One of the sweetest parts about the newborn stage is the constant snuggles. In fact, it's really nothing but snuggles, whether they're sleeping, eating, or bathing. In fact, co-bathing is a popular option among many parents simply for the convenience and closeness it provides. But if you're new to the co-bathing front, you'll need a few hacks for co-bathing with a newborn because it isn't always the easiest thing in the world. But once you get the hang of it, it will quickly become one of your favorite moments with your tiny one for months to come.
With all of the benefits of skin-to-skin time — among them are stabilizing blood sugar and body temp, boosting breastfeeding, increased milk production, and providing comfort, according to Today's Parent — co-bathing is just another way to sneak it in. Additionally, most newborns aren't terribly fond of their bath time for the first few weeks. The feeling of being in the water without contact may seem frightening, so holding them against your skin is the perfect way to keep them calm while you get them clean.
You're probably well aware that bathing a tiny baby can get, well, slippery, so taking the necessary precautions via these hacks will ensure that your shared bath is as safe, relaxing and bond-forming as possible.
1. Regulate The Water To Your Body Temperature
It can be hard to know what temperature to fill the tub to (as it will naturally be much less warm than if you were bathing on your own). In a piece for Parenting, Dr. Sears suggested matching the water to your body temperature, which is conveniently the perfect temperature for babies.
2. Get In The Bath First
To prevent slipping, enter the bath yourself, and then have your partner hand the baby to you, or have the baby laying safely on a pad or blanket nearby. Before getting in, ensure you have everything you need (a towel for both of you, lotion, a change of clothes, etc.), because there's nothing worse than getting out of the tub, freezing, and having nothing you need.
3. Don't Over-Do It
According to the Mayo Clinic, babies (especially newborns) don't need baths every day. Three times per week is recommended, though even less is great too. Babies naturally have balanced skin that will easily dry out if bathed too much.
4. Nurse In The Tub
Give the term "wet nurse" a new meaning and take skin to skin time even further by breastfeeding your baby in the tub. It will kill two birds with one stone and your baby will reap the benefits of skin to skin time and breastfeeding at the same time.
5. Keep It Short And Sweet
According to What to Expect, keeping your baby in the bath too long will dry out their skin. Keep their soaks short, sweet, and at a lukewarm temperature.
6. Wear Soft Gloves
Parenting suggested wearing textured gloves (like the kind you can buy for pedicures at most bath and body shops), to both prevent being too slippery and to have an instant wash cloth.
7. Go Soap Free
The same article from What to Expect cautioned parents against using scented soaps, or even soap in general in the early weeks and months. As delicate as babies' skin is, it's vital to care for it in a sensitive manner. If you plan to wash yourself in the bath, do so after you've passed baby off to your partner or before baby gets in, switching out the water so that it's not soapy after your wash.