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3 Skills New-Moms Must Master

Scrub-a-Dub-Dub

You'll likely want to have your camera ready for baby's first bath, but make sure the parent doing the bathing isn't also the one snapping the pics: You'll need two hands. Make sure whoever is behind the camera stands back: He might get wet!

"Don't be surprised if baby screams in the tub or even during a sponge bath," warns Cronan. "Many infants dislike being undressed and cry loudly in response. It's normal."

Until baby's cord stump falls off and navel heals and until his circumcision heals, a sponge bath will do, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And don't bathe too often -- more than two or three times a week will dry baby's tender skin, Cronan says. Choose a mild, scent-free soap and shampoo, she says.

Decide on whether you'll be bathing him in a sink or a baby bathtub. "I gave Lukas his first bath in the kitchen sink. He absolutely hated it," says Ethne Damm, a 25-year-old mom from Sheridan, Wyoming. "Later I put a towel on the bottom of the sink, and he absolutely loved taking a bath." Cronan recommends using a baby tub, which is stable and more secure.

When it's time for baby's first dip, here's how it should go down:

Step 1. Fill a sink or baby bathtub with 2 to 3 inches of warm water (it should feel comfortably warm to the inside of your wrist). Babies chill quickly, so place her in the water immediately -- feet first, supporting her head with your hand -- and keep her warm by pouring water over her regularly with a plastic or rubber cup or by squeezing it from a washcloth.

Step 2. Wash her hair with a soft cloth. Massage her scalp gently with a soft brush, including the area over her soft spots Keep the water out of her eyes. Cup your hands to direct the flow of water, or use a cup with a side that rounds inward made especially for bathing infants. Wash the rest of her body from the top down, saving the dirtier bits for last, Cronan says. Wrap her in a towel, covering her head to keep it warm. Those adorable hooded baby towels you received at your shower work particularly well.

Quick Tip: Never leave baby alone in the bath, even for an instant. If you need to step away, wrap baby in a towel and take her with you.

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