How To Give Your Baby A Bath
Get everything ready before you start your baby’s bath:
Ensure that all the supplies you need like shampoo, soap, a hooded towel, and a cup for rinsing are within armâs reachânever leave your baby unattended in the bath, so make sure you have everything you need on hand, including your babyâs fresh change of clothes
Make sure the room is warm before undressing your baby.
Follow these step-by-step guidelines for bathing your baby:
Line a sink or baby bathtub with a towel, and fill it about 2 inches full of warm water âtest it with your elbow or the inside of your wrist to make sure itâs not too hot
While supporting your babyâs head with your non-dominant hand, use your other hand to guide him into the water feet first. Youâll want to do this swiftly so he doesnât get cold, and youâll want to make sure his head and most of his body are above the water level
Wash his body from top to bottom with clear water, and, if you prefer, a mild baby soap. Keep him warm by pouring warm water over his body using a cup. Use a soft cloth to wash his face
If he has hair, itâs enough to shampoo once or twice a week. When you do, massage a drop of mild baby shampoo into his scalp, even the soft spots of his head. Be careful not to get any soapsuds or shampoo in his eyesâcup your hands over his forehead when rinsing his head. If some soap or shampoo does get into his eyes, go ahead and wipe them using a cloth dampened with clear water.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby From Birth Through Early Childhood
One of the most common questions new parents ask has recently become the focus of an ongoing social media debate among celebrity parents, including Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell: How often should I bathe my baby?
Some parents bathe their babies daily as part of a bedtime routine or due to regular baby messes, from extra spit-up to diaper blowouts. But for most families, bathing the baby two to three times a week is plenty after the first couple of weeks of life.
In fact, we recommend delaying your newborns first full bath for at least two weeks. Newborns shed about three layers of skin within their first week, which often surprises new parents. Their skin is still adjusting to the dry air, so its perfectly normal. You can prevent further skin irritation by moisturizing your baby with chemical-free lotion and washing their clothes with a gentle, chemical-free detergent before dressing them.
After that first two-week period, its OK to bathe your baby a couple times a week. You can follow this schedule through your childs elementary school years. Of course, you should modify the bath schedule based on your babys skin health and your familys lifestyle.
Baby Bath Basics You Need To Know
Washing your baby for the first time can be a daunting experience. Get clued up and follow these basic steps.
Aside from changing a nappy, what many new parents fear most is bathing their baby for the first time. Perhaps youve been doing it for a while and still dont feel entirely confident. Maybe youve fallen out of practice since your firstborn. Whatever the case, follow this simple bath-time guide.
Don’t Miss: What To Teach A Newborn
How Often Should You Bathe A Newborn
For newborns, a sponge bath one to three times a week should be sufficient. Babies dont need to be bathed that often, Williamson says. Newborns dont really get dirty. Keep in mind that you shouldnt fully immerse baby in water until the umbilical cord falls off. For circumcised baby boys, sponge baths should continue until their penis is healed.
Jacoba C. waited several weeks to give her daughter her first newborn bath at home, and rarely washed her after that. She was so clean and smelled so good, I didnt see any reason to, she says. Of course her diaper area was getting cleaned all the time, and I made sure to wipe down all the little fat roll crevices under her neck and behind her knees regularly.
Some parents prefer to give regular baths as part of a bedtime routine, which is fine as well. Baths can help soothe babies who are fussy and be part of a healthy sleep regimen, says Sabrina Fernandez, MD, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital San Francisco.
Babys First Bath At Home
Once you get your little one home, theres no set timetable for when to give baby her first sponge bath. Experts agree that the timing for bathing a newborn is up to the parents, and that theres no big rush. Many families are excited about giving a baby their first newborn bath at home, but waiting a few days is fine, says Justin Smith, MD, a pediatrician at Cook Childrens Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Holly S., a mom of two, gave birth to her second baby at home and didnt bathe him for more than a week. Theres no need to wash them right away in most circumstances, she says. Any blood from the birth can be wiped off, and you just need to wipe their diaper areas thoroughly in the meantime. She also made sure to rub the vernix into her babys skin to get the most out of its antimicrobial and moisturizing properties.
Also Check: How Much Oz Of Formula Should A Newborn Drink
How Much Water Is Needed
Now that you know what temperature your little one needs, do you know how much water to use? According to Nationwide Childrens, fill your babys bathtub with about three inches of warm water, and be sure to not overfill it. Most importantly, though, make sure your baby is secured in their bath and never leave them alone. Around three inches of water is whats recommended, and even though it may not seem like a lot, your baby is getting just what they need. If you are worried about your little one getting cold, you can continuously run warm water on them from their bath by using a cup, or lay a warm washcloth on their stomach and chest as you bathe them.
Feeling With Your Skin
But not just any skin, and you may recall your mom doing this motion when you were a baby or a toddler.
Check the temperature with your elbow, not with your hands. When touching the water, it shouldnt either feel hot or cold.
Why not hands? Because the skin on our hands is very different from the skin on our arms, legs, and other parts of the body since each serves a different function. Hands are not good judges of temperature since the skin is thicker here. However, the skin around the elbow area is thinner and resembles more like what your baby may feel.
If you really want to get a perfect bath drawn with the perfect temp, we recommend you turn on the cold water first and then level the temperature out with hotter water, but without turning the cold tap off, this one should be turned off last.
After this, make sure you mix the water around well, to avoid stagnant hot spots in the tub.
Now, dont put your baby into the bath until the water is turned off, as the waters temperature can change after seconds.
Also Check: How To Tell If Newborn Has Autism
Tips For Keeping Baby Comfortable
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature without a breeze
- Wait to undress baby just before placing him/her in the bath
- Water should only be a couple inches deep, but continue pouring warm water over your baby’s body as you bathe him/her
- Keep a dry towel nearby for immediate wrapping following the bath, preferably with a built-in hood to prevent further heat loss
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Clear A Newborns Nose
How To Measure A Babys Bath Water Temperature
Dipping your elbow or wrist into the water is the best way to measure a babys bath water temperature. It is the ideal way to check if the water is too hot. Hands are not suitable for testing the waters temperature because they tolerate temperatures higher than that. In this regard, elbows and wrists get preferred. Remember to stir the bath water before checking the temperature to ensure that the water is equal in temperature.
When your baby is in the bathtub, never add water, whether cold or hot. Ensure the water amount and temperature are right before immersing the baby into the tub. Alternatively, you can use an ideal baby water thermometer to measure the right temperature for your babys bath water. But not all thermometers are suitable to measure the temperature of a babys water. Read on for the insight.
Preparing To Bathe Your Baby
Planning ahead is especially crucial when it comes to giving your baby a bath. Your baby will require your undivided attention during the entire bath — never leave your baby unattended in the water for even a moment. If you have to answer the phone or check the stove, wrap your baby in a towel and bring him with you. This constant supervision means you’ll need to plan ahead and save yourself the hassle of having to move your baby constantly.
So what exactly will you need to prepare? The most important thing is to have all your supplies close by during the bath. You will need the following items:
- Baby tub or basin — even if you wash your baby in the sink, you’ll want a clean container that’s the right size for your baby.
- Several clean washcloths — you’ll probably want at least three: one for washing with only water, one for washing with soap and one for rinsing.
- Several clean towels
- Mild, baby-friendly soap — don’t use strong, heavily fragranced soap or shampoo on a baby because the ingredients are typically too harsh for a baby’s fragile skin and could cause irritation or dryness.
- Sterile cotton balls or squares — you’ll need these for cleaning your baby’s eyes and nose.
- Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide — some experts recommend using it to clean the area around the umbilical cord until it detaches .
- Changing pad
- New diaper and clean clothing
Read Also: Do Newborn Babies Cry A Lot
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.
- See all sources
Topping And Tailing Tips
You may find the following step-by-step guide to washing your baby useful:
- Hold your baby on your knee or lay them on a changing mat. Take off all their clothes, apart from their vest and nappy, and wrap them in a towel.
- Dip the cotton wool in the water and wipe gently around your baby’s eyes from the nose outward, using a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye. This is so that you don’t transfer any stickiness or infection from one eye to another.
- Use a fresh piece of cotton wool to clean around your baby’s ears, but not inside them. Never use cotton buds to clean inside your baby’s ears. Wash the rest of your baby’s face, neck and hands in the same way and dry them gently with the towel.
- Take off the nappy and wash your baby’s bottom and genital area with fresh cotton wool and warm water. Dry very carefully, including between the skin folds, and put on a clean nappy.
- It will help your baby to relax if you keep talking while you wash them. The more they hear your voice, the more they’ll get used to listening to you and start to understand what you’re saying.
You May Like: Do You Use Soap For Newborn Sponge Bath
Whether You’re A New Parent Or A Seasoned One Safety For Your Children Is A Priority That’s Why Parents Often End Up Asking Themselves Their Friends Or The Internet The Following Question: How Hot Should My Baby’s Bathwater Be
Bathing a newborn might seem overwhelming, but, with a little practice, it can become a calming part of your routine. With the right preparation and awareness, you won’t have to worry about baby getting too cold or hot. One simple way to keep your water from ever getting too hot is making sure that your water heater is set to 120 F . This simple step will prevent scalding anyone in your household.
But what temperature should your baby’s bathwater really be?