Wondering how to bathe a newborn baby with an umbilical cord? Newborns generally don’t need baths until they are at least two weeks old so they can get some practice on regulating their body temperature. Also, bathing a newborn baby is an excellent way to help get the baby used to water.
When a mother baths her baby early, it can help build confidence in handling the infant, especially if they haven’t bonded yet. Your newborn’s umbilical cord will fall off about two weeks. See this post on all you need to know about umbilical cords from Mayo Clinic.
Here’s what you need to know about bathing newborns after the cord falls off and more information about umbilical cords.
Understanding Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord
The umbilical cord is a tube connecting the baby to the mother during pregnancy. It contains two arteries and one vein, which carry blood through it. The cord stores stem cells to form your baby’s blood cells after birth. Here we will discuss how to bathe a newborn with an umbilical cord or when the cord has fallen off.
Most carers and parents will agree that the first home bath after the umbilical cord falls off is a memorable experience. It’s not just the first time you’ll bathe your baby but also the first bath in their life. Of course, no one can be happier than you at this point, but they may squirm around more than usual during the process of bathing.
Before the umbilical cord stump falls off, give your baby sponge baths. If it hasn’t fallen off by the time your baby is 1 month old, contact the doctor because it might be infected. After that, you can start giving your baby a bath two to three times a week in a small tub or the sink.
4 Tips To Keep In Mind Before Your Bathe A Newborn
1. Prepare The Bath Area
Prepare everything you will need ahead of time. You will need a waterproof pad, towels, and a washcloth for drying. You’ll also need mild soap and cotton balls for cleaning around the umbilical cord. Gather these things together on a clean surface that is within arm’s reach from where you’ll be bathing your baby.
While bathing your baby may seem difficult at first, it can become a fun way to bond and spend quality time with your newborn with practice and patience. Things you’ll need:
- Soft wash cloths
- Wash basin or sink
- Baby soap or shampoo (optional)
2. Use A Small Tub
Fill a small tub or basin with lukewarm water. If using the kitchen sink, place a towel on the counter and another in the bottom of the sink to prevent injury. Place one hand on your baby’s shoulders and chest while supporting their head with your other hand.
Fill the tub with about an inch of warm water between 96 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (35 and 37 degrees Celsius). Do not immerse the umbilical cord stump in the water. The stump needs to stay dry until it heals and falls off. Instead, use cotton balls dipped in warm water to clean around the base of the umbilical.
3. Safety First
Before bathing your baby, prepare everything you need for the bath ahead of time. Place a clean towel within easy reach, along with baby shampoo and washcloth or sponge. Then place your baby on the towel in a warm room and undress her before filling the basin with 1 to 2 inches of water (the exact amount depends on the size and shape of your basin). Check the water temperature with your wrist or elbow and add cold or warm water if necessary.
4. Dunking Her Head
It’s OK to dunk your newborn’s head in the water, but you must be careful not to get water in the baby’s ears. The stump of your baby’s umbilical cord will still be moist, so don’t get it wet.
The umbilical cord stump is a delicate part of your baby’s body, and you don’t want to get it accidentally wet while you’re bathing the baby. Once the cord stump falls off and the belly button heals, you can wash your baby normally. However, you need to take some extra precautions to protect the cord until then.
How To Bathe A Newborn Baby With An Umbilical Cord
Step 1 – Before you clean the umbilical cord area:
- Gather everything you’ll need in one place – soap, clean nappy, towel, and clean clothes. This will make things easier once your baby is in the bath. If you’re using a baby bath support (or “bath seat”), put it in the sink or baby bath full of warm water.
- Put a towel on the bathroom floor, so you don’t slip and slide when bathing your baby. Fill a small bowl with warm water for cleaning your baby’s face and hair, and have another bowl ready for rinsing off soap or shampoo.
- While you’re waiting for the tub to fill, take off all of your baby’s clothing except their nappy (diaper). Then, layout a clean nappy and other clothes so they’re ready when you’re finished.
Step 2 – Cleaning the umbilical cord area
Bathing your baby before the cord stump falls off is generally safe. Just follow these steps:
- Sponge bathe your little one until with warm water or water mixed with mild, fragrance-free soap.
- The cord are should be cleaned only with rubbing alcohol or witch hazel. DO NOT use water!
- Gently pat the area dry and put a fresh diaper on your baby.
Summary – How to Bathe a Newborn Baby With An Umbilical Cord
Bathtime is one of the most peaceful times in a baby’s day. A warm bath is soothing, quiet, and relaxing – and it’s also a great way to keep the baby clean!
But before you give your newborn their first bath, make sure the umbilical cord has fallen off first. You can bathe your baby before that happens if you wish, but doing so may increase the risk of infection.
Newborns don’t need to be bathed every day, either. A gentle sponge bath once or twice a week will keep their skin clean and soft (and not too dry). When it comes to full-on tub baths, you’ll want to wait until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off completely.