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Bain bébé.

Everything you need to know about a baby's bath.

Bathing your baby is a delicate routine. Although childcare assistants show parents how to do it after birth, it's normal for other questions to arise once you're back home. How do you choose skincare products and a bathtub? What are the right actions to combine relaxation and hygiene? We share all our advice here to make bath time a moment of shared pleasure with your baby.

Baby Bath: How Often?

If it is necessary to wash your infant daily, a bath two to three times a week is more than sufficient. Indeed, water can have a drying effect on their skin, which is still delicate due to the almost absence of the hydrolipidic film on its surface. This half-aqueous, half-oily film is primarily nourished by the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands and constitutes a defense barrier for the skin by limiting water loss. However, the activity of the sebaceous glands is low in newborns and develops gradually over the first few years of life.

Thus, on a daily basis, a light cleansing is more than sufficient. To do this, you can wash their face, neck, arms, feet, underarms, and private areas with cotton pads soaked in cleansing milk. Additionally, a supplementary cleaning is necessary after each meal and after each diaper change, to keep the baby clean. Your infant's hair can be washed during the bath with a gentle shampoo formulated for them.

Baby Bath: Which Bathtub to Choose?

Selecting a bathtub suitable for your baby is essential for providing them with a bath under optimal conditions, both for them and for you. The choice of this bath accessory depends on your child's age and their ability to sit up or not.

  • Which bathtub should you choose when the infant cannot sit up on their own?

    If your baby is not yet able to sit up on their own, it is advisable to use a special baby bathtub that is suitable for their small size. Not only is this equipment safer, but it also allows you to save water. Indeed, a smaller bathtub requires less water to fill.

    If you wish, it is also possible to use a traditional bathroom bathtub. In this case, position your child on a bath seat or lounger, made of fabric or plastic. These items keep your baby in a semi-reclined position, allowing you to use both hands to wash, rinse, or play with them. However, even though the lounger provides more comfort, its use requires special precautions. Indeed, you must constantly ensure that the seat remains stable, to prevent your infant from slipping.

  • And what happens once the child remains in a stable sitting position?

    When your baby can sit up on their own, you can place them in your bathtub within a bath ring. This accessory, shaped like a rounded barrier, is designed to support them in case they tip over. Additionally, we recommend securing a non-slip mat at the bottom of your bathtub to prevent slipping.

Important : Regardless of your choice, it is essential to constantly monitor your baby and never take your eyes off them.

How to prepare a baby's bath?

Proper preparation before your baby's bath will allow both you and your child to peacefully enjoy this moment. Whether it's in the morning or at the end of the day, the choice is yours! Generally, parents prefer to bathe their baby in the evening as it helps to relax them and aids in falling asleep. For a well-prepared bath, here are some recommendations:

  • Check the bathroom temperature : To prevent the baby from getting cold, it is better to avoid drafts in the room and ensure that the ideal bathroom temperature is between 70 and 77 °F.

  • Prepare all the necessary bath items : Bath seat or recliner, thermometer, toiletries, towel, clothes... It's better to have everything at hand before going to fetch the baby.

  • Remove your watch, rings, and other jewelry to prevent scratching your baby.

  • Remember to thoroughly wash your hands and ensure that the bathtub is clean to prevent any bacterial contamination. Indeed, babies' skin is more permeable than adults' and absorbs microbes more easily.

  • Next, fill up the bathtub : Ensure that the water temperature is at 37°C using a thermometer. If you don't have one readily available, you can test the temperature using your elbow, which is more sensitive than your hands: it should feel comfortable to you.

  • Final step: Cover the changing table with a clean and dry towel, in preparation for getting out of the bath.

Which cleansing products should be used on a baby's skin?

Baby skin is delicate and requires gentle products. To avoid any skin discomfort, we recommend choosing skincare with the simplest formulation possible. This helps to reduce the risk of allergies. Moreover, avoid products containing dyes, fragrances, essential oils, or alcohol derivatives as they can be irritating and cause redness, itching, and skin dryness. It is also unnecessary to use multiple products on your infant's skin: the following selection is more than sufficient.

  • A gentle cleanser.

    Whether it's a cleansing cream, bath oil, or solid soap, the form it takes is of little importance. The crucial factor is that the chosen cleansing product is gentle, hypoallergenic, and formulated for infants. Opt for rich and nourishing textures that will help strengthen your baby's lipid barrier. They will also help to combat skin dryness and protect their skin from external aggressions.

  • A gentle shampoo.

    Even if your baby has little hair, it is beneficial to use a shampoo from birth. Just like the rest of their skin, an infant's scalp is delicate and thin and requires gentleness. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a special baby shampoo, designed to minimize the risk of allergies.

Tip : You can also use a vegetable oil during your baby's bath. Whether used for massage or diluted in the water, certain oils such as grape seed oil or sweet almond oil are suitable for children's delicate skin and have nourishing and lipid-replenishing properties. Studies have shown that these omega-3 rich oils improve the skin barrier of babies, reduce insensible water loss, and provide protection against infections.

How to carry out a baby's hygiene routine?

Once your baby is positioned in the water, you can begin to gently soap them, starting with their hair. Pour a few drops of shampoo into the palm of your hand and apply it to your infant's scalp using circular motions. After rinsing the shampoo, you can move on to the rest of their body in a similar manner with the cleansing product: start with their head, then their neck, arms, armpits, feet, and finally their buttocks to avoid contaminating other parts of the body with germs. Finally, you can rinse your baby with the bath water, either by hand or using a container.

After the bath: what are the right steps?

Once your baby is all clean, you can take them out of the bath and place them on their changing table, ready to be welcomed with a dry towel. Then gently dry your baby, starting with the head, and continue with the upper body. To avoid skin irritations and fungal infections, blot all the water present in the neck folds, under the armpits, behind the ears, and between the fingers. Then gently apply a balm, milk, or moisturizing cream formulated for babies to protect their skin and prevent redness, particularly diaper rash, which is common in infants. Then, dress your baby promptly to prevent them from getting cold and empty the bathtub, cleaning it thoroughly.

Sources

  • DARMSTADT G. L. & others. Neonatal skin care. Pediatric Clinics of North America (2000).

  • HACHEM J. P. & al. Infant Epidermal Skin Physiology: Adaptation After Birth. British Journal of Dermatology (2012).

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