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Kristin Fuerst

What To Know About Baby’s First Bath

Here’s everything you need to know to survive baby’s first bath, along with mom-tested products that’ll make it a breeze.

You set up the nursery, decided on which diapers to use and rounded up all the necessary feeding gear. But then it strikes you: How do you bathe a newborn baby? It's such a routine event, but that first bath can seem a little daunting, especially when it doesn't exactly go as planned.

In a dream world... You place baby gently in his new infant tub, a pool of tiny bubbles framing his face. It’s the perfect photo op—you snap it quick so you can look back fondly on the image for years to come. The world seems to slip away as you caress his tiny toes, wash his little belly and watch him smile every time he feels the warm touch of his favorite person—you.

In reality… You’re both a little freaked out. For someone who lived in water for nine months, baby’s flopping around like a fish stuck on shore. As for you, who knew something as simple as a bath could prompt so many questions: How much water should be in the tub? How warm is too warm? And how in the world are you supposed to clean all his little parts when he’s so slippery?! Once you make it through in one piece, you may need a hot soak of your own afterward.

Make This Milestone Easier

Don't worry, you'll be a pro in no time. But until then, check out these tips:

• Be prepared. Set up the baby tub, soap and other necessities in advance, so easing baby into the tub can be your primary focus (and you don’t need to pull her out to grab forgotten supplies). Before you set baby down to bathe her, fill the tub with only about three inches of warm—but not hot—water, and make sure to check it with your wrist.

• Stay calm. If you’re nervous, baby will be too. He’s sure to be wriggly and slippery, so wrap your arm under his upper back and hold him firmly at the armpit once he’s in the water. When it’s time to wash his backside, gently lean him forward and rest him on your other arm, continuing to hold him securely.

• Keep baby calm. Make eye contact to help her feel safe. (Remember: She has no idea what’s happening right now.) You might even sing a lullaby or a narrative of what’s going on—“Let’s wash your hands now!”—or try some gentle massage to help her relax even further. Cup water over baby’s body throughout the bath to keep her warm, and never place her directly under the faucet—the force of the stream can be too scary.

• Never leave baby unattended. It's the no. 1 rule: Never leave baby alone in the water, even for a moment.

Mom-Tested Helpers

Because we know how strapped for time you are, we rounded up sanity-saving products from Walmart that’ll help you and baby breeze through this milestone. Instead of heading to a million different stores, you can make one stop for everything your family needs—even groceries. Looking for a bigger time saver? Order these items online while baby’s napping and have them shipped direct, or do a same-day pickup at your local store later.

1. Aveeno Baby Wash, Shampoo & Daily Moisture Bundle
These hypoallergenic products are great for sensitive skin and for helping her retain that new baby softness.

2. Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Grow-With-Me Tub
A chameleon of a portable bathtub, the Grow-With-Me boasts four configurations (including a newborn sling) each aimed to help you bathe baby now and through toddlerhood with confidence and ease.

3. Munchkin White Hot Super Safety Bath Ducky
Baby will love the adorable creature company, and you’ll love that these toy ducks reveal the word “hot” on their bottoms when the bath water could use some more cool-off time before baby takes the plunge.

4. Gerber Newborn Baby Neutral 4 Piece Bear Bath Set
The only thing cuter than your freshly washed baby right out of the bath? Your freshly washed baby snuggled in a cuddly animal-themed towel.

The Bump teamed up with Walmart to bring you Real-Life Milestone Moments, a sponsored series full of solutions for the big, sometimes bumpy, journey through parenthood. With sanity-saving products and services like same-day pickup and stores open 24/7, Walmart is all about making life easier for new moms.

PHOTO: Shutterstock