How To Bathe A Newborn
Bathing a newborn may seem daunting at first, but with a little preparation and the right setup, babys first bath can be a stress-free, joyful experience. Yes, baby will likely cry, but it doesnt mean youre doing something wrong.
Dont worry about it so much! advises Mary F., a mom of two. We were so concerned about how to handle our first baby. She was so tiny! So breakable! And then we watched the nurse give our daughter her first bath in the hospital. You would have thought she was washing dishes! That was the moment where we were like, Ohwere not going to break her.
Here, we lay out step by step what you need to doand what you need to knowwhen it comes to bathing a newborn.
When To Give Your Newborn A Bath
The World Health Organization recommends waiting 24 hours before giving the newborn their first bath. If you cannot delay bathing for 24 hours for some reason, wait at least six hours after the babys birth. The babys first bath should always be a sponge bath since the umbilical cord stump would still be intact. Give your baby sponge baths until the dry stump falls, which takes about a week or two. You may then bathe your baby the conventional way in a bathtub.
It is essential to avoid bathing your newborn immediately after birth because bathing them too soon may lead to the following problems .
- Interferes with skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding: Giving your newborn a bath soon after birth may restrict their access to the mother. Early maternal bonding is vital for establishing skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding, vital for a babys healthy growth. Breastfeeding benefits are even helpful for the mother.
- Affects temperature and blood sugar: Newborns bodies need some time to adapt to the world outside the womb. Bathing a newborn soon after birth may make it difficult for the body to regulate temperature, increasing the risk of hypothermia . Hypothermia combined with the stress of having an early bath may even cause some babies to experience hypoglycemia .
Keep Your Baby Feeling Clean And Smelling Sweet
Lets review. How often should you bathe your newborn? Not often! With a bath two or three times a week, theyll stay clean and smell just like their sweet baby self! More frequent baths could dry out their delicate skin. Follow the steps and tips listed above to get your newborn clean and keep them safe, happy, and warm in the tub.
And dont forget to use the right products for their sensitive skin: Sensitive Newborn Foam Baby Wash or Moisturizing Baby Shampoo & Wash and 3-in-1 Sensitive Baby Face, Hands & Body Wipes for quick cleanup in-between baths. Happy bathing!
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Wash Their Hair Under A Sink Faucet
My son, Liam at the Newborn Hair Salon
Congratulations! Because the unhappiest part should be behind you!
Now its time to wash their hair in the sink, and thats usually their favorite!
Ive rarely had a baby cry while their hair is being washed under a running faucet.
The majority of newborns that have their hair washed under a faucet act like theyve been working hard labor for the past year and they finally got a day off to use that spa gift certificate they got for their birthday.
Theres just something about the warmth and the flow of the water on their head that they love.
So, pick up your baby whos wrapped in a towel or blanket, and take them to your kitchen sink, or any other sink that has a faucet high enough to comfortably fit their head underneath.
Turn on the faucet, and wait until its the perfect temperature: Nice and warm.
Test it with the inside of your wrist or forearm to make sure its not too hot. Your baby may cry if its too cool or too hot.
Also, make sure that the pressure and flow of the water is not too hard.
Then, hold your baby straight out in front of you with their feet placed on your belly and their head outwards towards the faucet.
This may be a little more challenging if your newborn is over 10 pounds! They get heavy quick!
Gently place their head under the tap to get wet. Be careful not to get the water in their eyes or ears.
My husband washing my sons hair under our kitchen faucet after his sponge bath.
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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Can You Bathe Your Baby While The Umbilical Cord Stump Is Still Attached
During your babyÃ¢s first few weeks, while the umbilical cord stump is still attached, you should only give sponge baths.
A sponge bath is as simple as wrapping your baby in a towel, and wiping her with a damp washcloth and soapy water. YouÃ¢ll want to do this on a comfortable surface such as a changing table. Keep your baby wrapped in the towel, bathing one part at a time.
The umbilical cord stump typically falls off in a few weeks. If it stays on longer than that, you might want to check with your babyÃ¢s healthcare provider.
YouÃ¢ll want the umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off on its own, which is why only sponge baths are recommended until that time.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Toddler
Toddlers usually need a bath every day or every other day. If your toddler is especially active, you might want to consider bathing them more often. This is also the time to instil in them the importance of taking baths/showers so that they practice good personal hygiene when they grow older.
Use kid-friendly soaps and shampoos for your toddler. You can also make bath time fun for them by telling them a story or using bath toys. This is also the time to make your kid laugh by using that baby shampoo to make horns out of their wet hair!
However, if your toddler has dry skin, you might want to cut back on how often you bathe them and how much soap you use. Remember that it’s important to keep their skin moisturized post-bath.
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Babys First Bath: When Should It Happen
If you give birth in a hospital, nurses will probably bathe your baby within a few hours of delivery. However, the World Health Organization recommends waiting 24 hours for your newborn’s first bath. WHO claims this delay regulates blood sugar and body temperature, promotes bonding, improves breastfeeding success, and keeps Baby’s skin from drying out.
Your baby won’t be ready for the infant tub until the umbilical cord stump falls off . This usually takes about two weeks or longer. In the meantime, you’ll be giving your newborn a sponge bath.
What Else To Know About Newborn Baby Tub Baths
Bathe baby 2-3 times per week in the baby tub.
- The youngest babies don’t need a daily bath, unless they have eczema.
If baby is upset about the tub bath, don’t worry.
- Transition back to the sponge bath for a few times, then try the baby tub again.
And remember: closely supervise baby at all times when you bathe them — no matter what type of bath you give!
For more essential ways to keep baby safe in the bath — as a newborn and beyond — don’t miss our previous article on bath safety tips.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Prepare The Sponge Bath
Begin by placing the changing pad or soft blanket on a flat, warm surface. Some parents like to use the changing table others prefer a bed or even the kitchen counter.
Always keep a hand on baby! Even though newborns dont roll, they can still wiggle themselves into unwanted situations.
You need one cloth to start wiping baby with clean water. If you choose to use soap, you will need a separate one. Finally, you need another for the diaper area.
Tips For Safely Bathing Your Newborn
Besides keeping your baby happy and getting them clean, safety should be a top concern when it comes to bathing your baby. Unfortunately, drowning is something all parents of newborns need to be aware of.
As the AAP notes, ost child drownings inside the home occur in bathtubs, and more than half of bathtub deaths involve children under 1 year of age. These are sobering statistics, but they are not meant to scare you instead, they are reminders to take safety very seriously when it comes to bathing your baby.
Here are some other safety recommendations to keep in mind:
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When To Start Using Baby Soap & Shampoo When Bathing A Newborn
Firstly, do you even need to use soap when sponge bathing a newborn with umbilical cord still attached? The answer is probably not and if you can do without then so much the better the longer you wait until introducing soaps and products to your newborns delicate skin the better.
However, if a drop of mild soap means you can avoid rubbing a dirty diaper area too vigorously, then that could be the better option.
After The Bath In The Baby Tub
After rinsing, immediately wrap baby in the towel, and pat baby dry. This way, baby won’t lose too much body heat.
- Don’t miss the creases and folds of skin!
- Only apply moisturizer after the bath if baby has eczema, or if baby’s doctor recommends it for another reason.
Dress baby in a clean diaper and clean clothes.
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How Often Should You Wash A Newborn
The answer to this question is the same regardless of whether youre in the sponge bathing phase or have started giving your baby full-blown baths. Per Dr. Poinsett, a baby doesnt need to be bathed dailythree times a week will suffice. In other words, daily bathing is unnecessary as long as youre thoroughly cleaning the bum and diaper area with every diaper change.
Bath Time Could Make Bedtime Easier
As much as we moms love our baby , we also love a good nights rest. The first few months of parenthood often feel like an endless sea of dirty diapers, feedings, and no sleep.
As baby grows, start developing a bedtime routine teach your child when its time to sleep. A warm, soothing bath is the best way to help your baby relax before nodding off. The ideal time to start developing a routine is around six to eight weeks .
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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.
Its composed of 97% natural ingredients including avocado perseose, a patented ingredient designed specifically to help protect and hydrate your baby’s delicate skin, and schizandra, a berry extract to naturally soothe sensitive skin.
For normal baby skin, we recommend Hydra Bebe Body Lotion. With jojoba oil, sunflower oil, vitamins E and F, and our signature avocado perseose, this non-greasy formula leaves the skin silky-smooth and moisturized.
How To Give Your Newborn A Tub Bath
Once your baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off and after a boy’s circumcision has healed, you can give your baby a tub bath. This can be a pleasurable experience for you and your baby. However, some babies may not like to be bathed, especially the first few times. Talk softly or sing and try some bath toys if your baby protests.
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How To Clean Your Babys Umbilical Cord:
- Ask your healthcare provider if you should sponge bathe or tub bathe your baby while his umbilical cord is still attached.
- Wash the umbilical cord stump if it gets dirty with urine or bowel movement. Clean it with a cotton ball or cotton pad that is wet with warm water.
- Gently pat the stump dry with a clean, soft towel. Do not pull on the umbilical cord stump.
- Fold the front of the diaper below the stump so air can reach the stump and help it dry out faster. Choose clean, loose-fitting clothes for your baby to wear. Ask his healthcare provider for more information about cord care.
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Why Is It Important To Bathe Newborn Babies
The obvious answer for a newborn bath is, of course, to keep the kiddo clean and free from the bacteria created thanks to peeing and pooping in diapers. However, what many parents dont know is that this can be a bonding experience for them too.
A baby bath is a great time to relax and enjoy together. Your baby definitely can feel you care when you look at them, kiss their sweet belly, and count their small toes while washing them. Thats why your soft touch and tone make your child feel that they are loved.
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Which Items You Will Need
A sponge bath can be fun and easy if you have prepared all the needed supplies beforehand. Here is what you are going to need: two towels, a large bowl of warm water, two washcloths, cotton balls, gentle baby soap, clean diapers, baby wipes, and clean clothes.
Now that you have all the required supplies, the fun can start. If you are going to use the bathroom to do the sponge bath, it would be wise to let the warm water run for several minutes to warm up the area. Then, follow this guide to clean your baby:
First, you need to undress the baby. Lay the baby on his/her back on one of the towels and cover him/her with the other towel. Take the two cotton balls and dip them in water, then wipe the babys eye and the nose area by using a different cotton ball for each eye. Then, use one of the washcloths and dip it into the water and wipe the babys ears and face. Dont forget to clean the creases behind each ear because some of the milk spit-ups might have collected and dried over there. The next step is to squeeze few drops of the baby soap onto the washcloth and use it to wipe the babys neck and scalp after you are done with that, dry off the areas by gently tapping with the towel.