Bathing a newborn can be stressful, with a wriggly, slippery and possibly bawling baby to keep safe, comfortable and warm, whilst also getting them washed, dried and dressed. And all with just the one pair of hands!
Here are our tips to make things easier, along with some of our best baby bath-time buys.
1. If you or your little one find bath-time difficult, you don't need to do it every day. A daily 'top and tail' (cleaning their face and nappy area) plus a bath once or twice weekly should suffice and will actually be less drying for newborn skin.
2. Once your baby is a bit older, they will probably settle into enjoying baths more and you can integrate one into their evening routine, helping them wind down before bed.
3. Many babies particularly dislike having their hair washed. It only needs doing once a week unless they've ended up with something unpleasant stuck into it!
4. Get everything ready and close to hand before you put your baby in the water. It's never okay to leave a baby alone in the bath (even in a bath support), so running to another room to grab that forgotten towel is not an option. 5. If your baby's upper body is exposed out of the water, pouring cupfuls of warm water or laying a soaked flannel on these areas will help keep him or her from getting cold.
6. The ideal temperature for baby bathwater is around 36 or 37 degrees centigrade. A bath thermometer isn't really necessary but many first time parents feel more confident using one instead of the old elbow in the water trick. They're relatively cheap anyway.
7. You don't need toiletries for new babies – plain unadulterated water is enough to clean infants and less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
8. If you do like the idea of lotions and potions, stick with gentle, ideally organic formulations.
9. Steer clear of shelling out for a bath stand or special changing unit with an integral bath – yes the bath will be at a more convenient height for you to clean your baby but they're usually a pain to fill with water and empty, and half of it will likely spill over the sides.