After the bath itself is complete, it's time to dry your baby. During the first few weeks, while you're still giving your baby sponge baths, dry each area of the body right after you wash and rinse it before you move on to wash the next area. And use a towel to cover up the parts that aren't being washed. That way, your baby won't get too cold during the bathing process.
When it's time for your baby to start taking tub baths, immediate drying is still just as important. Babies lose heat quickly -- especially through their heads -- so it's important to wrap your baby in a towel as soon as bath time is over. You may want to use a hooded towel for added warmth around your baby's head.
As for actual methods of drying, make sure you gently pat your baby dry instead of rubbing, since rubbing can irritate your baby's skin [source: WebMD]. And be sure to thoroughly dry any folds in your baby's skin, especially around the neck and legs, since trapped moisture can cause irritation [source: Johnson & Johnson].
After you've thoroughly yet gently dried your baby, dress him quickly with a clean diaper and clean clothes. Until the umbilical cord stump detaches, be careful not to cover the cord area.
Remember that bath time can be not only part of an important hygiene routine but also a great bonding time for you and your baby. Just make sure you're prepared -- you'll stay calm and relaxed, and your baby will feel that way, too. For more information about how to bathe your baby, see the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Askbaby.com "Baby baths." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.askbaby.com/baby-baths.htm
- Babycenter. "Tips for safe bathing." October 2006. (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.babycenter.com/0_tips-for-safe-bathing_40.bc
- Bouchez, Colette. "Is My Newborn Normal?" WebMD. (Accessed 8/31/09).http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/is-my-newborn-normal
- Trinh, Tram. "CCHP Healthline FAQs: Is talcum powder safe?" California Child Healthcare Program. (Accessed 9/14/09)http://www.ucsfchildcarehealth.org/html/healthline/healthlinefaqmain.htm
- Hartshorn, Jessica. "How to Bathe Baby." Parents.com. (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.parents.com/baby/care/bath/how-to-bathe-baby/
- Johnson & Johnson. "How to Give Your Baby A Sponge Bath." (Accessed 8/27/09).https://www.johnsonsbaby.com/bath/how-to-bathe-a-baby
- Oberdorf, Janna. "Splash Time: Baby Bath Basics." Parents.com. (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.parents.com/baby/care/bath/baby-bath-basics/?page=1
- Parents.com. "Bathing Basics: print out guide." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.parents.com/baby/care/bath/bathing-baby-basics-guide/
- Parents.com. "How to Give a Sponge Bath." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.parents.com/baby/care/bath/bathing-baby-basics-guide/;jsessionid=RCHIAYTIVA3GKCQCEARSAOQ?page=2
- Parents.com. "How to Give a Tub Bath." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.parents.com/baby/care/bath/bathing-baby-basics-guide/?page=3
- Springhill Medical Center. "Bath Time for Baby." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.springhillmedicalcenter.com/HospitalServices/ChildbirthMaternityServices/AboutYourBaby/SkinCare/BathTimeforBaby/tabid/134/Default.aspx
- WebMD. "Baby maintenance: bath, nails, and hair." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://children.webmd.com/baby-maintenance-101-baths-nails-and-hair?page=2
- WebMD. "Baby's First Bath: What New Moms Must Know." (Accessed 8/27/09).http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/babys-first-bath-what-new-moms-must-know?page=2