Alternatives To Showering With Your Baby
First off, many new parents struggle to find the time to take their own showers, especially when its just you and baby at home alone. Keep in mind that even with a newborn at home, you can shower by yourself!
For a newborn, time your solo shower for when theyre sleeping if possible.
Bring their bassinet or baby bouncer within eyesight of the shower and let the soothing sounds of the shower work in your favor when your baby is fed, burped, and sleepy, they likely wont even wake up while you get your suds on.
On the other hand, sometimes showering with a baby isnt just a fun, once-in-a-while option it can feel like a necessity if you live in an apartment or other living space without a tub.
But you may want to try other baby bathing solutions that dont require you to hold your infant in your arms. These include:
- using a baby bathtub on the shower floor while you kneel outside the shower
- using the sink
- filling a basin standalone baby tub with a little water and giving baby their own adorable shower with a baby showerhead
And if you do have a full-sized bathtub, bathing with your baby is also an option.
Its best to do this when theyve gained head control and can sit in the tub with you, but the same guidelines apply have a grippy tub mat and maintain a secure hold on baby while using lukewarm water and baby-safe products.
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.
Where To Bath Your Newborn
You can give your newborn a bath in a small plastic bath or even in the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink might be easiest in the first few weeks. A plastic baby bath is probably easier once your baby gets bigger.
You can bath your baby in any room thats warm, safe and clean it doesnt have to be a bathroom.
You can also shower with your baby. Keep your babys face away from the pouring water and make sure to use warm, not hot, water.
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When Can Your Baby Take A Shower With You
You want to be careful about showering or bathing your baby too soon. Typically, when you bring your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, you still need to wait up to 2 weeks for their umbilical stump to fall off.
Thats when its OK for their little bodies to be submerged.
Before this happens, its best to stick with a sponge bath or washcloth wipe-down if your baby needs it.
Setting Up A Baby Bath Safely: Tips
Drowning and scalds are the two main risks with bath time. With these simple tips, you can avoid these risks and keep bath time fun and safe for your baby:
- Take the phone off the hook or turn your phone off while bathing your baby. Youll be less likely to get distracted.
- Make sure you have everything you need nearby for example, towel, washcloth, bath toys, lotion or shampoo, clean clothes and clean nappy. This way you can keep your eyes and hands on your baby at all times.
- Make sure all bath lotions, shampoos and electrical appliances are out of babys reach.
- Take off your watch and jewellery. Wash your hands.
- Check the water temperature is 37-38°C before you put your baby in.
- Dry and dress your baby on a towel on the floor if possible. Its safer than on a change table. If youre using a change table, always keep one hand on your baby.
- Place your baby in a safe area like a cot after theyre dry and dressed.
- Empty the bath as soon as youre finished with it. Remove bath plugs from the bath when theyre not in use.
Children can drown in a few seconds in very shallow water. Never leave your baby alone in the bath, even if youre using a bath seat or cradle. Never leave older children or siblings to supervise. If youre disturbed by the phone or another task, take your baby out of the bath.
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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 Give Your Newborn A Bath
You can bath your baby at any time of the day. Its a good idea to pick a time when youre relaxed and you wont be interrupted. And its best to avoid bathing your baby when baby is hungry or straight after a feed.
If bathing relaxes your baby, you can use it as a way to settle your baby for sleep in the evening.
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How To Bathe Your Baby
How Often Do You Need To Bathe Your Baby
Babies dont move around too much in their first few weeks, which means they wont get dirty and wont need to be bathed every day. However, if they enjoy it and dont seem stressed by the experience, then theres no reason you cant give them a daily bath2.
Generally speaking, you should aim to bathe your baby two to three times a week, making sure you keep them clean in between by regularly cleaning their face, head and neck with cotton wool pads and their bottom with baby wipes after a nappy change.
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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.
Before Your Babys First Bath
While most parents are eager to give their babies the experience of their very first bath, it is important to ensure that your baby is truly ready. When you first bring your newborn home from the hospital, the stump of their umbilical cord must be kept clean and dry. While it is still attached, sponge baths are the best option for your baby.
Typically, after about 1 to 3 weeks, the umbilical cord stump will dry up and fall off. It is important to continue caring for the umbilical cord until the area completely heals. The ideal way to do this is to moisten one end of a cotton swab with water, gently clean around the base of the umbilical cord stump, and dry with the other side of the cotton swab.
Although moisture and drops of blood around the belly button is normal during this period of time, keeping the area clean and dry will help fight infection and prevent delayed healing. Check out our blog post on bathing a baby with an umbilical cord for more information.
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Give Only Sponge Baths Till The Umbilical Cord Falls Off
During the first couple of weeks or so, specifically, till the umbilical cord stump falls off, your baby should only have sponge baths. This is so the stump doesnt get wet.
To give a sponge bath: Lay your baby on a flat comfortable surface in a warm room. If the surface is above floor level, place a hand next to the baby to make sure they dont fall. Dampen a clean washcloth with plain water and wash the face before using soapy water to clean the rest of the body. Pay attention to skin creases and do the diaper area last. Keep your baby wrapped up during the sponge bath and only expose the part that youre actively cleaning.2
Bathing Your Baby Safely
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day, but if they really enjoy it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
It’s best not to bathe your baby straight after a feed or when they’re hungry or tired. Make sure the room you’re bathing them in is warm.
Have everything you need at hand: a baby bath or clean washing-up bowl filled with warm water, two towels, a clean nappy, clean clothes and cotton wool.
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How Often To Bathe A Newborn According To Pediatricians
- The World Health Organization recommends that parents wait 24 hours to give their baby its first bath.
- After that, pediatricians recommend no more than three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
- For the first two weeks, or so, pediatricians recommend sponge baths.
- This article was reviewed by Sara Siddiqui, MD, who is a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone.
Your baby is finally here and it is now up to you to set a routine for their day-to-day life.
This includes bathing. But when, how often, and how to bathe your child isn’t as obvious as you might think. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your baby clean, healthy, and happy.
How Often Does A Newborn Need A Bath
Growing up, you may have heard that babies and children must be bathed daily for optimum cleanliness. However, this isnt the case. Especially with a newborn, bathing daily can actually dry the skin, and irritate it.
Additionally, most newborns do not get very dirty, so its not necessary to fully immerse them in a bath each day or night. You can spot clean any areas of concern in between baths.
For these reasons, most doctors recommend only bathing your newborn baby a few days per week.
AAP recommends bathing your baby no more than three days per week. Of course, even that is not a hard and fast rule.
If you want to bathe your baby more often, thats fine, and if you only bathe your baby one or two days per week , thats fine too!
As your baby gets older and ventures into the toddler years, they are going to get dirtier, because they will be exploring everything and playing outside. Your bathing frequency will likely naturally increase during this time.
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Wash Face Hands Neck And Diaper Area Daily
While your baby will do fine with just 3 baths in a week, certain areas require more frequent washing. The face, hands, neck, diaper area, and any skin folds like groin folds or armpits may need to be cleaned daily with a wet washcloth and then dried off. Make sure you pay particular attention to the area around the mouth. Also, clean any spit-ups and messy diapers as and when needed.7
Doctors Recommend Sponge Bathes To Start
For the first two weeks, or so, pediatricians recommend sponge baths. Two weeks is about how long it takes for the stump left from the baby’s umbilical cord to fall off and heal. If you completely submerge your baby in water before the wound heals, this could increase the risk of infection or cause irritation, says Daryznkiewicz.
Also, if your baby is circumcised, pediatricians recommend sponge bathing until the circumcision site is healed, as well.
“The sponge bath should start with washing the face and working downwards until you are done,” says Daryznkiewicz. “As you get comfortable you can extend the bath but you want to make sure your child stays warm.”
As they get older, you can transition to a warm bath in a few inches of water. When choosing a soap, Daryznkiewicz suggests a scent and fragrance-free option, since scents can irritate sensitive skin or cause flare-ups of eczema.
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Drying And Dressing Your Newborn After A Bath: Steps
Heres how to take your newborn out of the bath, ready for drying and dressing:
Bathing your baby takes practice, so try to relax and take your time. You might like to start by bathing your baby when someone else is around to help. If youre worried about losing your grip on your baby, you can make the bath less slippery by lining it with a clean cloth nappy or towel.