How To Bathe A Newborn In 10 Simple Steps
At first, bathing your newborn might seem like a big ordeal. After a few weeks, however, giving your baby a bath will be as easy as changing their diaper.
We mentioned this earlier in the article, but its worth repeating: until your babys umbilical cord stump falls off, stick to sponge baths. The steps below are instructions for bathing your newborn once their umbilical cord is gone.
Heres how to bathe a newborn in 10 easy steps!
More Baby Bath Time Tips
Give your baby a massage. Just after a bath is a great time for a soothing baby massage. This may help your child relax and sleep. Donât use any massage oil or lotion until your baby is at least 1 month old.
Have a bath with your baby. If your baby finds bath time scary, having a bath together might help. Check the bath water temperature to make sure it isnât too hot, and preferably get someone to help by holding your newborn while you get in and out of the bath yourself.
Talk or sing to your baby. The sound of your calming voice can help reassure and relax your little one during bath time.
Use bath time to treat cradle cap or other skin conditions. If your baby has cradle cap, it might help to wash his or her hair with a baby shampoo and use a soft brush to gently loosen any flakes of skin. If your baby is prone to dry skin or eczema, after a bath is a good time to apply a gentle moisturising cream to the affected areas.
Never leave your baby alone in the water. Not even for a moment. If you have to turn away or leave the room urgently, lift your baby out of the bath and take him or her with you, wrapped in a towel to keep him or her warm.
Donât add anything to the water. Thereâs no need to use any soap or add any cleansers or bubble bath for babies. Experts advise washing your babyâs skin in nothing but plain water for the first month.
Tips For Safety And Proper Bathing Technique For Your Newborn Include:
- Use a sink or an infant tub. You can place a clean towel into the sink to prevent slipping. Hard plastic infant tubs are usually equipped with a textured surface to prevent slipping as well.
- Keep a hand on your baby at all times. Place all of your bathing supplies within reach, so you never have to remove one hand from your newborn.
- Check and double-check the temperature of the water. The basin or sink that you are bathing your baby in should have no more than 2 to 4 inches of warm water. The water should be between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Check to make sure that your water heater doesnt heat your water over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep your baby warm. Dont undress your baby until the water is ready and place them into the water immediately after undressing. Use the washcloth or your hand to pour warm water on your newborns body throughout their bath to keep them warm.
- Be gentle. Gently wash your babys body without scrubbing. Watch for the soft spots on their scalp. Try to keep the soap suds out of their eyes.
- Make it fun. Newborns wont use bath toys often, but you can talk or sing to your baby while bathing to keep them happy.
- Dry your baby off as soon as they get out of the water. Use a dry, soft towel to pat your newborns skin dry. If you want, you can use a bit of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizing baby lotion after the bath to help prevent dry skin and eczema.
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How Often Do You Bathe A Newborn
Newborns need not bathe daily, and two to three baths a week are sufficient to keep them clean . Take the pediatricians opinion if you wish to bathe the newborn more than thrice a week. You may wash the babys face, hands, neck, and bottom every day with water or a sponge since these areas are most likely to become dirty easily.
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.
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How Hot Should The Water Be
The water temperature to bathe your baby should be warm, never hot. The ideal temperature is 98.6°F . You can use a bath thermometer to monitor the temperature, or check the water with your wrist or elbow to confirm its warm and not hot.
Also, check different sides of the tub or baby bath to confirm there are no hot spots. If using a tub or basin, turn on the cold water first and then the hot water to fill it.
If you live in a house, you can also adjust the water heater to ensure it doesnt go above 120°F , which can badly scald your babys skin. You likely cant adjust the water heater if you live in an apartment complex or condo.
When To Begin Bathing Your Newborn
Many new moms arent sure when to begin bathing their newborns. The World Health Organization recommends waiting at least 24 hours after your babys birth to give them their first bath. There are several reasons for this.
First and foremost, your baby has just left the comfort of your tummy and will get cold easily. Youll want to give your loved one some time to adjust to life outside the womb.
Experts believe that 24 to 48 hours is plenty of time to allow your infant to regulate their body temperature. The risk of hypothermia drops considerably after the 24-hour mark.
Second, your newborn will likely have a coat of vernix on their skin when you bring them home from the hospital. Vernix shouldnt be washed off intentionally, as it provides several important benefits to your baby.
For instance, vernix has antibacterial properties and keeps your baby healthy. It also protects their delicate skin as they become accustomed to dry air. Its best to let the vernix fall off your little ones body naturally, which will happen in the first week or two of life.
To sum up, its safe to begin bathing your newborn 24 hours after birth. Or if you prefer, you can wait 48 hours. Whatever you choose, just be sure to start with sponge baths.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends waiting for your newborns umbilical cord stump to fall off before submerging them in water. This normally happens sometime between one and three weeks after birth.
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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.
Can You Give A Baby A Bath Before The Umbilical Cord Falls Off
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to not submerge their newborns in water while their umbilical cord is still attached. While the umbilical cord is still on, you should give your baby sponge baths. The sponge bath mirrors a regular bath but does not involve putting your newborn into water.
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Giving A Newborn Baby A Sponge Bath
Newborn babies have a scab-like stump on their belly button where the umbilical cord was attached before birth. The stump lasts for around a week or two before falling off. Until it does fall off, you can’t give your baby a regular bath because of the risk of infection. Experts recommend giving your newborn baby a sponge bath until a normal bath is safe.
Follow these steps to give your newborn baby a sponge bath:
How To Bathe Your Baby
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Gently Place Your Newborn In The Bath
With one hand supporting the back of your babys head and the other under their bum, gently lower your baby into the bathtub. Dont let them dive in head first! Let your little one dip their toes in first.
Expert tip: It may also be helpful to place a towel at the bottom of the bathtub, which makes it feel softer and prevents your baby from sliding around too much.
Bathing Your Baby In The Sink
Giving your baby a bath in the kitchen sink is another option. For this type of bath, you would use a sink insert instead of a traditional baby tub that you place in your bathtub.
Sink inserts are recommended for infants up to six months of age and sit inside your sink to give your baby a nice cushion against the hard, cold sides. This way, your newborn is comfortable for their bath and can relax!
These are also a great option if youre running low on space or are traveling. Whats more, giving your baby a bath in the sink is better for your back! You can stand up while giving your baby a bath, instead of having to lean over the bathtub.
Dont Forget The Neck Rolls
The places that parents forget to clean the most are in-between the fingers and toes , as well as around babys neck. When baby is breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, its normal for milk to dribble down their cheek and into their neck creases. But with those cute baby neck rolls, we often miss in between the creases. This is a spot that we want to make sure that we dont miss otherwise baby will smell like spoiled milk or rotten cheese. Not cute for our cute babies!
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How To Give A Baby A Bath
Here’s what you need to know about keeping your little one clean, from the first sponge bath to the infant tub.
Most newborns protest against taking baths, but before long it will become one of her favorite rituals. She’ll probably perk up as soon as she hears the water running, and you’ll have a hard time coaxing her out of the tub. In the meantime, here’s your reward: There’s nothing more delicious than the scent of a freshly bathed baby bundled in a towel.
Here are some tips for how to give Baby a bath, from the newborn stage onward.
Some Tips For Giving Your Newborn A Sponge Bath Are:
- Make sure to grab everything you need before you begin washing your baby. Grab necessities like a container or basin of water, a washcloth, a dry towel, and anything else that you choose to use.
- Place your newborn on a flat surface that is comfortable for both you and the baby. You can use changing tables, beds, or clean floors and counters. If you are using a high surface, make sure that you secure your newborn with a safety strap or hold them with one hand at all times.
- Wash the face first. Dampen the washcloth and wash your babys body in the following order: face, body, then diaper area.
- Be sure to keep your newborn warm. While sponging your baby clean, keep them wrapped in a dry towel with the parts that you are not actively cleaning remaining covered. Some areas to pay special attention to are the creases under the arms, behind the ears, under the neck, and the genital area, especially with girls.
This video by IntermountainMoms is a great resource for any parent that wants to see how to properly and effectively bathe their newborn. It explains why frequent bathing is not needed and gives advice on how to clean your baby. Additionally, it gives a step-by-step audible and visual explanation of how to sponge bathe your newborn before their umbilical cord falls off.
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When Should A Newborn Have Their First Bath
Many hospitals used to bathe newborn babies right away, often within an hour or two of birth. In the past few years, the recommendations of when a newborn baby should have their first bath have changed. The World Health Organization says that it’s best to wait at least 24 hours after babies are born to give them their first bath.
There are a few reasons that professionals suggest waiting 24 hours before your baby’s first bath:
Preventing dry skin. Babies are born with a special waxy coating on their skin called vernix. It acts as a natural barrier to the air and protects the moisture in your baby’s skin.
Breastfeeding and bonding with parent. Research has shown that skin-to-skin contact and very early breastfeeding can help the mother/baby bond and make breastfeeding more successful overall.