There are few things cuter than bath time with a newborn. From your baby’s face smiling up at you to their soft skin and pink cheeks – you just want to take a mental snapshot and hold onto that feeling forever.
Bathing your baby is special distraction-free time to connect and nurture your bond with them, and give them a whole lot of TLC. Bath time also sets up handy routine and structure to help your newborn baby regulate their emotions and behaviour. And who can forget the lovely self-care skills you’re teaching them!
When to Bathe a Newborn?
It’s recommended that you wait until 24 hours after birth for bathing your baby. It’s also suggested that you give them a sponge bath until their umbilical cord stump falls out (usually about 2 weeks). A sponge bath is a great option for if your little one isn’t ready for lukewarm water or cute bubbles yet. The main difference between a sponge bath and the average baby’s bath is that your baby lies on a towel (not in a bath tub) and you wash their body one section at a time.
If you’ve moved past sponge baths, your squeaky clean newborn baby only needs a baby bath 2-3 times a week (must be nice). On other days, just give them a quick clean for “top and tail”. Ultimately it’s up to you and your little one, so if they’re a little water baby you can bathe them daily. Just make sure to pop some baby lotion on them afterwards, to avoid dry skin.
You can bathe your newborn baby any time of the day. It’s good to make the most of quick, uninterrupted moments. Baby bath time could also be a cozy way to wind your baby down before bed.
Where to Bathe a Newborn?
Bathing your baby can happen in an infant tub, a plastic tub, or even the kitchen sink. A baby bath tub might be easier to use as they get older, so it could be an upgrade step.
You don’t need to bathe your baby in the bathroom – it can be anywhere that’s warm, clean and safe.
What You Need to Bathe a Newborn?
Here’s your go-to items for a newborn bath:
Baby shampoo (make sure it’s gentle and non-irritating)
Baby soap (usually a mild baby cleanser)
Bath solution of your choice
Safe change area or mat
Fresh set of clothes
How to Bathe a Newborn
Set your bath up as close to your change area as possible. This will ensure you don’t have to walk too far with a wet baby. Try to have everything you need within reach, and find somewhere that has a flat surface so that you can wash your baby securely.
Some newborns love the sensory feeling of the warm water during bath time, but others will take a little while to adjust. If your baby cries, lay a warm washcloth on their chest. This will help to calm your baby and encourage a sense of security in the bath. You don’t want the hottest temperature or anything crazy. They should be comfortably warm. It could help to check the bath water temperature.
Make sure to hold your baby securely throughout the bath. When placing your baby in the bath, many parents cradle their baby’s head and neck as they place baby gently in the tub or sink. Lower them in feet first, and keep a hold on them as needed. Don’t ever leave your baby alone in the bath.
Gently wash your baby in the warm water with a wet washcloth, using a mild baby wash if needed. Clean your baby’s body first, moving down from the neck to their genitals and bottom (hello diaper area). Get into their skin folds to clean out any leftover mess.
You can wash your baby’s hair 1-2 times a week, by splashing water onto your baby’s head and washing their head. Just make sure to avoid getting water in your baby’s eyes or your baby’s ears. Wash their hair when you’re bathing their whole body to keep your baby warm. Your baby’s head needs a little more care when bathing,
And remember, crying is only natural as your baby experiences the different sensations in the early weeks. It doesn’t mean you should stop bathing your baby, or worry that something’s wrong.
How to Dry Newborn After Bath?
Whilst supporting their head and neck, lift your little one out of the bath and place them on a soft, clean towel. Wrap them up and pat your baby’s body dry. It’s best to get into all their skin folds, creases and spots like behind their ears. If your baby’s skin feels dry, gently rub a non-irritating balm or ointment on their skin. Then, you’re all good to dress your baby (nappy first of course).
The top things to be mindful of when bathing your little one is to care for your baby’s skin (it could get dried out), be mindful of getting water in your baby’s face, and keep a steady hold on them as you gently clean your little one. And, in case it wasn’t obvious, never leave your baby alone in the bath.
Keep an eye on their water temperature, remembering that you want warm water (not boiling bath water and not cold water).
Newborns don’t really need bath toys, but as soon as your baby gets old enough for a bath tub, toys are a great way to keep them engaged, happy, and skill-building.
And that’s that! Remember to make the most of bath time for bonding with your little one, and enjoy it!