The newborn swims in the bathroom in the arms of the mother. The first bathing of the baby in the bathroom.

Will you be giving your baby her first bath soon? It’s a wonderful opportunity to bond with your newborn without distractions.

But as you’re preparing for bath time, you might feel a little nervous about the best way to bathe your baby. And that’s completely normal.

Here are a few tips to ensure the bath is a fun, safe experience for you both.


Tips for Giving Your Baby a Bath

Step 1: Prepare Your Supplies. Before you begin, gather your bathing supplies and place everything within easy reach, including a washcloth, a towel and baby soap. It’s also a good idea to have lotion, diaper cream, a fresh diaper and clean clothes on standby.

Step 2: Warm Up the Room. Babies lose body heat quickly, so it’s important that the bathing room be warm, ideally between 75 and 80 degrees. You can also put a warm washcloth on your little one’s chest and tummy to keep him comfortable.

Step 3: Fill the Tub. Fill the basin, tub or sink just enough to cover the bottom of your baby’s body, about two inches. Then, gently slide your baby into the tub, supporting his head. Keep a hand on your baby at all times when he’s in the bath. Never turn away, even for a second.

Step 4: Time to Wash. Use a gentle cloth to wipe your little one’s face, especially around the mouth and under the chin where milk and drool collect. Wash your baby’s hands and diaper area with mild soap; you can use just water on the rest of the body unless she’s really dirty.

Step 5: Use Tear-Free Baby Shampoo. If your baby has a little hair, gently clean it with a tiny amount of shampoo. If your baby is bald, just wipe her head with a washcloth.

Step 6: Be Careful with Sensitive Areas. It’s okay to wipe away any crustiness around the umbilical cord. Just go easy. And be extra gentle when cleaning the diaper area. Wash your daughter’s area from front to back. If your son is circumcised, wipe his genitals clean. However, if your son isn’t circumcised, there’s no need to pull back the foreskin to wash the penis.

Step 7: Rinse and Dry. Rinse your baby well with warm water and gently pat dry with a soft towel.

Step 8: Apply Creams and Ointments as Needed. Only apply products like lotion and diaper cream if your little one needs them. If your baby doesn’t need any cream, you can still use this time to give her a relaxing massage.

Step 9: Dress and Swaddle. Dress your baby in a new diaper and clean clothes, and swaddle him in a blanket to enjoy extra snuggles with your freshly clean newborn.

Step 10: Trim Nails. After a bath is the perfect time to trim or file baby’s nails so he doesn’t scratch himself.


How Often to Bathe Your Newborn Baby

Since most of your little one’s time is spent sleeping and eating, she doesn’t get too dirty just yet. Plus, bathing too often can dry out your baby’s delicate skin.

At most, she’ll need a bath two to three times a week. And newborns should only have sponge baths until their umbilical cords dry up and fall off.


Where Can I Bathe My Baby?

It’s best to use a hard plastic baby bathtub with a sloped, textured surface or a sling that keeps your little one from sliding, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

You can also use a sink, bathinette or a plastic tub lined with a clean towel.

Avoid using baby bath seats, as they can easily tip over and your little one can fall into the water and drown.


How Warm Should the Water Be?

The water should be comfortably warm, never hot. Hot water can severely burn your baby which would require medical attention.

To make sure the bathwater is at a comfortable temperature, test it with your wrist or elbow.

If you’re bathing your baby in the sink, avoid running the water over him or using the sprayer. As water moves through your pipes, the temperature fluctuates and even the smallest change can cause painful burns.

You can further prevent burns (for baby and you) by adjusting the setting on your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.


Is It Better to Bathe My Baby in the Morning or at Night?

It’s your choice.

Choose what works best for you so you can take your time and bond without interruptions.

There are benefits to bathing at either end of the day. During morning baths your baby will likely be more alert, so you’ll get to interact with her more. Evening baths can calm your little one and prepare her for a good night’s sleep.


Key Takeaways

  • Only bathe your baby two to three times a week.

  • Place all supplies within easy reach and keep a hand on your little one at all times.

  • Keep the room warm and use water that’s warm, not hot, to the touch.

  • Use gentle soap and tear-free baby shampoo.

Taking care of your baby starts during pregnancy. Make sure you have a knowledgeable doctor who can guide your journey and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.


Looking for an OB/GYN in Southgate or Brownstown, Michigan?

Click here to schedule an appointment with our office.


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