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If you are nervous about handling you new baby and giving him or her your first bath, do not fear - you are not alone. Most new parents are nervous of that dreaded first bath - but rest assured it gets easier! Confidence will grow as you become more experienced.
For the first few weeks you can give baby a wipe over (a "top and tail") with wet cotton wool to keep them fresh. Baby's don't sweat so don't need to be bathed every day. However, it is nice to get into a routine of having a bath before bed and if you take things slowly, and approach bath-time in a calm and relaxed way, both of you may come to enjoy it as a great chance to spend quality time together... and have some fun!
The most important thing is to have all you need at hand. Make sure before you start everything is within easy reach: face cloth, towel, clean nappy, wipes, any cream and fresh clothes. It's not safe to leave baby alone for a second, so get it all ready in advance. Fill the bath with cold water first then add a tiny amount of hot. The water should be only be tepid rather than hot. This avoids the chance of scalding. You could warm the towel on a radiator if you have one nearby.
Bathing a very small baby can be easy if you follow a simple routine.
- Undress baby and lower feet first into the water. Support the head and neck and lower into a comfortable and supported "sitting" position.
- When you are both comfortable, splash water onto baby's body with your spare hand.
- Continue to chat as you do so. Make lots of eye contact and show baby you're having fun too!
- When you are finished, gently take baby out, wrap in a warm towel and pat dry. Dress warmly and have a cuddle!
It does get easier as baby gets older and establishing good habits early is a a great thing to do.