Bathing a newborn baby is both one of the loveliest and most special activities, and one of the most terrifying as well. I remember well how truly freaked out I was when bath time came around for my first child. If you have never bathed a newborn before, you would never believe what slippery little things they are!! Even though I was terrible at bathing a tiny baby at first, with time and practice comes confidence. But there are some tricks of the trade you can do that make bathtime with your Bub much more relaxed and enjoyable.
1. Prepare everything before you even start running the water - get out your towel, face cloth (you will need 2 or 3), whichever product you may be using in the water (I recommend using something 100% natural & gentle like a Goat's Milk Powder). To be really honest, for new babies you will not need shampoo or soap (new babies just don't get that dirty... unlike toddlers!). A bath every other day is fine too for new Bubs. Some people don't bother buying a baby bath, but I personally found the cheap plastic ones the best to bath a newborn baby. Another good point too is to bathe your baby after a feed, that way they are feeling full and content and not likely to get hungry halfway through the bath.
2. When you have everything to hand, then run the water. I used a special bath thermometer for my first son which told me the ideal temperature for a baby, as I was not too confident of judging this myself. You only need a tiny amount of whichever bath product you are using, and make sure the baby bath is in a stable comfortable spot. I was lucky enough to have a big bathroom bench, but if you don't why not consider using the kitchen bench.
3. Now you can undress your baby ready for the bath. Slowly immerse your baby into the bath, keeping both hands securely under his head and body. One of the best tricks I ever learnt was to place a washer over your baby's chest (see photo)... I found doing this instantly calmed them if they got upset by being placed in the water. If you have a boy like I did, this also stops them weeing up at you suddenly (don't laugh, this is a very common occurrence with baby boys). Also be sure to keep your baby's head above the water (that might sound funny but it's sort of a busy time and you feel like you are trying to do 5 things at once all while holding onto a slippery little body!).
4. Using a clean washer, wet it and squeeze it out and gently wipe your babies face and eyes. Then use the washer to wash under babies armpits, and around bottom. Put this washer aside and use another clean washer to very carefully clean around the umbilical cord. If your baby is happy hold them floating in the water for a while (some experts say newborns love this as it reminds them of being in the womb).
5. Ok next comes a tricky bit - getting baby out of the water and wrapped up in the towel. This was always the bit I found the hardest. There are a couple of options here. You can either have a nice thick towel laid out ready to use right next to the baby bath (just lift Bub out straight onto the towel and wrap up), or these days apron towels that fasten around the neck which do make life easier if on your own.
6. Now on a soft surface, carefully pat your baby dry all over being careful of the umbilical cord, massage if desired, and dress. Now your baby is probably all ready to be swaddled and put down to sleep!
Some other posts you might be interested in:
What Products do you really need for your Newborn Baby?
10 Things to do in the First Trimester