A nice warm bath can be one of the best bedtime rituals for your baby. Not only does it get her nice, clean, and feeling fresh, but the warm water can be very soothing for baby. This is especially true if you make bath time a regular part of the pre-bed time routine. And on top of being good for baby, it can make for a very enjoyable bonding experience for parents as well.
If you don’t want to use bath time as part of baby’s bedtime routine, that’s OK, too. Truthfully, babies only need to be bathed about twice per week to maintain cleanliness. Let’s face it, until they start moving around, they really don’t get into much. As long as you make sure to keep the diaper area very clean, your baby will be fine.
However you use bath time, and however often you bathe your baby, make sure that the water is the right temperature. The old fashioned way to check is by putting your elbow in the water. If the water feels hot on your elbow, which is more sensitive that other parts of your body, it will be too hot for baby. Of course, these days there are cute and accurate bath tub thermometers that will tell you exactly when the water is the right temperature for baby.
Use soap sparingly when giving your baby a bath. Soaps are irritants, and too much isn’t good for your baby. Use special baby soaps, which are much milder than grownup soaps. Any time you try a new kind of soap, pay close attention to make sure baby doesn’t get a rash. If baby gets a rash while you are using a new kind of soap, discontinue using it.
If you have trouble getting soap or shampoo in baby’s face or eyes when you wash her hair, there are special visor caps available wherever baby products are sold that will keep the water and soap out of babies face. Most babies don’t like water on their faces anyway. Alternatively, you can shield baby’s face with the back of your hand.
Always try to make bath time a special time. If you are using baths before bed time, allow baby to play, but don’t over stimulate her. Otherwise, feel free to play with her and let her get excited about the bath. In either case, after she’s done and dried off, let her air out a little before dressing her for bed. This is a great time for either some tummy time or some cuddling time.