Saturday, April 20, 2013
How to Bathe My Baby
Parents of their first child may think that they should bathe their newborn every day. This comes from the misconception that what's good for me is good for my child. Even though most adults bathe every day, this doesn't mean that you should bathe your child every day. Bathing your child daily can cause their new skin to dry out. You should use your judgment when determining when to bathe your child. We usually bathe my daughter every two or three days depending on the day and what she gets into. For the first few weeks your child is home, you will not want to bathe your child in a "bath." It is recommended that you give your newborn sponge baths or towel baths.
You should get some good baby shampoo and baby body wash. I would also recommend buying some baby oil. I do see countless parents buy baby oil just to have it sit there without being used. Baby oil can be used after bath time to moisturize your baby's skin. You do not have to use it all the time. However, if you notice that your child is having drying issues you can apply a little on the skin. It should not be used like a body lotion. It is not meant to be used as a moisturizer. Rather, it is used to trap the natural oils your baby's skin produces. You can also use baby lotion to help moisturize your baby's skin. Do not use normal lotions as these are not designed to be used on babies. They may contain perfumes or chemicals that are not healthy for young children.
There are many options out there when it comes to bathtubs. For the first months we used a small plastic shell tub that fits inside your homes bathtub. I recommend you use this type of tub until your child is able to sit up and hold themselves up. At the point my daughter was able to hold herself up, we transitioned into an inflatable bath. This bath provided the space for her to move around and play in, without the danger of a regular bathtub. Eventually we transitioned her into the real tub. We waited until she was able to master the art of walking. She started walking at about 10 months. Every child is different and these milestones will happen at different times.
Bath time can be learning time. We bought our daughter floating hippos and ducks. We eventually taught her to identify the difference between the hippos and ducks. We also bought a set of letters and numbers that stick to the sides of the tub. The letters are made of foam and become sticky whenever they are wet. We take every moment we can to teach her new things.
Safety is paramount during bath time. Never leave your baby alone in the tub for any amount of time, period! This short time is when accidents happen. You must also make sure not to place your child in water that is too hot or cold. There is an old but proven method to test the temperature of the water. You can dip your forearm into the water to test the temperature. There are also great tools that can accurately tell you whether the temperature is right. My sister actually bought me a floating turtle that has a digital temperature display. It also has a blinking light that blinks whenever it is too hot or cold. The inflatable duck tub we bought also had a blue dot that turned white with the word "HOT" in red, when the water was too hot. Make sure to slosh the water around before taking the temperature, as there can be pockets of hot and cold water.
Bath time should be a fun time for both you and the child. My baths I give my daughter can easily take half an hour because of all the fun playtime we have. Making bath time fun can help make it easier to get them to get into the tub.
Article by Victor M. Rodriguez of To Be A Father To Be A Father is a great resource for fathers to lean tricks and tips for being better fathers. Go to http://tobeafather.org and sign up for updates.
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