Bathing Baby

By Anne Richards, MBBS, CCFP, FRCP(C) on March 14, 2007

It doesn't matter what time of day your baby has a bath. Experiment to find the time that works best for both of you. You may find that your baby is calmer and sleepier after a bath; or you may find that your baby is ready to play after a bath. Each baby is different.

However, it is not a good idea to bathe baby right after a feeding.

  • Have the room warm and the water lukewarm.
  • Hold baby securely with one arm and both hands.
  • Slowly lower baby into the water.
  • The creases in the baby's skin need to be washed every day, but a bath is not necessary.

Caution: Always test the water with your wrist or elbow to make sure the water is not too hot or too cold. Never leave your baby alone while in a tub of water - not even for a few seconds.

Wash your baby's face with clear water. A mild soap can be used on the rest of the body. Pay special attention to creases in the neck and armpits and at the top of the legs. If you use soap, be sure to rinse it all off. Dry your baby quickly. Make sure the creases are dry.

A baby's hair needs to be washed with soap or shampoo only once or twice a week. You may want to wash your baby's hair at every bath with just water. When you use soap or shampoo, rinse well and dry with a towel. Brush the hair and scalp gently. This will help prevent white flaky crusts on the scalp (cradle cap).

Care Of The Nails
Babies' nails are soft but sharp and they can easily scratch themselves. Wait until your baby is asleep and, using fine nail scissors, hold each finger very carefully and cut straight across.

Care Of The Cord
Immediately after birth, the cord is white, soft and like jelly. It quickly becomes dry, hard and black and will suddenly fall off (between 7 and 14 days). There may be a few drops of blood which will quickly go away. BCCE

By Anne Richards, MBBS, CCFP, FRCP(C)| March 14, 2007

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