newborn baby having a swaddle bath
Care Crying New Baby

"My Baby Hates Baths" - Swaddle Baths Reduce Crying

By Emily Ramirez
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If the thought of giving your baby their first bath gives you the jitters, there’s a cozy, less known option out there to consider.

While not actually new, swaddle baths are becoming more and more common after being shown to significantly reduce both temperature loss and crying times in newborn babies. They are especially helpful for premature babies, and are more commonly practiced in the NICU.

After watching a swaddle bath in action, it’s not hard to see why babies like them so much.

While traditional baths generally require a baby to be naked and sponge-bathed with water, swaddle baths allow for the newborn to remain covered, while being immersed in warm water. Each limb is carefully removed and cleaned, before being wrapped back up again all nice and cozy, a la #womblife.

“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BELLY BUTTON!” your overly concerned and nosy neighbor squeals upon seeing you from the bathroom window.

You can tell Wilma to rest easy, because occasional water immersion isn’t an issue with a healing belly button. You just want to make sure you don’t do it too often, and the belly button stump is patted dry with a clean cloth. Obviously, if your pediatrician has given you a reason to avoid a swaddle bath, you should follow their lead, but it’s worth asking about if you’re interested.

Here's another great how-to swaddle bath video from Lou Lou and Company:

Here’s how to become a master at swaddle baths:

  1. Get everything ready – fill the tub with warm water, get your towels, shut your blinds so Wilma can’t chime in.
  2. Remove baby’s clothes and diaper.
  3. Loosely wrap baby in a light blanket or swaddle cloth (these would be awesome).
  4. Place baby in a reclined position, with water up to their shoulders.
  6. Carefully unwrap one limb at a time, wash, rinse and rewrap.

Babies don’t need more than a bath or two per week, but swaddle baths are a great card to be able to play if you’re having an especially fussy day, or ya know, you need to wash mustard poop out of ear folds.

Related: How to Give a Newborn a Bath

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