In our series of ‘New Dads’ posts we delve into some of the most popular things men think about, or want to know more about when becoming a dad. From changing nappies to feeding we have tried to provide some support for men to feel more comfortable navigating parenthood. This post contains advice for bath time.
Bathing a baby is different to bathing yourself and there are a few things you should consider before you get stuck in.
Advice On How Often To Bathe Your Baby
Deciding on how often to bathe your baby can often come down to how much they enjoy the bath. Most early years professionals suggest two or three times a week, but If your baby loves the water then bathing them more often is fine. When it isn’t bath day, top-and-tailing is a great way to ensure they’re clean. It also helps baby get used to water without being in the bath.
What’s a Good Baby Bath Temperature?
An essential piece of advice for bath time, this can be daunting for new dad’s but we know you can get it right! The best temperature for your baby’s bath is the same as your body temperature – around 37 degrees. The best way to check the temperature is with your elbow (they’re more sensitive to heat than our hands). The water should feel neither hot, or cold when you dip in your elbow. If you’re still not sure, you can buy a baby bath thermometer to help you get it just right!
How To Bathe Your Baby
Like all things with baby it is best to have everything ready before you start! Run the water and check the temperature – remember to mix the water well to avoid having any hot or cold spots. Get a fresh, clean towel ready and maybe even get your baby’s clothes ready for after the bath. Once you’re set then take your baby’s clothes off ready to get in the bath.
Using one hand to hold baby’s upper arm and support their head and shoulders, and the other to support their body, gently lower them into the bath. If you are using a full size bath there are baby bath seat’s available (as shown in the video below) that may help to make things easier. Use your other hand to swish water over them, avoiding splashing!
Most importantly, don’t ever lie your young baby in the water completely, or leave them unattended at any point. This article all about washing and bathing your baby on the NHS website has more great tips for bathing your baby!
Bath Time Is A Great Opportunity To Bond With Your Baby
As a father sometimes you can feel there are less opportunities to bond with your baby. Therefore it’s important to be aware of all the different opportunities there are for bonding, and to know the different ways of approaching it. Bath time is a great opportunity to try talking to your baby. Maybe tell them what you’re going to do next – “Daddy is going to wash your tummy now…”. or talk about different body parts as you wash them. “Look daddy is washing your feet”. Or you can sing to them. You don’t have to know all the words to “The Baby Club” (but if you don’t… I can point you in the right direction 😜) you could sing your favourite song. Just the sound of your voice will be comforting and help you keep developing that dad bond. Even just playing in the water with your baby will start to develop your bond. Check out our post ‘Why it’s important for dads to play with their kids more‘ by play expert Susie Robbins for a more in depth look at this.
Finally If your baby doesn’t like the water, you can try bathing with them. They may be comforted from the skin to skin contact and having their dad right there with them. And once baby is out of the bath there is lots of time for cuddles, and comforting while you get them dry and dressed.
Listen To Lloyd Talk About Bath Time With His Twins
Lloyd is a member of the Dadvengers Community and father of twins. Listen as he talks about his bath time routine and how much enjoyment he gets out of it. It’s great to see that his kids enjoy it so much, and with twins it’s interesting to see how well organised he has to be to make everything work.
This video is part of a series that Dadvengers produced in collaboration with Best Beginnings to sit on the Baby Buddy app
More Help for New Dads
If you enjoyed reading this ‘Advice For Bath Time’ blog post or if would like more support as a new father we have a couple of suggestions.
- Firstly You might want to check out the other posts in our New Dads Support series. The series is still very new but it’s growing all the time and will become a useful and informative hub for New dads.
- Secondly you should try the Baby Buddy App. Designed for new parents, it gives dad specific prompts on a daily basis up until your child 1st birthday. For more detailed information read ‘What is Baby Buddy 2.0‘. Or download the app now and start using it. It should help alleviate some of those new dad worries.
- Finally, Have a Listen to the Dadvengers Podcast . Currently in Season 3 the Dadvengers Podcast is a great way to be inspired by the experiences of other dads. Hosted by Dadvengers founder Nigel Clarke each episode hears a well known dad talk about his journey. The ups and downs, the highs and the lows. Showing us that we all go through the same things, and all we can do as fathers is be the best we can be. We hope you enjoy listening.