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Dossier: Our baby

Bathing baby – what you need to know

Most newborns love floating around in water, but some babies are more reluctant to take the plunge. However, it usually doesn’t take long before they’re splashing about, too. With a few skilful manoeuvres, bathing your baby will soon become great fun for all of you.

When can your baby take its first bath?

Bath fun can start as soon as your child’s belly button has healed, i.e. when it’s dry and any scabs have disappeared. Until then, it’s sufficient to wash your baby with warm water and a clean, soft cloth.

How often and for how long should you bath your baby?

Baby skin is very sensitive; the sebaceous glands produce less fat than in an adult, so their skin dries out faster. Therefore, in the first few months it’s best to bath your baby every few days or once a week and for no longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Bath tub or baby bucket?

In recent years, the baby bucket has been giving the traditional baby bath a run for its money – and for good reason: it’s designed so a baby can float upright, and it’s narrow enough that the baby feels secure and can’t slip to the side. It’s perfect for babies who aren’t so keen on water. You can make a baby bath safe by using a rubber mat. Whatever option you choose, it’s important to stay with your baby at all times and never let them out of your sight.

How warm should the bath water and room be?

The ideal room temperature is around 23 degrees Celsius. Fill the bath around half full with warm water at a temperature of approximately 37 degrees Celsius. Close doors and windows so there is no draught. Lay a towel, changing essentials and clothes ready so you can dry and dress your baby quickly.

Do you need to add anything to the bath? If yes, what?

It’s best to bath babies and young children in clear water. If your baby has noticeably dry skin, it’s a good idea to add a moisturising product (or a tablespoon of olive oil or almond oil) to the bath. If his skin is red or irritated, e.g. under his nappy, you can add two tablespoons of whey powder.

How do you turn a reluctant bather into a water-baby?

Not all babies like water. If your baby doesn’t want to go in the bath, give her some time and wash her once a day instead. After a few weeks, try lying her in the baby bath or big bath on her tummy or use a baby bucket (make sure the water temperature is around 37 degrees Celsius). Sooner or later your baby will discover that it’s fun to play in the bath!