Baby Development: Bathing Tips

baby in bath

I’d always imagined a baby’s bath time to be a joyful experience, full of laughter, splashing, and bubbles. But as it turns out, this particular element of baby development can be rather nerve-wracking and scary! Isabel, my firstborn, seemed pretty hefty at birth (she was 8 pounds and 9 ounces), but at her first baby bath, she looked scrawny, small, and very slippery.

However, we both got the hang of bath time after some practice, and it became something we looked forward to. Here are my top tips for a successful soak.

Prep Ahead
I wouldn’t start washing Isabel until I had every item right by my side, including shampoo, soap, a washcloth, a cup for rinsing, towels, and at least one fun squeaky toy. I organized it all before she went into the tub. This way, I wouldn’t have to look away for even one second during the baby bath.

Consider the Tub
After Isabel’s umbilical cord fell off, she was ready to move from sponge baths to actual baby baths where she was submerged in water. But because the big tub in our bathroom was cavernous, I used a little blue one designed for babies under 12 pounds, and propped her rubber ducky on the edge. Then, I filled it with the recommended two to three inches of water.

Stay Warm
For safety during this baby development, I always made sure to hold Isabel securely while she bathed. The plastic tub served to prop her up so her head didn’t wobble, but it also meant that some of her body was out of the water. To prevent her from getting too cold, I carefully poured the warm bath water over her upper body throughout the duration of the soak.

Get Cozy
The best part of our baby bath time was the après bath snuggle. Being tucked inside the towel and cradled in my arms was calming for Isabel. In fact, it was so soothing that a bath quickly became part of our bedtime routine. She learned to associate the end of the bath with sleepy time -- making the nights easier for both of us.

Your baby’s first baths may seem tricky, but stick with it (putting safety first, of course). With a little practice, you’ll also find that an evening soak makes for a great bonding activity for you and your new baby.

by Jennifer Kelly Geddes