With first time parents the prospect of doing anything to their newborn baby can seem like a daunting and complicated task. From changing diapers to giving the baby a bath, it is every parent’s job to worry and fret
that they are doing something wrong.
Washing a baby’s hair has to be high up on the ‘how the hell do I do that?” agenda! Fortunately parents are not alone and help is at hand about how to wash your baby’s delicate
little head of hair correctly.
Babies Born on the Bald Side
Some babies are born with a head full of hair, whilst others are born with little or no hair at all. If your baby does not have any hair, his or her scalp will still need to be washed.
The easiest way to do this is
to support your baby’s head and shoulders whilst he or she is in the bath with one hand, and with the other hand slowly pour a jug or warm, soapy water over the scalp, keeping the head tilted back slightly to avoid
the water from going in the baby’s eyes.
With newborns it is advisable just to use water to wash their head and body in those first few weeks as soap can easily make newborn skin become dry and flakey. As your baby
reaches four or five weeks, soap can be added to the bath water and poured over the baby’s scalp. Make sure that the soap added to the water is PH neutral so it will not aggravate your baby’s delicate and highly sensitive skin.
How to Wash a Baby’s Hair
With newborn babies, the best way to wash their hair is with a sponge or flannel. Support your baby’s shoulders and head, which again should be tilted slightly, and gently pat the wet and warm sponge or flannel
over the hair until it is sufficiently clean.
A lot of parents are ‘freaked out’ by their baby’s soft spots and avoid touching them at all costs. It is important to remember that these soft spots are protected by
a thick membrane and cleaning these areas of your baby’s head is as imperative as the rest of the baby’s scalp.
As your baby progresses from a newborn into a young baby, at about four to five weeks, you will need to start applying shampoo to your baby’s hair. Always use a mild shampoo, preferably designed for babies. Wet
your infant’s hair with a sponge and add a tiny amount of shampoo, no larger than a small coin to his or her hair, and gently massage it in, working up a small lather. Rinse the shampoo out thoroughly by pouring
a jug of warm water over your baby’s hair; once again keep his or her head tilted back slightly to avoid any contact with the eyes.
It is important that all the shampoo is removed as shampoo left on the scalp can
cause a baby’s head to become dry, which can lead to cradle cap. Always wash your baby’s hair last, as allowing an infant to sit in water which is full of shampoo suds can lead to a urinary track infection.
How Often Should I wash My Baby’s Hair?
A baby’s hair should not be washed every day and even every other day can be considered too often and many midwives advise that an infant’s hair is washed on an “as needed basis”. Excessive washing of the hair
covering such sensitive and delicate skin is not needed and will only dry out a baby’s scalp, which could lead to cradle cap. Instead of washing it every day, gently wipe it with a flannel daily to remove any
dirt and fresh your baby up.
What Shampoo Should I Use to Wash my Baby’s Hair?
Shampoos designed for adults often contain sulphates and are generally much harsher than shampoos made especially for babies.
Although whilst many baby shampoos are milder and kinder to a baby’s hair and skin,
and do not sting as much if the shampoo gets in the infant’s eyes, if the shampoo contains a high PH, it can cause rigorous tangling of your baby’s hair. It is therefore advisable to use a shampoo which is
especially formulated for babies’ hair but which is also PH balanced and falls in between the 4.5 – 6 PH range to avoid excessive tangling.