After waiting for months, your baby is born, and you are very much eager to get hold of it in your arms for the very first time. Before holding your newborn, the nurses normally take care of your baby during some minutes after birth. Nurses and doctors carry out these activities in the postpartum unit. Before bathing the newborn, there are some crucial steps that must be followed. First, nurses help the baby to cry. Crying helps the baby get rid of the some fluids that may be in the lungs. Secondly, the baby’s umbilical cord is cut and clamped. It is then kept warm, and at this level, nurses in the postpartum will dry his skin, wrap it in a blanket and place knitted hat on its head. This helps the baby to stay warm. At this point, the mother can hold her baby, have that skin touch to maintain its warmth. After the nurses have done the rest of the operations like measuring weight, ensuring that the baby needs no special care and its body temperature is stable, the newborn may be given its first bath. Bathing an infant may sometimes be challenging but important. If my fellow students and I agree with these ideas, then it is important for maternal and child health nurses to acquire the appropriate and competent knowledge required to bathe newborn babies in the postpartum unit (Wong, 2006). Maternal nurses are taken through the nursing course to ascertain they can provide quality maternal nursing and baby bathing of the newborn.


Nurses continuously learn through acquiring the professional standards emphasizing on how they should maintain their competencies. Therefore, child health nurses should acknowledge varied child care situations in the postpartum unit. The ability to adapt to these situations helps the nurses provide quality care to the newborn not only through baby bath but also in other ways (Wong, 2006). This paper contains the reflective analysis of the baby bath of a newborn in the setting of the postpartum unit. The chance to work in the postpartum unit assisted me in integrating the concepts about the baby bath of a newborn that I have learned.
During my first day of placement in the postpartum unit, I had the chance to bathe one-day-old baby boy. Baby Merlin was very handsome and joyful. He was born through a normal delivery without complication, but I discovered that she had I.V. cannula and large bowel movement the time I was to bathe him. I was not alone in the postpartum unit. Before giving the newborn a bath, my clinical instructor had to take us through some demonstrations. There were other nursing students, the mother of the newborn and my clinical instructor, inside the postpartum unit. My clinical instructor has very good experience because she has worked in the department for about fifteen years. Furthermore, my clinical instructor is good at teaching the process of the baby bath. She was there to guide me through the steps of baby bath. The first thing that she did was to prepare the equipment that she needed to bathe the baby in the postpartum unit as other students watched. At first, she had to take the measurements of the body temperature of the baby to ascertain that the baby had no hypothermia or fever. The second step was to check her pulse rate and respiratory system as what my clinical instructor demonstrated to us. It turned out that the baby had no hypothermia. Moreover, the baby’s body temperature and pulse rate were very stable. My clinical instructor prepared the water of appropriate temperature, shampoo, hospital tub, towels and the face clothes. Other nursing students and I were very keen and attentive to the steps the clinical instructor was following. She showed high confidence while performing the task. My clinical instructor did the first baby bath for the baby who doesn’t have IV cannula. When she asked who could give a bath for the 2nd baby, I offered myself. However, when I checked the baby, I found out it had an IV cannula attached to it. I tried to withdraw from performing the task, but my clinical instructor assisted me by covering the IV cannula with a glove.

In the presence of other nursing students, my clinical instructor, the 2nd baby’s mother and her sister, I cleaned the head of the baby and ensured that first it was clean. I performed the sterile technique process by wiping eyes from inner to outer canthus using one face clothes in different site. Then, I massaged the head to stimulate it. After drying the head thoroughly, I went ahead and changed the soiled diaper before… I’m lost po with your train of thought here. However, he peed on my uniform. I got surprised and almost lost hold of him but he didn’t fall down. While finishing up, the baby peed on my uniform which startled me. I almost dropped him, but fortunately I did not. I tried to clean up his back, so I had to flip the baby over. I felt incompetent when my clinical instructor told me I held the baby incorrectly. She gave me instructions just to clean up his back. After that, I dried the baby well, removed the glove covering his IV cannula, and gave him back to his mother for skin to skin contact.

My turn to bathe baby Merlin was a great challenge to me. Discovering that baby Merlin had I.V cannula and large bowel movement made me very nervous to proceed. I felt very scared and reluctant to give the baby a bath. However, bathing him under the instructions of my clinical instructor was necessary. I was very tensed and challenged in this situation, but I had to do my best because my clinical instructor had shown us the steps to take in giving a bath to the baby. I could not concentrate on the baby. I kept on wondering what I could do to ensure that I don’t injure the baby. Moreover, I lost my confidence because the mother of the baby was watching me, but my clinical instructor gave me instructions that I continued following. Still I was really scared and felt incompetent. The experience made me not to do well in the practical idea of bathing newborn baby. I felt that I was not as good as my teacher and classmates present during this session in the postpartum unit.


The episode at the postpartum unit left me reflecting on my learning moments in the college which most of the time was theoretical. In college, we used toys representing babies in our classes to demonstrate the baby bath of the newborn. Regularly, our instructor made use of the scientific theories to explain the process of the baby bath. However, the episode in the postpartum unit was about how a maternal nurse could prepare for the baby bath and the steps involved in the undertaking of the baby birth. It left me wondering about my competencies.

To significantly provide quality baby bath and maternal nursing, there is the need to incorporate the relevant facts and concepts that I learned in the class into what I do in the field or the maternal ward. Furthermore, I will have to take the initiative of taking my practice a notch higher through reading my lecture notes, doing thorough research in various peer-reviewed journals, books and articles that address the issues of the baby bath of the newborn. I need to do something about my nervousness behavior through doing more practical baby bath in different scenarios under the guidance of my qualified instructor and colleagues.
If I had read through the books that talk about the baby bath, I could have known that establishing a routine for baby birth is very essential. My clinical instructor took me through baby bath routine that was pretty well organized to suit the needs of the baby and the mother. I learned that the routine could be established to enable the baby to have alternating tub baths with the sponge time baths. In the event, the bath should be postponed if the baby is grumpy, going through tummy upset or is hungry .

I remember many students asking many questions concerning the time to give a newborn a bath. The clinical instructor was very clear on this issue. She said that we should delay the newborn bath for at least twenty-four hours, according to World Health Organization’s advice. I recall her reiterating that the newborn have vernix on the layers of their skin that act as a protective coating, . Delaying the baby bath has health benefits to the baby and the mother. She finally said that the having the baby laying on the chest of her mother is the best thing to do because at the moment after delivery, babies are working to make their body temperature stable.
I learned a lot of things from the experience. I recall my clinical instructor giving us the lecture on how frequent should a baby be bathed, some of the ideas I had never known before. She stated that after the first baby bath of the newborn, the bathing of the baby can be bathed two to three times a week. I learned that before bathing the baby, the mother should make sure that she is not hungry. Also, a baby bath is necessary because it is hygienic. The mother should wash the baby using the soaps that are only meant for bathing the babies .

In addition to the knowledge on the how to do baby bath, the clinical instructor reminded us the benefits of bathing a baby. She reiterated that bathing was necessary to because of its emotional benefits. Bathing teaches the baby the significance of touch. Moreover, wrapping it in a very soft towel and drying it make the baby feel safe and warm. Secondly, time for a bath is play time and a bonding period.

To provide a better baby bath, I have to overcome my fears of holding newborn. need to continuously review the valuable information and aspects from my past experiences. The CNO professional standards (2002) reiterate that the nurses and medics show the standards through time and effort to become more knowledgeable and through taking part in learning that improves the practice. Furthermore, I will have to continuously find ways to take part in various learning processes get rid of my fears. I believe my experience in the postpartum unit will help me to learn the importance of having confidence in the bathing of the newborn with any condition in the postpartum unit.


The excellence in the delivery of baby bath and child nursing are realistic goals that can be attained when nurses are taken through continuous knowledge update. This paper has identified some of the baby bath basics and factors to consider when giving a newborn a proper bath. The nurses who want to give proper baby bath need not only to act individually but also pass the information to other colleagues. There are some women who do not deliver from the hospital and lack knowledge of how to carry out the child nursing and baby bath in particular. The knowledge of how to do baby bath is fundamental because it can be used to maintain the hygiene of the child. Moreover, if the baby bath is done well, it brings with it a lot of importance to the baby. The event gives an opportunity for the child and the mother to bond and learn.


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