos later, and enjoy those precious moments with your young one. It might seem like an arduous task at the time, but when they start showering on their own (and leaving their clothes and towels all over the bathroom – sigh) I promise you, you’ll miss it.