How can you tell if the water temperature is just right for your baby? Should you use Ruyi oil on her tummy after bath? We ask the experts these and more.
She looks so fragile! Is it really okay for me to bathe my newborn?
Bathing a newborn for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience but with a little practice, you will feel more comfortable. All babies should get their first bath about 24 hours after birth and not any sooner. This delay helps reduce the risk of hypothermia and promotes successful breastfeeding, says Thilagamangai, assistant director at the obstetric wards of the Nursing Division at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
When you’re home, you do not need to bathe your baby every day, but it is important to keep her face, neck, hands and bottom clean in between baths. Keep each bath session to only five to 10 minutes at the most, Thilagamangai adds.
Make sure you cradle your baby’s neck and back with one arm, while you bathe her with the other.
How can I tell if the water temperature is just right?
The water should be warm, not hot, Thilagamangai from KKH says. The easiest way to test the temperature is to dip your elbow into the water. If it feels comfortably warm, it should be all right for your baby.
(Also read: Baby prefers maid: 8 things working mums should do)
Grandma says rubbing traditional Ruyi oil on the tummy after bath helps reduce “wind”. How safe is that?
Any baby oil – when used with proper massage techniques – works just as well, says Dr Wong Boh Boi, a parentcraft and lactation consultant in private practice.
But do not apply the oil directly to her skin. Put a few drops in your hands and rub them before massaging Baby.
Warm hands are more soothing; cold hands may startle her and make her cry.
(Also read: Baby favours one parent over the other: What to do)
When’s the best time to give a bath?
It doesn’t matter if it’s morning or evening, so long as she is not hungry or crying.
“I’d recommend that you give her a good, thorough bath in the morning and a quick soak in the evening before bedtime to help her sleep better,” Boh Boi suggests.
Overdue babies tend to have slightly drier skin because they lose their protective vernix coating. You may want to apply moisturiser after the bath to keep her tender skin soft.
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