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Baby bath basics

It can be a nerve-wracking experience bathing a slippery, wriggly (sometimes screaming) newborn – but this is your step by step guide to mastering the basics.
1. Where?
Either run a big bath and bond with your baby in the tub, or buy a freestanding baby bath or baby bath seat.
2. When?
Two or three times a week is enough at first, as long as you clean the areas that really need attention throughout the day – face, bottom, hands etc. As your baby gets older, and messier, bath times increase; if nothing else it can help to calm them down before bedtime.
3. How?
First, use cotton wool dampened with just water to clean the eyes, moving from inner to outer eye. Lower your baby into the bath, supporting the head and neck, and then lay them back while cradling their body with one arm. Don’t forget to wash hidden grime spots such as the armpits and the folds at the back of the knees.
4. Running water
You’ll only need to run 5-8cm of warm water in a baby bath. Test the temperature with your elbow or, using a bath thermometer, check that it is around 36-38C. 
5. Newborns
It’s best to use a sponge bath for your newborn, until their umbilical cord falls off. Keeping them warmly wrapped in a towel, wash and pat dry one limb at time.
6. The essentials
Baby hooded towel
Soft washcloth
Baby-friendly shampoo and soap (water is enough to keep them squeaky clean in the first few months though)
Cotton balls
Hypoallergenic baby lotion 
Bath book and floating toys
Non-slip bath mats 
7. Safety
Babies and toddlers can drown in as little as one inch of water, so never leave them alone in the bath – not even for a few seconds.
8. Skin care
Many newborns will suffer from scaly, flaky skin; to avoid irritation keep bath time to less than 10 minutes, don’t use soap products, and apply a sorbolene cream afterwards.
9. Hair wash
Use a mild shampoo to wash your baby’s hair, but only when it is dirty or if they develop cradle cap – a common condition of scaly skin on the scalp.
10. Have fun!
Relax, and don’t forget to enjoy these precious moments. Sing gentle lullabies, play with pouring water, and add a few toys that can float, hold water or stick to the tiles.
Proof read by Dr. Rashi Gupta, Sp. OB Gyne, iCare Clinics and Dr. Pratibha