5 Top Tips for Bathing Baby

By Jennifer Bright

January 28, 2020 5 min read

Looking back, one of my favorite times when my sons were babies was bath time. My boys loved it, and I loved that precious time each day when I had their undivided attention. I'd plop myself down right outside the tub and talk with them.

Bath time gives you an excellent opportunity to sit and connect with your baby. You're right there, at eye level, so it's the perfect time to talk. Even though your baby can't answer you yet, he loves looking at you and hearing the sound of your voice.

When my older son was a baby, he cried so much, but he generally didn't cry in the tub. In hindsight, I wish I had bathed him more. I might not have had the happiest baby on the block, but at least I'd have had the cleanest!

Is it time to transition your little one to a tub? Doctors recommend that babies transition to the tub after their umbilical cord stumps fall off.

Tub safety is critical. Babies can drown in any amount of water. Never leave a baby or child unattended in a tub, even for a second. That means that when your baby's in the tub, you'll have to leave the doorbell unanswered and let the phone ring.

Interestingly, according to The Guardian, one-third of dads surveyed said that they never, ever give their babies a bath.

Here's how our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — give their babies baths.

"Once my babies' umbilical cord stumps fell off, I started bathing them in the infant tub," says Amy Thompson, M.D., a mom of three kids and an OB-GYN at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. "When my babies were six months old, I placed a baby bathtub inside of the empty bathtub until my baby had very good control of his core body muscles at approximately 9 to 10 months. Being inside the bigger tub helps with splashes and cleanup after the bath. It also gets the baby used to sitting in the tub area and looking out at us."

"Both of my kids have sensitive skin, so for their baths, I used Cetaphil cleanser rather than soap," says Michelle Paley, M.D., a mom of two and a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in private practice, in Miami Beach, Florida. "Afterward, I'd give them a massage with safflower oil, which kept their skin moist. It was a nice, peaceful activity for both of us."

"When bathing my sons, I used a shampoo/body wash combination that has no fragrance," says Amy J. Derick, M.D., a mom of two sons and a dermatologist in private practice at Derick Dermatology, in Barrington, Illinois. "I used no bubble bath. My philosophy is to avoid having unnecessary chemicals come in contact with my sons' sensitive skin. I kept baths short because long baths can dry the skin. After my sons bathed, I applied a thin coat of Aquaphor baby ointment."

"I have four kids, so we had no time for prolonged play in the tub," says Sadaf T. Bhutta, M.D., a mom of a daughter and triplets and an assistant professor and fellowship director of pediatric radiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital, both in Little Rock. "We had a good routine: Get in, soap up, rinse off and get out! I was usually done with bath time for all four of my children in about 30 minutes."

Dr. Rallie's Tips

"I've always loved the smell of baby lotion, and I kept my first son slathered in the stuff. Thirteen years later, when my younger sons were born, I had graduated from medical school and I was more educated and concerned about chemical ingredients in lotions.

"When my second son was born, I found a 100% natural and organic brand of cocoa butter at my local health food store to put on my son after his bath. It didn't smell like baby lotion, but it was just as delightful. To this day, when I smell cocoa butter, I think of babies!

"Excessive exposure to water and soap at bath time can lead to dry skin. Applying cocoa butter after bath time safely and effectively soothes and moisturizes your baby's skin. — Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay

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