Bath time can be a most enjoyable time with your baby, with no other distractions it is a great opportunity to bond whilst watching your baby enjoy learning how to kick and splash.
In the early weeks, there is no need for a bath every day and top and tailing is enough to keep your baby clean. This means washing your baby's face, hands, genitals and bottom with some lukewarm water and cotton wool.
There are various ways to bath a newborn baby. Many parents now chose to purchase a dedicated baby bath, which can stand either on a table, the floor or on its own set of legs. Some baby baths have built in supports to hold the baby so that your hands are free and others can be fitted over the main bath to avoid having to carry water around the house - there are plenty of options now available on the market.
Another option is to buy a type of bath support and bath your baby in the main bath in the house. Most are supportive enough to leave your hands free to wash your baby. They will usually be outgrown at around six months, or when your baby learns to move around to an extent that they are no longer safe.
It's a good idea to make sure make sure you have everything with you that you will need before placing your baby in the bath. This may include a towel, cotton wool, sponge, fresh nappy, and clothes to dress the baby in.
Always test the bath water with your elbow or a thermometer to make sure it is not too hot and always run the cold water before the hot so there can be no unexpected pockets of hot water. The bath should be filled with around 13cm of water up to about six months of age.
You may find it easier to wash your baby's face first with some water and cotton wool. Undress your baby, wiping his or her bottom if the nappy is dirty and place your baby carefully into the bath. You will soon get used to holding onto your baby in the water although it may seem daunting at first. For the first few weeks, water alone is usually the best way to clean your baby's delicate skin and you do not need to use any bath products. Wash from top to bottom and then lift your baby out and wrap quickly in a towel, pat dry and dress in clean clothes.
It is crucial to supervise your baby at all times and do not leave him or her alone for any length of time. If the doorbell or phone rings, take your baby with you to answer it. It only takes a few seconds for a baby to drown, even in a small amount of water. If you choose to bath with your baby, ask someone to pass your baby to you and to lift him or her out.
It is up to you what time of day you choose to bath your baby. In the first few weeks, you may find it easier in the morning or during the day, but as your baby gets older, bath time could well become a vital part of their bedtime routine.