Is your little one hating bath time? Mine did too at first. Here are a few tips for how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Both my boys learned to enjoy bath time, but they didn’t initially love it. Maybe it’s because they were both preterm babies. I think we tend to underestimate how scary it can be for our little ones to find themselves submerged in water, cold, with somebody scrubbing them.
Bathing my youngest had added challenges because as a newborn my clubfoot baby was often either in foot taping or a plaster cast. He hated being bathed, but the small little tricks I’m about to show you helped him enjoy bath time.
I’ve found there are three main reasons babies may dislike bath time.
- They’re too cold
- The water is too hot
- They are insecure
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to share what helped us and maybe it will show you how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Tools of the Trade
- Swaddling / Receiving blanket
- Space heater
- Hooded towel
- Baby tub
- A soft wash cloth
- Your favorite gentle bath soap
- Baby oil
Warm Things Up
The first thing I recommend doing is by closing all the doors in and around your bathroom. Set up a small space heater on the floor or adjacent counter top. Allow the room to warm up from 10-15 minutes while you prepare other things. Babies equate warmth with security, so the goal is to keep them as warm as possible.
Lay Out Clothes
Consider where you’ll be taking your baby directly after his or her bath. For me, I bathed them in my master bathroom, so I would immediately take them to a changing table on my dresser. I recommend laying out clothes in advance. Get their little outfit out and ready so you can lessen the time they will be naked or cold.
Additionally, lay a hooded towel directly near the baby bathtub for a quick transfer.
Prepare the Bath
Two to four inches of water is all you need. Babies have extra sensitive skin. Dyes and fragrances can sometimes irritate baby’s skin and may contribute to eczema. If this is the case, try opting for a natural fragrance-free, dye free soap. We loved Aveeno.
Pro-tip: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow. It should feel warm, but not hot.
If water is too hot you can add cool water. Just make sure to swirl it around to eliminate any hot spots.
Undress your baby. Once naked, swaddle in a receiving blanket. Put your baby in the water with the swaddle. The swaddling blanket will not only keep baby warm, but will also make him or her feel more secure.
Always start by washing their face first while the water and cloth is still clean. I liked to think of it as a massage with a towel. I dip it in the warm water and slowly wipe their little eyes and nose like a gentle massage. Save shampooing the hair for last. (I’ve got a great way of doing it) Don’t forget to wash the neck well as milk tends to collect in the skin folds.
Continue washing your baby downward from head to toes. Remove one limb from the swaddle at a time so the rest of the body stays warm while you wash. Frequently pour warm water over baby with a cup to keep him or her from getting cold. Take care to clean well in the folds of skin.
Take your baby out of the tub and quickly transfer to a dry hooded towel. Swaddle your baby tightly to keep him or her warm. Put your baby in a football hold with one arm using your non-dominant arm. Support their head with your hand. Using a football hold will make your baby feel more secure when water is going over his or her head. Shampoo your baby’s head over the tub. Use a washcloth or soft brush to gently exfoliate baby’s head to reduce chances of cradle cap. Pour clean warm water over baby’s head while continuing to cradle. When done, cover baby’s head with the hood of the towel and gently massage hair dry.
Dry your baby well while still in the warm environment. Once dry, consider applying baby oil or rehydrating their skin to help reduce eczema or flaky skin. Make sure they are nice and toasty for a while after their bath, by putting them in warmer clothes (like long sleeves). Babies enjoy bath time a lot more if they are kept warm and secure throughout the process. This bath time only took me about 15 minutes on average.
I hope I’ve shared a few things that will make momming a little more enjoyable. Thanks for reading. Before you go, don’t forget to PIN this post for later or share it with a new mama. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog before you go.