When To Give Babys First Bath
It used to be the norm at hospitals to whisk newborns away right after birth for a bath. Not anymore. Recommendations have shifted in favor of waiting at least a few hours, if not longer, for babys first bath .
Research indicates that there may be significant physical and emotional benefits to delaying that initial newborn bath. Since young babies are especially sensitive to cold, it can decrease cold stress, says Katherine Williamson, MD, a pediatrician at Childrens Hospital of Orange County in Orange, California. Cold-induced stress can cause the body to work to keep itself warm, which can cause blood sugar levels to drop, she explains, citing studies that show delaying babys first bath decreases rates of hypothermia and hypoglycemia. Plus, babies are born with a waxy, cheese-like coating on their skin, called the vernix, which you dont want to wash off, Williamson says, since it helps retain heat and can serve as an additional barrier to infections. In addition, a 2013 study found that delaying babys first bath in the hospital until at least 12 hours after birth led to an increased breastfeeding success rate, since mom can nurse more quickly and have more time for skin-to-skin bonding, Williamson adds.
If Your Newborn Hates The Bath
You may think you are doing something wrong if your little one cries or otherwise protests during bath time. However, many newborns dislike being bathed at first.
One reason some babies resist bath time is that they dont like the sudden temperature change. You can lessen this transition by slowly getting your baby into the water. Wrap them in a towel at first and gradually immerse them in the water, keeping the towel on until they are all the way in.
You can also experiment with water temperatures to see what your baby likes best. And always have a warm towel ready when they come out so that the air on their wet skin doesnt feel too jarring.
Some newborns tolerate baths better if you are holding them. As a result, many parents decide to bathe with their babies in their arms. This can be a wonderful bonding experience, but remember to keep safety in mind. Only bathe with your baby when you are fully alert, make sure you have a towel ready, and possibly another grown-up to hand your baby to when you are done. And dont use soaps and other bath products geared toward adult skin.
Finally, keep bath time fun for your baby! Newborns cant play with bath toys yet, but that doesnt mean they cant be entertained by them. Funny faces and games of peek-a-boo can be very helpful as well.
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Babys First Bath: How To Bathe A Newborn
Babies need sponge baths until their umbilical cords fall off. Heres how to give a newborn a bath, with tips on keeping the routine safe.
Babys first bath can fill a new parent with trepidation. Youre still not entirely comfortable handling this tiny person, and it feels strange covering her body in water. But soon enough youll master the sponge-bathing processand youll get a squeaky clean infant on the way! Heres everything you need to know about bathing your newborn.
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Situating And Supervising Baby
To place baby in the bath, gently slide them into the baby tub, feet first.
- As you slide baby in, hold them securely.
- One arm should provide support under their head, and that hand should grasp baby under their underarm.
- The other arm should support babys bottom.
Never leave baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.
- Theres a high risk of drowning if baby is left unsupervised in the tub.
- As the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions, babies can drown in as little as 1-2 inches of water.
- And over half of bathtub deaths involve children under one year of age.
Never leave baby in the bath with only another child watching them, either. Babies need close adult supervision in the bath.
If you need to leave the bath area for any reason, you must take baby with you!
Keep one hand on baby at all times during the bath use touch supervision to keep them safe.
- Ideally, use one arm to cradle babys head while you bathe them with the other hand.
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Can You Give Your Baby Bath Toys
Keep in mind that for infants, you donât need any bath toys at all, as splashing around in the water will be enough entertainment. As your baby gets older, you can add some floating baby toys or even waterproof books to keep him occupied.
Eventually, your baby will start to enjoy baths, and at some point, it will become more like playtime than bath time. When sheâs bigger, let your little one splash around and have some fun in the water.
Between your babyâs baths, youâll probably be doing a lot of diapering. Why not get rewarded for all your efforts? Download the Pampers Club app to turn your Pampers purchases into rewards like coupons, gift cards, and more.
How we wrote this articleThe information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below.The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
Moisturize Your Babys Skin
Newborn skin is usually pretty self-sufficient! Your little one may not need any lotion at all, but if they do, choose a gentle, non-irritating cream that will be just the thing for their baby skin!
Our Soothing Moisturizing Baby Lotion is a fragrance-free, EWG Verified moisturizer designed specifically for sensitive, rashy, or reactive skin.
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The Best Baby Bath Supplies
Before bathing your newborn, it is important to gather all of the supplies you need for the bath and place it within arms reach. This makes sure that you have everything you need and can keep a hand on your child for safety the entire time.
At Bless Our Littles, we like to talk about things we love and think you might enjoy too. Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Which means we will receive a commission, if you click on a link and make a purchase. This is no extra cost to you. There are some products we have tried and others that we havent but think would be helpful to you!
How To Give Your Newborn A Sponge Bath
Until your newborn is ready for full-body baths, give them sponge baths:
- Fill a basin with warm water, then wrap your baby in a towel and lie them on a comfortable surface. Always keep one hand on your baby and your baby covered with a towel.
- Dip a clean washcloth in the water and clean their face, starting at the bridge of the nose and wiping over their eyes. Clean the outer folds of the ear with a corner of the washcloth .
- Use the washcloth to wipe the rest of your baby’s body from the neck down, only uncovering the parts of the body you’re cleaning. You don’t need to use soap it can be drying for sensitive newborn skin. If you do, use a mild, moisturizing soap made for babies.
For little messes like milk dribbles on your newborn’s chin or neck, you can spot-clean with a damp washcloth. Once or twice a day, wipe down your baby’s face, neck, and hands, as well as the folds of their skin as needed. And thoroughly clean their genital area with wipes after each diaper change.
Many newborns have scaly, peeling skin on their scalp a harmless condition known as cradle cap. It won’t bother your baby, and it’s perfectly fine to leave it alone until it goes away on its own. But if it really bothers you, you can try to remove the scales by washing your baby’s hair with baby shampoo and gently passing a soft-bristled brush over your baby’s scalp.
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Benefits Of Co Bathing With Baby
If you feel that your baby may benefit from a bath, why dont you take your baby into the tub with you? Baby baths are awkward to fill to use or bend over the bath. Lifting them onto a safe surface should be avoided, especially if you have had a caesarean section or simply want to look after your back. Sharing a bath together can be lots of fun and also helps with breastfeeding.
Sharing bath time together has lots of benefits:
- It is relaxing for both you and your baby. You get to soak in the tub while enjoying some skin to skin with your little one.
- It can be a lovely winding down period for both of you, especially after a busy or unsettled day and may even help with bedtimes.
- It is a great way for you and your nursling to touch base and have a peaceful breastfeed. Skin to skin boosts all those milk-making hormones.
- Helps your let-down, which can help your little one breastfeed.
When Should Baby’s First Bath Be And When Should You Bathe Your Newborn
Wondering whats a good time to give your newborn a bath and when baby’s first bath should be? The scheduling of this event is entirely up to you as long as you pick a moment when you wont be interrupted or tempted to hurry through the bath. You should probably plan for baby’s first bath within a week after birth. Just avoid bathing your newborn right after a feeding or when she’s overtired.
Babies tend to be more alert in the morning, which is appealing to some, though others may slate it in the early evening as part of her goodnight activities. When its time to wind down, make her bathtime part of a relaxing bedtime routine that also includes a final bottle or nursing session, a book and a little song.
Keep in mind, however, that newborns dont need a lot of washing and at first, youll just be giving her a quick a sponge bath until her umbilical cord stump falls off, which usually happens about one to three weeks after birth.
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Many Parents Look Forward To Their Baby’s First Bath Others Are Less Sure Learn How To Give A Newborn A Bath With Tips On Keeping The Routine Safe And Fun
A baby’s first bath can fill a new parent with excitement, trepidation, or both. In many cases, parents are still not entirely comfortable handling this tiny person, and it may feel strange covering their body in water. But soon enough you’ll master the sponge-bathing processand you’ll get a sweet-smelling, squeaky-clean infant along the way! Here’s everything you need to know about bathing your newborn.
Best Temperature For A Bath
You can experiment to see what temperature your baby likes their bath best. In general, lukewarm temperatures are ideal. You dont want the bath to be too cold, but you certainly dont want it too hot.
Some parents err on the side of heating the bath up too much, and risk scalding their babies. The AAP recommends that your babys bath be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Its helpful to fill the baby tub or sink with a few inches of water before immersing your baby in it. Test the water first to see if it is an appropriate temperature for your baby.
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When Will Your Baby Be Ready For His First Tub Bath
After your babyâs umbilical cord stump falls off, you can transition from sponge baths to actual baths in a sink or a baby bathtub.
His first bath in a tub should be gentle and quick however, you might need to go back to sponge baths if your baby fusses a lot and simply doesnât like this new activity.
Baby Bath: Time For A Sponge Bath
Gentle sponge baths are perfect for the first few weeks until the umbilical cord falls off, the circumcision heals, and the navel heals completely.
The basics of bathing a baby:
- First, undress baby — cradling the head with one hand. Leave the diaper on . Wrap baby in a towel, exposing only those areas that you are washing.
- Using a baby bath sponge or wash cloth, cleanse one area at a time. Start behind the ears, then move to the neck, elbows, knees, between fingers and toes. Pay attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck.
- The hair comes toward the end of bath time so baby doesn’t get cold. While newborns don’t have much hair, you can sponge the few wisps that are there. To avoid getting eyes wet, tip the head back just a little. There’s no need for shampoo just use water.
- Now it’s time to remove the diaper and sponge baby’s belly, bottom, and genitals.
- Wash little girls from front to back. If there’s a little vaginal discharge, don’t worry — and don’t try to wipe it all away. If a little boy is uncircumcised, leave the foreskin alone. If circumcised, don’t wash the head of the until it’s healed.
- Gently pat baby dry. Rubbing the skin will irritate it.
Bath time is over, and your fresh little baby is ready for a clean diaper and clothes!
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Benefits Of Delaying Your Newborns First Bath
- Temperature regulation
During delivery, your baby experiences a sudden contrast in climate as they enter a dry environment from the fluid-filled amniotic sac. This causes their skin to easily dry out, crack, and peel especially when babies are born further along in the gestation period.
- Prevent dry skin
Your baby will be born with a coating of vernix caseosa on their skin. This creamy, waxy build-up consists mostly of water, lipids, and proteins and promotes better temperature regulation and softer skin after birth.
Frequent bathing results in drier skin at any age. So, to help prevent dry skin, we wait up to 24 hours before wiping off the vernix caseosa. However, if the mother has an infection that could be transmitted to the baby, such as HIV or herpes, we clean the newborn right away.
- Breastfeeding benefits
Studies have shown that delaying babys first bath can also lead to more success with breastfeeding, as it increases skin-to-skin contact between the baby and mother. And by staying warmer longer, babies are less tired and irritated when learning to latch.
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How To Give A Baby A Tub Bath
Follow these steps to give your newborn a bath after the umbilical cord has fallen off:
Make sure to keep one hand on your baby at all times. If you need to step away even for a second, pick them up wrapped in a towel and bring them with you. Infants can quickly drown in just a few inches of water.
Verywell / Caitlin Rogers
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