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Some moms turn their baby’s bath time into a family affair by climbing into the tub with their little one. “I always recommend that bath time be family time,” says Santa Monica, Calif., pediatrician Jay Gordon, M.D., “and being in the tub with mom or dad makes it safe, cuddly and warm.” Here are tips to make splashing around safe and fun. And don’t miss our list of mom- and baby-approved products that will keep you and your little one squeaky clean and cuddly soft.
1. Gather everything you need, including a large washcloth and bath supplies. Warm up the bathroom. Use water that’s between 90 and 98 degrees F (make sure your water heater tops out at 120 degrees F to prevent scalding). Skip the bubble bath, which can be irritating to little girls’ vaginas and cause inflammation, possibly even stimulating a urinary tract infection.
2. If you can, get in first, and have your partner hand you your naked baby; otherwise, put the baby carrier close to the tub or shower and proceed from there. Keep your child away from the spout.
3. Spread the washcloth over your thighs if you’re in a tub (or across your chest if you’re in the shower) to keep the baby from slipping. You also can wear a bath glove, which can double as a washcloth, to hold on to her.
4. In the tub, sit with your knees up and place the baby on her back against your upper thighs with her feet on your belly, supporting her head and entire body. Soap her quickly from head to toe, keeping one hand on her at all times. Frequently pour bath water over the baby to rinse her off and keep her warm. Talk, sing and play; introduce a few toys if you like.
5. In the shower, hold your baby against your chest, keeping your arms securely around her. Reach up with one hand to soap her, and dip in and out of the water to rinse.
6. Wrap the baby in a hooded towel. Hand her off or set her in a baby seat while you quickly dry off and put on your robe.
7. Now’s the perfect time to nurse, cuddle and rock your baby to sleep.