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When your little one is ready for that first bath, it's time to celebrate! Because bathtime is right up there with feeding in terms of the perfect bonding experience. And it's such splashy fun, too!

How much bathing does an infant really need? Well, he's not doing a whole lot right now that will make him so very dirty. Start with sponge baths until his umbilical cord falls off. During his first year, his little messes will stem from soiled diapers, dribbles or food and formula mishaps. If you keep his face, hands and bottom consistently clean, bathing him once every two or three days may be all that's necessary. In fact, bathing an infant too often can dry his skin. What can you do to make bathtime easier? Prepare. Prepare. Prepare!

 
 

safety tips

  • Do not leave baby unattended for a second.
    If you need to leave the bathroom, take baby along.
  • Empty bath water immediately after use.
    A baby can drown in as little as an inch of water.
  • Baby bath seats and baby bathtubs are not
    substitutes for supervision.

    They are only bathing aids, not safety devices.
    Strictly follow all warnings and manufacturer's instructions.
  • Never run the water while baby is in the tub.
    Fill the bath first, and then test the water temperature with your elbow or thermomenter before putting him in. Temperature should be between 90-100 degrees.

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taking care

Things to do before you're due. Getting ready for baby? Here are few ways to get started:


• first-aid kit

Consider investing in a first-aid kit, as well as a health and grooming kit that comes with essentials such as a thermometer, aspirator, medicine, comb and nail clipper.

skin care

To protect and nourish baby's delicate skin, use products that are both safe and gentle. And to make bathtime a soothing experience, look for specially formulated baby shampoos and baby washes.

sunscreen

To help protect babies 6 months and older against damaging UV rays, the CDC recommends applying a sunscreen with broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection - and an SPF of at least 15 - every time baby goes outside.