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How To Bathe A Newborn

How often does your newborn need a bath? what will you need for a bath? and when can you bathe your newborn? Let's find out in this detailed guide

How To Bathe A Newborn

Hygiene is very important to keep your newborn baby strong and healthy. So it’s important to bathe your newborn to keep them clean. However, bathing a newborn is a challenging task, especially if you are a first-time parent. Don’t worry, we got your back! Here is a simple yet detailed guide on how to bathe a newborn.

When Can You Bathe Your Newborn?

You can start bathing your newborn baby shortly after they are born. But according to WebMD,  you should delay their first bath until they are a few days old as it can have some benefits to both you and your baby.

You can bathe your baby at any time of the day. It’s best to pick a time that you won’t be interrupted. In addition, avoid bathing your baby when they are hungry or straight after a feed. 

How Often Does A Newborn Baby Need Baths?

Newborns only need 2 to 3 baths a week. You can clean other important areas such as their face, neck, and diaper area the other days. Bathing too often can dry your baby’s skin and lead to some serious skin problems, including eczema.

How Hot Should Your Infant’s Bath Water Be?

You should make sure that your baby’s bathwater is warm, not hot. The ideal temperature is around 37.5°C ( about 98.6 °F). A bath thermometer can help you monitor the water’s temperature. If you don’t have one, you can check the water with your wrist or elbow - it should be comfortably warm.

In case you are bathing your baby in a tub, make sure you check its sides to confirm there are no hot spots. Additionally, let cold water run through the tub first then drain it and fill it with warm water.

Supplies You Will Need

  • A baby blanket or towel
  • Washcloth.
  • Warm water.
  • Mild baby soap (optional)
  • Baby lotion.
  • Clean diapers
  • Clean baby clothes.

How To Bathe A Newborn: Sponge Bath

This is the safest method to bathe your newborn baby if their umbilical cord is still attached. Here are the steps:

  1. Gather all the supplies then choose a warm room for the bath. Lay your baby on a flat surface, such as the floor or a changing table. 
  2. Make sure your baby’s bathwater is warm, never hot.
  3. Undress your baby’s clothes and diaper ( taking the nappy off last). After that, wrap them in a towel, exposing only the areas that you are washing. Dip the washcloth in warm water and clean your baby’s eyes, nose, and whole face. You should not use soap at this time as it may dry out your baby’s skin and get into their eyes.
  4. Now continue with your little one’s head still in cover. Unwrap each part of their body as you process, starting from their neck and moving down but don’t wipe your baby’s umbilical cord yet. Rinse the washcloth and pat your baby dry. 
  5. Use a cotton ball or swab dipped in warm water to clean around the base of your baby’s umbilical cord.
  6. Now move to their diaper area, clean it from front to back using the washcloth and warm water. 
  7. Your baby’s hair should be washed at the end of the bath to prevent them from getting cold. Gently wet your child’s hair with the washcloth. You can apply a small amount of baby wash or baby shampoo and then give your baby a head massage. Rinse their hair with a cup of water. After that, dry and gently cover your baby’s head with a towel
  8. Pat your baby dry and wrap them in a towel.
  9. Put on a new diaper and dress them up.

How To Bathe A Newborn: Bathtub

After your infant’s umbilical cord falls off, you can start bathing them in a baby bathtub. Here is how to do so:

  • Fill your baby’s bathtub with a moderate amount of water (usually, 2 to 3 inches of water).
  • Before undressing your baby, wipe their eyelids (from inner eye to outer eye) with cotton wool dipped in warm water.  Use a new piece of cotton wool for each wipe.
  • Now take off your baby’s clothes ( take off the nappy last). Place them into the water right away so they don’t get cold. Cradle your little one’s head and shoulder with one arm and support their body with the other hand. Gently lower their body into the tub, their feet should be the first part to go down.  Make sure you keep your baby’s head and neck above water at all times for safety.
  • Gently splash or pour warm water over your baby to keep them warm in the tub. Use a washcloth to clean their face and hair. The shampoo is not necessary, but you can use it to clean your baby’s scalp once or twice per week. Be careful not to let anything go into your child’s ears or nose.
  • Use warm water, a wet washcloth, and a small amount of soap to wash the rest of your newborn’s body from the top down.
  • Gently lift your baby out and pat them dry with a towel. Do not rub your baby to dry them as it can irritate their skin. Make sure to also dry the creases in their skin.

Tips When Bathing Your Baby 

Here are some useful tips you should keep in mind:

  • If you have a boy with circumcision, make sure you follow the doctor’s advice to bathe him properly.
  • Take off your watch and jewelry as well as wash your hands before bathing your baby.
  • To help your baby enjoy bath time, you can try placing your hand gently or a warm wet washcloth on their chest and tummy. This can help your baby feel safe and secure in the bath.
  • Put your phone away or turn it off. You’ll be less likely to get distracted.
  • Put every supply you need within reach.
  • You can use mild baby soap or baby wash while bathing your newborn. Avoid using regular soap because it can be too harsh and can dry out your baby’s delicate skin. 
  • Position the bath somewhere stable and at a height where you can comfortably hold your baby.
  • Never leave your baby alone in a bath, not even for a moment.

Dress Your Baby After A Bath

Your baby is cold and wet after a bath, so swaddling keeps them warm. But if swaddling does not work, consider dressing them in something more comfortable like a cotton romper

Note: Make sure you dry your baby as quickly but comfortably as possible before dressing them to prevent rashes.