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Newborn Bathing Tips

Gradually lower your baby into the water, feet first. Sing songs or talk to him if he seems to be scared, and pour cupfuls of water over him often during the bath to keep him warm.

Never leave your baby unattended in the bath, even for a second. A baby can drown in as little as one inch of water, in less than 60 seconds. If the phone or doorbell rings during the bath, wrap your baby in a towel and take him with you, or let the answering machine pick it up. Bath seats and bath rings should only be used with children who are able to sit up without assistance. These items will give your child added support while in the tub, but they will not protect him from injury or drowning.

Use a mild baby soap, if you use any at all. Young babies really don't get that dirty and water is usually sufficient. Gently wash your baby with the washcloth from top to bottom, front to back. Be sure to pay special attention to creases and folds of skin where oil and dirt can build up, such as around the neck, behind the ears, behind the knees, etc. Use a small amount of baby shampoo to wash your baby's scalp and hair. Do not use adult shampoo on your baby - the detergents are too abrasive and will irritate your baby's delicate skin. To avoid getting soapy water in your baby's eyes when rinsing his head, tip his head back a bit, or try holding a folded washcloth on his forehead to catch any drops.

Be extra gentle when washing your baby's diaper area. For little girls, wash from front to back and be sure to gently clean between the folds of skin; for little boys, do not retract or pull back the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis.

Rinse your baby well at the end of the bath - any residual soap can irritate her skin. To lift your baby out of the tub, support her head and neck with one hand, while supporting her bottom with the other, with your fingers around one thigh (just in case your slippery wiggle worm slips free).

Gently pat your baby dry, making sure her diaper area is completely dry to avoid developing diaper rash. If your baby's skin is dry and flakey, use a little baby lotion.

Once you get the hang of bathing your baby, it's a good idea to keep a camera handy during bath time for all those adorable and tender moments you'll want to remember forever.


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