Giving your baby a bath is a fun and rewarding activity for parents of all ages, but it can also be extremely stressful, especially if this is your first child. Worries and concerns are natural, but the basics of keeping your baby safe are easy to follow.
Never Leave Your Baby Unattended
Don’t ever leave your baby alone in the bath, no matter the situation. Unless there’s another adult in the bathroom at the same time, never take this risk. Babies are able to drown in only a few centimetres of water. This can occur incredibly quickly, and often without ever causing a sound.
Make sure you have everything ready before you start bathing your baby, including towels, a clean nappy, and a fresh set of clothes. If anything happens which requires you to leave the bathroom in a hurry, quickly scoop your baby out of the water and take them with you.
Choose the Right Depth
Up until six months of age, you should generally run the bath until it reaches a level of around 13cm (or 5 inches) deep. Make sure there is enough to cover the shoulders once your baby settles.
For older babies – or for toddlers – a good rule is to never fill the bath until it is more than waist high whilst they are in a sitting position. Also, don’t put your child into the bath while it is still running. The depth of the water can rise too quickly, and it can be tricky for you to turn off the taps while still properly providing support. You’ll also be able to gauge the temperature more effectively.
Support Your Baby
Once you’ve run the bath, gently lower your baby in, holding one hand beneath its bottom and the other under the neck and shoulders. Once they’re settled, use the hand that was supporting their bottom to wash them, while keeping the other beneath the shoulders and head.
Additionally, try putting a rubber bathmat on the bottom of your bath. This will prevent your baby from slipping. As they grow, babies will often attempt to stand or move around in the bath, making a non-slip bottom even more important. This is also important to remember if you have bathroom floor tiles, as a mat will help support you whilst you bathe your baby and when you get them out of the bath too.
No one ever gives you advice on how you should look after your baby, but these simple tips will help you do just that when bathing them.