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baby's first shampoo

Suds up — it's time to wash your little one's hair. Although it may seem a bit challenging at first, you'll be surprised at just how enjoyable it can be for baby and you. Remember, your newborn doesn't need a rigorous shampooing schedule nor do you need to soap up your baby's head every time you give him a bath. Only shampoo his hair when you genuinely feel it's necessary. As he gets older, it will take on more importance.

prep time

For starters, identify an area where you'll be comfortable handling your little one. This could range from placing the baby bathtub in the kitchen sink or in the bathroom tub.

Lay out the necessary supplies:

  • baby shampoo
  • 2-3 baby washcloths
  • rinse cup
  • large towel
  • one or two bath toys

Set the bath water to a pleasant temperature��� neither too hot nor too cold, for baby's comfort and safety. A soothing song and a fun bath toy can help put him at ease, and get both of you ready for the actual shampoo.

ready, set, shampoo!

  • The shampoo you choose should be tear-free, to prevent it from stinging. Even then, be careful to keep the soap out of your baby's eyes. You need only a couple of drops of shampoo or baby body cleanser to get the job done.
  • If you're shampooing his hair as part of his regular bathtime, keep his head dry while you're cleansing other parts of his body, since this will help to keep him warm.
  • Keep the shampoo bottle ready. Flip or unscrew the top before you begin so you can squeeze it with one hand.
  • Prepare the water. Pour lukewarm water into a measuring cup, or a small watering can with a slender spout so you can control the flow.
  • Dampen the scalp. Hold your baby in one arm so that his head is tilted a little lower than his body. Pour the prepared water over your baby's locks and let it drain into the sink or baby bathtub.
  • Squeeze out a few drops of shampoo (half the size of a dime) into your palm. Spread the shampoo around on baby's head and gently massage it in with the pads of your fingers. (Don't be afraid of hurting the soft spots, or fontanels, on your baby's head - they're tough.)
  • Rinse. Again, hold your baby's body so his head is a little lower than the rest of his body. Pour warm water over his scalp to rinse off the shampoo, and then test with your hand to be sure there are no soapy areas left. If there are, rinse again.
  • Dry. Use a flap or hood of the towel to gently pat your baby's head, and keep him loosely wrapped as you transfer him to a dry area, such as the changing table where you can gently dry, diaper and dress him. If you need to brush his hair, use a baby brush with soft bristles. And let those precious locks dry naturally.
  • You'll soon get the hang of shampooing your baby's hair as part of a regular bathing regime. Soon enough, your little one will learn to lie backward, or to lean forward for rinsing. For babies that strongly dislike a shampoo, it may be wise to consider a foam shampoo visor or shield specifically made to protect baby's face.

Now, let the good, clean fun unfold!

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This article was written by Sandy and Marcie Jones, mother-daughter authors of the new "Great Expectations: Baby's First Year." They are experienced pregnancy and baby experts who offer a wealth of parenting knowledge in a very user-friendly manner. Sandy has written over 10 childcare books and more than 200 articles on pregnancy and parenting for publications such as Parents, American Baby and Fit Pregnancy. She's appeared on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," and CNN. Her daughter, Marcie Jones, brings a fresh, current perspective to the subject. She's a freelance editor and writer, as well as the mother of a young daughter.