Bathing your baby

You may be a little hesitant about bathing your new baby at first as handling a slippery, wriggly newborn can be tricky. Here are some helpful tips and a useful video guide to help make bath time safe and enjoyable for you both.

  1. Before you start, gather everything you need and place it within easy reach. It is extremely important that you never leave your baby unattended in the bath, or on a change table, for any reason.
  2. Protect your back. Chose a location that will ensure you can maintain a good posture and not over-reach e.g. kitchen bench, and use a jug to empty the bath.
  3. Fill the bath with enough water to cover your baby’s shoulders and neck to keep them warm. You can also make the bath deep enough so that your baby can float during bath time—it is ok for your baby’s ears to go under the water during their bath.
  4. The temperature of the bath should be warm but not too hot. Mix the water well so that the warm water is evenly distributed. Use the inside of your wrist to check the water temperature as this skin is more sensitive than your hand or elbow. If this feels comfortable then it should be suitable for your baby.
  5. Once you have washed your baby let them float in the bath for a while if they are calm and content. If they are enjoying the warmth of the water they may relax which could help if they will soon be going to sleep.

Bathing your baby should be relaxing, soothing and, as your baby grows, bath time will become fun with play being the main focus. Enjoy this special time with your child.

Baby massage techniques 

Baby (or infant) massage can be a playful, fun experience and may incorporate rhymes, games, story time or toys to suit your baby’s needs. Massage techniques can be adapted to suit babies and children of all ages.

Where should I massage my baby?

Choose a comfortable position where you have good postural support.

For young babies, sit on a cushion on the floor with baby on a towel, or stand at a change table with a small pillow under your baby’s upper body and head.

For older babies, we recommend massaging your baby on the floor.

It can often be more soothing for babies when there is:

  • soft lighting to minimise overstimulation
  • warm, comfortable environment to ensure your baby does not get cold
  • removing your jewellery to avoid scratching your baby
  • using a cream or an oil to massage—apply a small amount to your baby’s inner arm first and wait 10 to 15 minutes to check for any skin sensitivities.

Massaging your baby

To ensure a positive experience for you and your baby, massage is best performed when your baby is in a quiet, calm state—look for clear focused eyes, smooth limb movements and quiet regular breathing.

If your baby becomes restless or agitated, allow your baby to rest. For young babies, perform massage for only short periods due to their limited attention span. Older babies, however, will enjoy massage for longer periods.

Start with simple massage techniques such as smooth stroking your baby’s legs, chest and tummy. Stroking your baby’s back during tummy time can also be enjoyable.

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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