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Newborn bath
eMediNexus,  23 September 2021
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A new article discussed that orientation of the first bath must be rendered to patients, preferably in the prenatal period, in a step-by-step manner. This can help in minimizing the stress caused to the neonate during the first bath and promote greater security and attachment with parents, and also prevents hypothermia of the newborn. Standard practices include:

  • The bathing area should be air-conditioned with closed doors and windows—to avoid temperature variations and heat loss of the newborn.
  • The water temperature must be checked with the inner part of the arm – an area of greater thermal sensitivity, or with a thermometer.
  • The newborn should be immersed in water slowly and gradually to reduce the impact of stress caused by cold.
  • It is recommended to clean the face with clean and soap-free water, before immersing the newborn in water. Eyes should be cleaned from the inner corner to the outer corner—to avoid contamination—with cotton balls moistened with clean water.
  • The scalp can be sanitized with the baby wrapped in a diaper towel or at the end of the bath – to prevent hypothermia.
  • Cleaning of the genital area should start in the anteroposterior direction—to prevent the dissemination of microorganisms.
  • The newborn should be dried using a clean, dry diaper towel, with gentle compressive movements, to avoid excessive humidity and friction with the skin.
  • Nostrils and ears can be cleaned with flexible cotton rods. The mouth must be wiped with filtered water and moistened gauge.
  • The umbilical stump must be kept clean and dry. The diaper should be closed below the umbilical stump.
  • The mother should talk or sing to the newborn while offering the care favors. This aids in recognition of the mother as a caregiver, and contributes to the safe and healthy bio-psycho-affective development.
  • The newborn should be breastfed soon after bath. This stimulates skin to skin contact – strengthening the bond, maintaining the stability of the cardiorespiratory system and reducing stress caused by cold due and loss of heat during bath.

Source: Rev Bras Enferm. 2021;74:e20200102. doi:10.1590/0034-7167-2020-0102

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