Bathing Your Baby

Bathe your baby before a feed. Avoid bathing the baby too soon after a feed as it may make him or her uncomfortable and cause him or her to spit out the feed


Preparation for the bath

Ensure the room is warm and free of draught. Get everything ready before you begin. Never leave your baby unattended during bathing time.

Wash the bath basin, pour cold water in first then hot water. Fill the water to about 7.5 to 10 centimetres in depth. Mix the water well. Remove any jewellery on your hands to avoid scratching the baby. Dip your elbow into the water to make sure that the water is comfortable warm and not too hot.

Preparing your baby

  • Place your baby on a bath towel on top of a protective mat. Do this in your baby’s cot or bed.
  • Talk to your baby and reassure him
  • Gently undress your baby, leaving the nappy on. Wrap him or her with the towel.

Cleaning baby’s eyes

– Make sure your hands are washed and cleaned.
– Dip a piece of cotton wool into a bowl of cool boiled water and squeeze dry.
– Clean the baby’s eyes with the wet cotton wool starting from the inner corner of his eyes moving outwards.
– Use a new piece of cotton wool for each eye.

Cleaning the face & hair
– Wash your baby’s face with a piece of damp cotton wool or face cloth.
– Wash from the centre of his face outwards.
– Squeeze 2-3 drops of bath lotion into the water and mix well.
– Tuck your baby’s body under your left arm with your left palm supporting the head and neck.
– Tilt the head back over the bath basin to prevent soapy water from dripping down the face.
– Wash the hair, outer ears, and then dry his head gently.

Cleaning the buttocks and genital area
– Unwrap the baby and remove the nappy. Clean the buttocks & genital area with wet wipes or cotton wool from front to back if necessary.

Cleaning the body
– Support your baby’s head, neck and shoulders using your left forearm and grip his left upper arm with your left hand.
– Slip your right arm under him and grasp his left thigh with your right palm.
– Lift the baby gently and place him in the bath. Keep shoulders and face above water level.
– Wash the front of his body, arms, legs, and genital area.
– Hold him forward by supporting his chin above water with your right wrist or forearm and grip his left armpit. Wash his back and buttocks.
– Sing or talk to your baby as you bathe him. Make bath time enjoyable.
– When you are ready, lift him out of the tub the same way you put him in.
– Place baby gently on the towel and pat him dry, especially behind the ears, between his fingers and toes, armpits, neck, groin area, and the skin folds area

Cleaning & care of the umbilical cord
– Keep the umbilical area clean and dry.
– Wet a small piece of cotton wool in a bowl of boiled cool water or use spirit swab as instructed.
– Swab the base of the umbilical cord between the skin fold and the cord stump.
– The umbilical cord usually dries up and drops off at about 7-10 days after birth.
– If you notice the umbilical area is red, bleeding or has foul smelly discharge, consult your doctor for advice.

Completing the bath
– If you are applying baby lotion, put some on your hand before using it on your baby’s skin.
– Do not apply talcum powder on the umbilical cord and genital area.
– Put on the nappy and dress him according to the environment’s temperature.
– Do not over-wrap your body
– Cuddle your baby to reassure him or give him a massage after the bath.

Daddy can also try to bath the baby too as it is an excellent opportunity for bonding. With your baby feeling clean, fresh and comfortable, he usually sleeps better.


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