When Should You Bathe A Newborn Baby
Before we talk about how to give your baby a bath, let’s talk about when to start.
While people frequently bathed their newborns immediately, research says that delaying that first bath at least 12 hours after birth could be beneficial for your baby. It can make latching easier when breastfeeding and protects their vernix, a waxy coating on their skin. The World Health Organization recommends waiting at least 24 hours for their first bath.
You don’t need to feel rushed here. Ideally, you should wait until you feel settled at home and have plenty of time to tackle that inaugural bath time.
As you get ready for the first bath, don’t worry. You’re not going to be dunking your newborn in water. Until their umbilical stump has fallen off, which usually takes between one and three weeks, they should only get sponge baths.
How Much Water Must Be Used To Bathe A Newborn
When bathing a newborn, you can simply fill a bowl with water and clean your baby using a sponge or gentle washcloth. It is important to make sure that your baby stays warm, so you should keep your baby wrapped up in a bath towel and only expose the parts of your baby that you are cleaning.
How often to bathe babies can sometimes be of concern to new parents. While at first, it may feel a little uncomfortable for you to not bathe your child every day, you will soon realize the many benefits of it. Do not over bathe your baby, or bathe your baby too little either. Babies need a good balance of bathing just as with everything else. If you are still unsure about something or your baby has a particular skin ailment that may require special treatment, you can speak with your doctor to formulate a plan to take care of your baby.
How To Give Baby A Sponge Bath
Your newborn should be bathed with a sponge bath for the first few weeks of life. This is the simplest way to clean your baby before the umbilical cord falls off.
Sponge baths are also the best way to bathe boys who were circumcised while the circumcision site heals.
You can also give your baby a sponge bath anytime you want to wash one part or all of their body without getting them soaking wet.
Before giving your baby a sponge bath, make sure you have all the supplies you need within easy reach. Youll also want to warm up the room to keep your baby comfortable.
Once youve gathered your supplies, follow these steps:
Don’t Miss: Why Newborn Cry At Night
Safety Tips For Bathing Your Newborn
Here are some safety tips to follow when bathing your newborn .
- Gather all the items you need for the babys bath and keep them within reach.
- Maintain a comfortable water temperature to prevent overheating or cooling. The water should be slightly over 100°F .
- Invest in a bath thermometer to check the water temperature accurately. If you do not have a thermometer, dip your elbow in the water. The water must feel warm and not hot or cold.
- Do not leave your baby unattended in the tub. Avoid paying heed to other distractions while bathing your baby.
- If you have forgotten something you need, ask someone for help or take your baby along if you have to get it yourself.
- Always have a firm hold on your newborns body, as applying soap on them can make them slippery.
- Use a towel to pat dry the baby immediately after the bath. Do not rub the skin since it may cause irritation.
Bathing your newborn could be a good moment for parents to bond with the baby. It also ensures good hygiene. You need not go overboard with bathing and keep it limited to thrice a week. Sponge baths are recommended until the babys umbilical cord falls off. If you wish to bathe the baby often, take the pediatricians opinion first.
Baby Bath With Support
It is definitely easier to have someone around to pass your baby when you have got into the bath as well as receive them when you want to get out. However, if you are on your own and want to bathe with your baby then it is important you take the following steps:
- Put baby in a bouncy chair or car seat
- Get into the bath
- Lift baby from their seat
Sitting down ensures you have a safe stance before picking your baby up. Put baby back into their seat before you get out of the bath.
Now that you know how to safely bath your newborn as well as co-bathing with them, shop our range of baby organic skincare to make their bathing experience even more fun and relaxing. Feel free to also check out our blog for more parenting advice.
Also Check: How Often Should I Change My Newborns Diaper
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.
How To Give A Newborn A Bath
Once the umbilical cord stump has fallen off, you can start giving baby full baths. Bathing a newborn can be tricky at first, so if possible, enlist the help of a partner or family member. Its best if those early baths can be done with multiple caregivers around so you have extra hands if you need them, Smith says. After youve rounded up your baby bath supplies and decided where youll be bathing your little one, follow these steps.
Step 1: Fill the tub with a few inches of warm water. Aim for about 2 to 3 inches of water, to keep baby safe. Making sure to support babys head at all times, gently lower your little one into the water. The bath temperature for a newborn should be between 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, never hotter than 120 degrees. While most parents are worried about making the bath too hot, be sure you dont err in the other direction, since babies get cold easily. Kelly B., whose baby is now 3, learned a thing or two when she nannied for a woman who had infant twins. She taught me that the water should be warmer than youd expect, she recalls. Dipping your wrist in is a good way to gauge the temperature, but if youre nervous about getting it right, you can use a thermometer.
Yes, theres a lot to think about when it comes to babys first bath. But soon enough bathing a newborn will become second nature, and before you know it, your child will be sitting up on his own and splashing away in the tub. Thats when things really start to get fun!
Don’t Miss: What Can Help A Newborn With Constipation
How To Bathe Your Baby
How Often To Bathe Your Newborn
You may be surprised to learn that your newborn doesnât need bathing every day â although thatâs fine too, if he or she really enjoys it.Otherwise, two or three bath times a week is enough, as long as you give your baby a daily clean-up of the face, neck, hands and bottom , and thoroughly clean the nappy area at each nappy change. In terms of when to give that first official bath, itâs up to you! You may like to wait a few days and just give âtop and tailâ cleanses in those first few days instead of proper baths, but you might also like to start a bathing routine as soon as you bring your baby home.
Recommended Reading: When Can You Take A Newborn A Bath
Best Kind Of Soap For Babies
Newborns dont need a ton of soap, and baby shampoo isnt strictly necessary.
Doctors recommend using the most mild soap you can find, as baby skin tends to be very sensitive. Unscented soaps are usually your best bet, and you can stay away from antibacterial soap or soap with many additives.
Read labels: If the soap has a long list of ingredients, its probably best to try something simpler. After bathing your baby, it can be helpful to follow up with some baby-friendly moisturizer, especially if your baby tends to have dry skin.
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.
Don’t Miss: Why Is My Newborn Crying So Much
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.
Babys First Bath Tips For Bathing A Newborn
The thought of handling a slippery, squirmy little baby can be a bit anxiety provoking. You may also have lots of questions: When should you bathe them for the first time? How often should you bathe them? Where should you bathe themtub or sink? And so on and so forth.
Have no fear! Here are some helpful tips to make bath time lots of fun and stress-free.
You May Like: When Do Newborns Sleep Longer At Night
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.
Related reading:5 tips for successful breastfeeding