Baby Boot Camp: The First Bath

Sona Charaipotra
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As a new first-time mom -- yes, I'm typing this with one hand -- I'll be exploring the often stressful, always magical first six weeks of little one's life with the scoop on things like car seats, cradle cap, cuddle time, and other newborn issues in CafeMom's Baby Boot Camp.

Baby's First Bath
Flickr photo by Locutis
The first few weeks of Kavi's life, we gave her these cozy little sponge baths -- you know, the ones they show you how to do at the hospital baby care classes.

She seemed pretty oblivious to these little interludes, a swipe over the eyes and face, all over her little torso, between those tiny fingers and toes. But then again, she was oblivious to much of the goings-on of the first few weeks.

Once she was just about 2 weeks old -- and that dreaded belly button stump died of natural causes -- it was time to give Kavi her first real bath. Given a certain jokey disdain for the act of bathing amongst some in our clan, we all assumed she would hate it. Shockingly, she didn't.

The whole thing was a big production -- Nani-ma and Meena Masi were there to witness and bear towels, Kavi's proud papa took pictures, and I did the bathing honors. We undressed her, gave her a gentle massage with some almond oil (an old Indian ritual for babies), all while keeping our little winter baby warm in her towel. And luckily, we remembered not to remove her diaper till the last minute, considering she wet it before we got her into the tub.

Speaking of which, we used a small wide pail of sorts for Kavi's first bath, since we were at my mom's house. She was so tiny, there was still plenty of room for her in it. We've since upgraded to a tub made especially for babies, complete with a safety swing. But that first bath, I gently placed her in the pail, pouring warm water over her face and little limbs -- and she loved it. Who knew we'd have a little water baby?

And boy was she slippery. A soft washcloth helped keep her steady as I gave her a light scrub all over with an all-in-one no tears shampoo and body wash, especially around her neck and in her hair, as she was suffering from cradle cap. We rinsed her off with a fresh pail of water, gave her a little splash of baby oil, then wrapped her up in her towel.

As much as Kavi loved bathtime, she hated getting dressed afterward -- and still does. So we make it a priority to welcome post-bath baby into a warm, cozy environment. And even if she fusses as we dress her, we make sure to give her a little rub of baby cream after the bath to keep her skin soft and smelling yummy, with that particular newborn scent.

Bathing baby is getting to be old hat now, but I'll never forget the beatific, awed expression on Kavi's face the first time she experienced it.

When was your baby's first bath? Did you use a specially designed tub, or go old school in the sink?


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