Bathing and Water Temperature

So, last night was the dreaded bath night. The night I least look forward to, because it always seems to upset poor Murdo to the point where I feel very guilty. Last night was a revelation though.

Being a new parent you’re probably more inclined to err on the side of caution in all things where there’s a potential risk to your baby, and for me bathing is one of the times I feel I’m putting Murdo at most risk — what with water, and more critically, water that may be too hot for him.

The general advice from BabyCentre is this:

Make sure the bath water is comfortably warm, but not hot, before putting your baby in. Put cold water in the bath first, and then add the hot water. Mix the water well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots. This will reduce the risk of scalding your baby. Never put your baby in the bath when the water is still running. The water temperature can change quickly.

My problem comes at the “comfortably warm, but not hot” part, because what’s comfortably warm for me (or specifically, my elbow) may well not be comfortably warm for an 8 week old baby. Therein lay our problem.

Last night we used a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water, and the prescribed 37 degrees celsius seemed a bit warmer than the water we’d previously been using. We think we’ve been making the water too cool for him to be most comfortable, which has understandably made him protest loudly throughout all his previous encounters with the TummyTub!

Water that’s warmed to about 37 degrees C is just right (AWHONN 2007, Blume-Peytavi et al 2009). You can buy a thermometer to check the temperature of the bath water. Some thermometers are designed as a safe and fun bath toy.

The above is good advice about buying a baby bath thermometer. You may only use it a few times, because you’ll start to get a feel for what the right temperature is without it.

When you’re a new parent it seems that caution sometimes opens the window and lets reason fly out. Every day is certainly a school day with a new baby.

Sorry Murdo :)