I'll admit that this isn't the most enjoyable time for me. Babies are very slippery when wet and soapy and therefore you'll need to be extremely careful. Apparently it's not the happiest time for my baby either. He doesn't seem to like being completely undressed, nor is he too excited about being in water, even though I try to make sure the temperature of the water is perfect for him. Fortunately, it's something you only have to do every few days, as you don't want to cause your baby to have overly dry skin.
The first thing you want to do is make sure the temperature in your house is just right. Make sure you have everything on hand that you'll need: 1. Soap that's designed to be gentle on baby's skin. If the soap isn't suitable for hair washing as well, you'll also need a gentle shampoo if you plan to wash baby's hair. 2. A washcloth and 3. A towel to dry baby. I do like the ones with the little hood on one of the corners, but it's not a must.
You'll also want to make sure you have baby's things together for when his bath is complete. These include 1.Any toiletries you plan to use, lotion, *baby powder (see note below) any diaper rash cremes you may use if applicable. 2. His diaper 3. A change of clothes.
One thing I like to have is a mesh sling. Matter of fact, it's one of my must-haves when there's a baby to be bathed. To me, it's the perfect invention because it makes me feel so much more secure when dealing with a slippery baby. It provides just the support that I need. It will work great with the baby bathtub or on its own. I've taken some pictures of mine so that you'll know what i'm talking about.
Alright, on to the bathing. There are devices that you can use to make sure the water is the perfect temperature for your little one. He won't be able to take water as hot as you may like it. If you don't have a device, your wrist or back of your hand will do just fine. Be sure not to use too much water; just a few inches worth will do. I personally like to keep the dry towel on my shoulder, but make sure it's nearby. The sooner you can get baby wrapped and warm, the happier you'll both be.
Start off cleaning baby's face. Be sure to use separate corners of the towel for baby's eyes. Next clean baby's ears. Now you'll want to put soap on your washcloth. You won't need a lot, no more than the size of a quarter if you're using the small baby washcloths (bigger washcloths will need slightly more). Start behind baby's ears. You'd be surprised at how smelly it can get there.
Work your way down to baby's neck. You'll probably need to use one hand to gently raise baby's head to get in there good. As you work your way down, be sure to cover all possible nooks and crannies as they tend to have a bit of lint and can smell bad as well. I like to save the head washing for last. The whole rinse and repeat normally isn't necessary.
If you don't have it there already, open the dry towel completely and drape it on one shoulder. You can help hold it open better with your chin. Lift the baby with both hands and bring him to the towel and wrap him.
Once you get him to your designated changing area, lotion him starting at the top of his body, by exposing only one arm or leg at a time, covering them back up as you go until baby is completely lotioned. This will help keep him warm and calm, and can help keep you from getting peed on, especially if it's a boy. Next you'll want to powder baby's bottom or use whatever creams you may be using. Diaper and dress the baby.
*My note on baby powder. This is not something I use all of the time. I've heard that baby powder is not safe to breathe in, for baby or anyone else. If you use baby powder, be sure to sprinkle it as close to baby's bottom as possible and use it sparingly.