At our workshops, attendees always ask how often should they give their baby a bath. There's really no set number, but “it is recommended to stick to sponge baths until the cord falls off, usually between 7-10 days,” pediatrician Dr. Ina Atutubotells SmartParenting.com.ph.
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day. “It’s recommended that you only bathe your baby thrice a week,” says pediatrician Dr. Jamies Isip-Cumpas. “You can, however, wipe down your baby whenever you see the need. Clean the areas that get dirty like the baby’s diaper area, the face, and even the neck,” she added.
And as for the right time to give baby a bath, most moms like to do it in the morning, but there is no "right" time. “Bathing in the afternoon or at night does not really have any correlation with getting sick,” says Dr. Faith Anne Buenaventura-Alcazaren, a pediatrician at the Perpetual Succor Hospital. Colds are caused by viruses, not cold water. Consider instead a time of day when you're not rushed, and your baby is alert.
Now, how to bathe your baby, our co-presenter at the Smart Parenting Baby Shower and Smart Parenting Convention, Nivea Baby, shared a quick but useful step-by-step guide.
Prep everything you’ll need. Always have one hand on your child whether you’re giving him a sponge bath or bathing him in a baby tub. So, prepare everything within reach before you even take his clothes off. If you forget something or have to leave, take your baby with you.
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Soap and shampoo
A washcloth or bath sponge (optional)
A clean diaper and a change of clothes
Undress your baby. Remove the soiled diaper and use the clean part to give your baby’s bottom an initial wipe. Then, using baby wipes, clean baby’s soiled skin thoroughly and getting in between the folds.
Check the water temperature before placing your baby in the tub. A good temperature to aim for is around 38°C, according to Mayo Clinic. Dip your elbow in the water as it's a better judge of temperature than your hand. “When you put your elbow in the water, it should feel warm, not hot,” says the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Place your baby gently into the tub feet first. Use your left hand to support your baby and your right hand to wash him.
Scoop water with your hands and wet your baby. Scrub her gently with mild soap or cleanser, using a washcloth if you prefer, from head down to the feet. Don’t forget to wash crevices. “Pay special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck and in the diaper area. Also wash between your baby's fingers and toes,” said Mayo Clinic.
You don't need to pour water on your baby's face. Take a clean washcloth that's wet with water and use this to wash your baby's eyes and mouth.
Five to 10 minutes is enough bath time. “Don’t soak your baby in his tub. Just a quick bath is enough and then rinse him right away,” said Dr. Isip-Cumpas.
Lift your baby out of the bath with one hand under her back and the other under her bottom.
Wrap your baby in a towel. Place him down on a changing pad and pat his skin dry — don't rub.
Dress your baby. Dr. Isip-Cumpas says clothes made from cotton are best. And it’s not just the clothes either, she adds. This also goes for your baby’s bedding, blanket, towels, burp cloths and other pieces of fabric he regularly comes in contact with.