24 hours after my son was born, it was time for his first bath. This, I learned, is a big newborn deal. I had no idea this was such a major rite of passage, but, it turns out, I wasn’t completely wrong.
Prior to 2017, it was pretty common practice to bathe a baby fairly soon after birth. Birth, bath, bond, boom! Recent research has shown that not only is it okay to wait to bathe, but that the delay is really beneficial for both baby and mom. Studies have shown that babies that were bathed 14 hours after birth were less likely to have issues controlling their temperature and blood sugar levels and tended to be more successful in breastfeeding.
All these benefits were obviously a huge win for me and my son, but when the nurse came to hose my little guy off, I was a little nervous. Also, to add to my worry, I had never bathed a tiny baby before. What if he got soap in his eyes or I didn’t wash between his toes right?! As I am a visual learner, and a sports fan, I decided to treat my baby’s first bath like it was an instant replay at a football game. I needed video footage to refer back to once we had left the hospital. I also needed a detailed play-by-play of what was happening on the field. So I recorded my son’s first bath from start to finish, asking the nurse to narrate exactly what she was doing along the way.
Come to find out that bathing a baby isn't that hard, but it can be intimidating starting out. Babies are so tiny, so wiggly, and when hosed down, pretty slippery. My main takeaways after reviewing my bath time documentary were these:
- Make it snappy. My baby is wet and cold, so he doesn’t need a luxurious and time-consuming bathing experience.
- No need to go overboard. Early baths are really pretty basic — all you'll need is water, wash cloths and extremely gentle soap. As your baby gets older, it will be time for bath toys, bubbles and light shows. But for now, he or she won't be super high-maintenance in the bath department.
- They don’t need a bath everyday. Since they're not doing much aside from wiggling around, babies don’t really work up a sweat. Every other day should get the job done, unless your baby has an accident.
It will be a little tricky starting out, but you will get the hang of it. Just breathe and bathe! Here are some mom-approved products to get you started.
Mom-approved baby bath products
If your house is like mine and you have two full showers and zero bathtubs, this is a great option for you. This bathing tub is foldable, easily transportable (AKA good for travel) and is great for newborns and kids up to age four.
Can babies get dandruff? Well, sort of. Most babies will have a bout of cradle cap, where they develop crusty little scales on top of their scalps. It doesn’t hurt and it’s not itchy, but it’s sort of gross looking and flakes off like dandruff. This three-step system will help nip the situation in the bud and will allow your little one to wear his or her favorite black onesie worry-free!
Something you will learn early on is that a baby’s nails are really thin, but they're sharp like daggers and will need to be trimmed. To overcome the initial fear of possibly maiming my baby, I needed the most optimal environment to cut my son's nails. The best tip I ever received was to trim my son’s nails after his bath. He will be completely zenned out from being in a nice warm tub, and thus less likely to wiggle about.
Aquaphor, a name you will get to know as well as your own. It’s the cure for everything: diaper rash, dry skin, chapped lips, you name it! This great gift set comes with healing ointment, diaper rash cream, wash & shampoo and water wipes. Everything you and your baby need before, during and after bathtime.
When your baby gets old enough to fight you on bathtime, throw these little guys into the water and await the positive attitude change. Great for ages three and up, these little light cubes get the fun glowing and fade away as the water drains away.
Moms in my network rave about this Fisher-Price tub. Durable and flexible, it grows with your baby from that first newborn bath all the way to that roomy toddler tub time.
Keep your baby’s bath water warm and their tub clean with this unique tub. This tub features an innovative design that allows for a constant flow of clean and warm water for your baby. This tub also includes a built-in digital thermometer so you know your baby’s bath water is just right.
Another great way to coax your little one into the bath is with a fun and friendly bath mitt. This mitt features an interior soap pocket for bar and liquid soap, and is also machine-washable.
A great alternative to traditional bathtubs, this tub fits nicely in most sinks and is good for newborns up to six months.
I am a sucker for baby hooded towels. Honestly, any hooded towel will get the job done, but one that wraps your baby in tiny little dinosaurs is super Instagrammable. This package comes with three towels and six washcloths.
They call it rinse and run technology, but I call it a godsend. This handy splash guard keeps water and soap out of your baby’s eyes and mouth and keeps never-ending whining out of your ears. Everybody wins!
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