Some women are dying to get their newborn home, while others wish that they could stay in hospital until they were a hundred per cent confident with everything they have to learn in a short space of time. The most important thing is getting to know your newborn. If there are people rallying around offering to help, take it, so you can spend as much time with your newborn or catching up on some much-needed sleep.
Newborns don’t need to be bathed in the first few days but when the time comes give yourself plenty of time. Like all things new baby it will take a few attempts before you feel completely confident. Try to relax and enjoy it as baby can feel if you are anxious. Babies do not regulate their temperatures very well, so it’s best to undress baby in stages starting with the top part of the body.
How to bath your baby
- Pour a small amount of cold water into the bath first, then gradually add warm water, testing the temperature with your elbow or the inside of your wrist.
- Support baby by holding the left shoulder, hooking your arm under the left armpit and supporting baby’s head with your forearm.
- Cradle baby’s legs with your right arm holding on to one thigh; so baby is facing you.
- Keep baby in a semi upright position with only lower body immersed in water.
- Use water only in the first few weeks to wash your baby.
- Wash baby with your right arm while supporting baby with your left.
- Start with the top of the body, washing the face, eyes and hair. Soothe baby by talking or singing while bathing.
- When finished, lift baby out of the bath placing your right hand under the bottom and lifting onto a towel. Remember to dry baby well, getting into all those creases; if baby is not dried correctly it can cause irritation to the skin. Never ever leave baby alone in the bathroom.
You shouldn’t need to cut baby’s nails in the first few weeks; instead, opt for loose fitting mittens. Once the time has come cut baby’s nails use a blunt edged scissors; placing baby’s nails on a flat surface.
Lots of babies suffer from cradle cap. Health professionals advise daily washing to prevent it occurring. You don’t need to bathe baby, simply wrap baby up and hold underneath your armpit. Place babies head over the bath and wash hair using a small amount of baby-friendly shampoo. If your baby is suffering from cradle cap, put a small bit of oil on baby’s head in the evening time and wash off the following morning. Do not remove the scales yourself as this will cause the problem to worsen.
Eyes, ears, and nose
If baby’s eyes have a crust or discharge, clean using cooled down boiled water. Wash your hands first then dip cotton wool into water, squeezing out the excess. Start from the inside of the eye working outwards. Never use the same piece of cotton wool always discard after one use. Repeat the same with other eye. Do not put anything into baby’s nose or ears as they are self-cleaning organs.