For small babies up to four or five months, a specially designed plastic baby bath is ideal. Some baths fit neatly over the sides of the main bath and can be filled from the main bath tap and drained away directly into the main bath. Others can sit anywhere but make sure the surface or floor is flat.

To wash hair

Keep your baby wrapped in a towel and grip him underneath his armpit. Hold him over the bath or basin and wet your baby’s hair. You can apply baby shampoo if you wish, but infants do not need shampoo or soap, warm water will do. Pat his hair dry with a soft towel. This is so his hair does not stay wet and will prevent him from getting too cold and losing heat from his head.

Putting him in the bath

For a very small baby, you will need to support his head and shoulders with one hand, and put your fingers under his armpit. Wash all the creases and folds and genital areas. Baby’s skin is very sensitive and some shampoos and soaps can irritate a baby’s skin, so warm water is sufficient. When taking him out of the bath, make sure you have your towel already laid out nearby, and hold him very carefully, as wet babies can get very slippery.

After the bath

Lay a towel on the floor and as long as it is warm enough (ideally in summer months) let your baby have a naked kick around, so air gets to areas usually covered with a nappy. Pat dry him thoroughly all over, and dress him quickly so he does not get cold.

Bath safety

Bath safety is essential when bathing your child. No child should be left unattended in the bath, even for a very short period of time. If the phone or doorbell rings, leave it — your baby’s safety is more important. Keep the water shallow (no more than 10-13 centimetres) and use a plastic non-slip mat to prevent your baby from slipping. Some taps can get very hot and remain so long after the bath is run, so be sure to cover these with a flannel or towel.


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