Transcript – bathing your baby

This is about learning to bath your baby.

The first thing we need to think about when bathing baby is to make sure you have everything you need. You need to make sure you have everything prepared, and everything to hand, that you’re going to need from the beginning to the end of bathing your baby. This is really important as babies can get cold quite quickly, so we need to make sure we have everything to hand to keep them nice and warm. Also you should never ever leave a baby unattended whilst you’re bathing them.

We’re going to need a baby bath – one like this, or something like a washing up bowl will do. You need two towels, some clean clothes to change baby into, a clean nappy and some cotton wool balls. The next thing you’ll need to think about is filling your bath or bowl. You don’t need that much water, maybe 10 cm, and you need to make sure that the water is body temperature. You can check this by using your wrist or elbow. You don’t want to use your hands, as we use them so often they can become a bit desensitised to heat, so the water can feel cooler than it actually is. Make sure you use your wrist or elbow and swill the water round a little bit. This is to make sure there are no hot spots and the water is a consistent temperature the whole way through. Now we’ve got everything we need and the water in out bath, we can start bathing baby.

Step 1 – Eyes and Ears

  • First, strip the baby down to their nappy. Take off baby’s baby grow and baby’s vest, but leave the nappy on for the time being.
  • Grab one of the towels you’ve got ready and wrap baby up in the towel. We want to make sure we’re keeping baby nice and warm at every stage of being bathed.
  • Make sure you’ve got a good grip of baby, checking that their head is well supported.
  • Wash baby’s face, starting with the eyes. Take a wet cotton wool ball (use one ball per eye) and with baby’s eyes closed, use a sweeping motion from the inner corner of the eye to the outside of their eye to clean it.
  • Discard the used cotton wool ball and do the same for the other eye.
  • Then clean baby’s ears. Just use one cotton wool ball for each ear. Clean the outside of the ear only – you don’t need to clean inside baby’s ear.
  • Discard the used cotton wool ball, and do the same for the other ear. (We use one ball for each eye and each ear so we don’t cross-infect.)
  • Use the remaining cotton wool balls to wash the rest of baby’s face, making sure you also clean their neck.
  • Once you’ve finished cleaning baby’s face, take your other towel, and dab baby’s face dry nice and gently, making sure you get into all the creases on their neck as well.

Step 2 – Hair

  • Next we’re going to wash baby’s hair. Make sure you’ve got their head well supported, so it’s over the bath.
  • Cup your hand, take some bath water and pour over baby’s hair.
  • Use the other towel to gently dry off their head.

Step 3 – Body

  • Lie the baby down and take off their nappy. Use a cotton wool ball to wash their bottom.
  • Hold the baby, making sure they are well supported. A good way to hold baby when you’re bathing them is to have your wrist under their neck and your hand around their arm. This gives a good level of support when lowering baby into the bath as it leaves a hand free for you to swill the water over them. You don’t need any product in the water, just plain water is absolutely fine.
  • Once baby’s body is washed, lift them back out onto their towel, again making sure you support them well as you lift them out.
  • Wrap them up so they don’t get cold and then dry them down. Make sure you get into all their leg creases and under their arms, making sure they’re fully dry all over.
  • At this point, you can get them dressed again. Take the clean nappy that you have ready and put it back on. Then a clean vest and finally a clean baby grow.

And there you have your bathed baby!

When you’re bathing baby, this is a great time to bond with baby, for both Mum and Dad, chatting to baby and talking to them. Babies are really soothed by the sound of your voice, so it’s a great opportunity to spend time chatting to them.

A few questions we get asked: When is the best time to bath baby? It’s best to bath baby when they’re nice and settled. Not when they’re tired or hungry, or when they’ve just fed, but another time when they’re nice and settled.

You only need to wash baby a couple of times a week. However, if baby finds it relaxing, and you find it helpful for maintaining a routine with them then, of course, you’re welcome to bath them more often than that.

If you’ve got any other questions, you can always contact your midwife for more advice.