Baby bath-time tips

    Consumer Reports News: September 28, 2007 11:32 AM

    Don't worry about giving your baby an official bath right away. Except for sponge baths, bathing doesn't start until the stump of your baby's umbilical cord falls off (between one and three weeks after delivery). After that, you can give your baby a bath every day if you like, although two to three times a week is a better idea because daily bathing can dry out your baby's tender skin. Besides a baby bath tub, you'll need a soft towel (preferably hooded to cradle your baby's head), a baby washcloth, and baby body wash that doubles as shampoo.

    There are a variety of baby bathtubs on the market. Keep in mind that just about any tub you buy will be awkward to use at first, mainly because bathing a wiggly baby--who may dislike temperature changes and being put in water--is awkward and daunting for even the most experienced parent. At first you'll just want to get the job done--and fast. Expect your baby to protest the first time or two. After that, your baby will probably grow to enjoy bath time--and so will you.

    Fill the tub with as little water as possible--two inches is about right--and test it with your wrist or elbow. Water should feel warm, but not hot. Don't rely on a tub's temperature indicator; in our tests, we found them  some of them slow to react to temperature changes.

    But keep in mind that when your baby is in the bath, you should always have a hand on her. Never leave your baby unattended during bath time, even for a second—and even when you're just filling the tub with water. Plan ahead. Make sure you have everything on hand before you start the bath. You don't want to have to scurry for a washcloth or towel while your baby is in the tub.

    See our reports on baby bathtubs and baby bath-seat warning for more information.

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