How Often Should You Bathe A Newborn
Bathing a newborn is something many new parents eagerly look forward to. After all, there is nothing sweeter than a tiny baby getting gently soaped up and cleaned, while splashing around.
But the reality of bathing our babies may be different than expected and you may also be concerned about how to bathe your baby safely.
Maybe you have a baby who seems to really dislike baths. Or you feel unsure of how often to bathe them. Too much to bathe them daily? What if you cant get in a decent bath more than once or twice a week?
Rest assured, bathing your baby doesnt have to be as complicated as it seems. A few basic tips can go a long way.
As for how often you need to bathe your baby? There arent too many rules. If your baby can only get in a good bath a few times a week, you are actually totally on track. Its also usually OK if you want to bathe your baby more frequently, too.
How To Bathe Your Baby
Cleaning Your Baby Between Baths
Just as you’d still apply deodorant when forgoing your own shower, certain baby parts need attention daily whether they’re getting a full-on bath or not.
“Be sure that you’re cleaning the diaper area well, especially following stool or ‘poopy’ diapers, in between skin folds,” Dr. Grant advises. For baby boys, gently retract the foreskin to clean the area underneath. For girls, the area around the vagina has similar folds that should be cleaned well.
Don’t skimp on the lotion, either. “Daily application can help prevent eczema outbreaks, so this might be a useful replacement for bathtime in the bedtime routine,” says Dr. Grant. “This is especially important for babies who have already shown signs of eczema or have siblings or parents with eczema.”
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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
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.
When Is The Best Time Of Day To Give Your Baby A Bath
There is no one perfect time to give your baby a bathâitâs your decision. Choose a time when youâre least likely to be interrupted and when your baby is calm.
You may like to give your baby a bath in the daytime because sheâll naturally be more alert. Or, you may give your baby a bath at nighttime as part of her bedtime routine.
If you plan to give your baby a bath after feeding her, wait a while to ensure her tummy has had a chance to settle.
Cutting Your Baby’s Nails
Some babies are born with long nails and it’s important to cut them in case they scratch themselves. You can buy special baby nail clippers or small, round-ended safety scissors. If you find the idea of cutting your baby’s nails too nerve-wracking, you could try filing them down with a fine emery board instead.
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How To Bathe Baby In A Bathtub
After your infants umbilical cord falls off, you can bathe them in a baby bathtub. Follow these steps to safely bathe your baby:
Remember to never leave a baby unattended in a tub, even for a second. They can quickly drown, even in a shallow amount of water.
Benefits Last Beyond The Hospital
Exclusive breastfeeding provides a benefit for the baby that extends beyond the first hours or days of life, she adds. Research has shown that it can benefit the health of both mother and child for years to come.
Now, thanks to this research, all Cleveland Clinic hospitals are moving to adopt this new delayed bath practice. DiCioccio says she hopes that this research will encourage additional nursing research and contribute to the newborn bath guidelines being changed in the future for other hospitals.
Complete results of the study can be found found in the Journal for Obstetrics, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing.
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How Much Do Newborn Babies Sleep
A newborns schedule can feel unpredictable. Newborns will sleep an average of eight to nine hours in the daytime. They may sleep up to another eight hours total at night. But this wont usually be for the same stretch of time.
Newborns also have very small stomachs. Theyll need to get up about every three hours to eat until around 3 months of age. Once theyre a little older, theyll be able to go longer between feedings.
Some babies will sleep through the night starting at 4 months. Others wont sleep through the night until later. Your pediatrician is your best resource for letting you know how often your newborn will need to be fed throughout the night as they grow.
Is Bathing Your Dog Too Much Bad
When you hear that for some dogs its normal only to bath them once every 4-6 months, we instantly ask why is that?Bathing your dog too frequently can be bad for his coat and skin.
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Your dogs coat is his protection from the outside elements like the heat, cold, wind, rain, UV rays, bugs, dirt and more. One of the main contributors to this protection is the essential oils that cover the coat. These essential oils are released from the skin and act as a strong barrier.
Too much shampooing and bathing can break down the essential oils and cause skin irritation. The health of a dogs coat and skin is important for overall health.
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How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy
Now you know when a puppy can take a bath, youll want to know how often should you bathe your puppy. Puppies do not necessarily need frequent bathing and baths should be kept to a bare minimum to avoid irritating the skin.After waiting at least 16 weeks before giving the first bath, you can then proceed to give your puppy one bath every two weeks only if absolutely needed.If your puppy does not smell or need a bath in a month, then its best to leave the bath until necessary.Some breeds are naturally cleaner and require less bathing whereas some are a little dirtier and require more bathing. Your breed will play a big factor in bath frequency.As your puppy gets older, the frequency of bathing should be less, around once every 3 months or more is ok. You can stick by this puppy bathing timeline:
- 0-16 weeks old Spot clean only
- 16 weeks to 6 months Maximum of once every two weeks
- 6 months and over Maximum of once per three months
Bonding With Your Newborn
Bath time is so much more than just getting your baby clean and freshened up. Its a time to bond with your baby, a time to create memories.
Remember, you can start making bath time memories with your baby once their umbilical cord falls off, or make other memories with a sponge bath before then!
Three baths a week is plenty for your newborn. In-between those baths, whip out your No Rinse Cleaning Water for a quick clean-up. Remember to gather your babys bath supplies before bathing them, and keep our 10 tips in mind.
Now that you know how to bathe a newborn, youve got one less baby task to worry about! Gather your babys bath time products and youll be a baby-bathing pro before you know it!
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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.
How To Give Your Baby A Sponge Bath
- Keep things simple, but make sure you are prepared beforehand with supplies, such as a washcloth or baby sponge, a basin of water, and a towel.
- Clean your baby on a secure surface such as a changing table or bed. You can also lay a towel or blanket on the floor to soften it, or place your baby in your lap. If your baby is on an elevated surface, you must keep on hand on your baby at all times so they dont fall.
- Be careful not to get water in your babys eyes, and dont directly sponge their healing umbilical cord stump.
- Make sure you keep your baby warm during this process. You may consider wrapping your baby with a towel and only uncovering your babys different body parts when they are ready to be washed.
Your babys umbilical cord stump should fall off within the first one to two weeks of life, at which point you can immerse your baby in water.
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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.