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Bathing Your Newborn

The first few baths you give to your baby can be a little tricky, but you will soon be a pro. This article will guide you on how to bathe your newborn.

Until a baby starts getting dirty on the ground, an everyday bath won’t be needed. As a matter of fact, your newborn child will only really need to have a bath two or three times a week — first a sponge bath will be needed, until his/her umbilical cord stump gets healed (about 1 to 4 weeks following birth), then an infant tub bath, and finally a tub bath (when he/she can sit upright on his/her own and has outgrown the baby tub). There is nothing more beautiful than seeing an infant splashing in a bath with soapy suds dotting his dimples and chubby folds.

How Often Should A Newborn Be Bathed? 

A newborn should be bathed two or three times a week, as long as her nappy area is kept well-cleaned and her face and hands are washed regularly. Unless they soil themselves or become sick, newborns just don’t get dirty often.

As soon as the cord stump falls off, your newborn is ready for an actual bath in an infant bath tub or a sink. Whichever you use in bathing your baby, ensure you place a towel at the bottom as this will make it softer for your baby. You might also want to have someone around to help hold your slippery baby. Assemble everything you will need in advance so you will not have to leave your baby during a bath. 

Some of the things you may need when bathing your baby are cotton balls, bath wash or bath soap, a large hand towel, a baby comb or brush, a soft sponge or flannel. You will also need warm water to make the bath interesting to your baby. 

These early baths do not need to be intense or long, but ensure that they get the job done properly. Hold your baby tightly and gently wash the loose skin or dirt that has accumulated. You will have to gently cradle your newborn’s back and head while you administer a bath. 

As you wash your baby, pay great attention to the nappy and genital areas, the feet and hands (check between the toes and fingers as well), armpits, face, behind the ears, the folds at the thighs, neck, and backs of the knees. Below are some easy tips that will help you in bathing your newborn.

1. Go Sponge

If your newborn baby still has the cord stump, give him/her a simple sponge baths once every few days to enable it stay clean and dry. Newborns do not get very messy (except in their diaper area and underneath their chins where saliva tends to accumulate) so pay particular attention to these parts. You can choose not to use soap, all you need is some lukewarm water. 

2. Timing Is Everything

Ensure you give baths not more than three times a week; any more could affect your newborn’s super-soft skin. You will want to choose a good time of day to bathe your baby. Make sure your baby is not hungry and is well-rested before giving him/her a bath. However, do not bath your baby immediately after he/she has been fed because they might spit up. Some parents prefer giving their baby a bath during the evening hours of the day, about 60minutes after feeding. This method has proven to be the most effective as the warm water helps the baby to feel sleepy and ready for bed. 

3. Go Tear-Free

Babies do not need too much of soap. But you can use a little on their bottoms and, incase they have hair, a little shampoo too. When choosing your baby’s bath wares, make sure you are buying baby washes and shampoos that are gentle as possible and tear-free as well. Some mothers prefer using the lavender baby wash, which leaves a drowsy, soothing effect on your newborn.

4. Save the Shampooing

If you’re using shampoo, use it last so your newborn does not end up sitting in a soapy water (which can be very uncomfortable); having a wet hair at the end of a bath will only make your baby feel cold, so it will be best to save the shampoo for last. 

5. Gather Your Supplies

Before bathing your newborn, gather everything you think you might need and keep them within your arm’s reach. Ensure that the bottles are not locked but ready to use; the last thing anyone will want is trying to break the seal of a baby wash lotion while holding a baby with one arm. 

6. Have a Helper

If it is your first time bathing a newborn, make sure you have a helper to assist you during your baby’s first bath. Since under no condition may you leave your little one unattended during a bath, having a helper around will help in ensuring the safety of your newborn. Plus, if you are not sure on how your child is going to react to the first bath, a helper can provide you with ideas on how to calm a wet, wailing baby.  

7. Use a Bath Mat

A soapy and wet baby is always very slippery. A bath pillow or pad will help in keeping your baby in one spot when they get too slippery to hold; you can also place a towel to add a little comfort or warmth on the tub or sink. 

8. Temp Check

Your newborn is very tiny, so she does not need too much water. An inch or two inches is enough, especially since you will want to place your baby down in his tub or bath. A baby’s skin is far more sensitive than that of a fully grown adult, so ensure that you pay careful attention to the temperature of the water used —water that feels pleasantly warm to you might be too hot for your newborn. Test the water with your wrist or your elbow before putting your baby in it; the water must be warm, not necessarily hot. If you use a baby-bath thermometer, it should read below 100 F degrees. 

9. Go Tropical

Consider cranking up the thermostat before putting a newborn in the bath. This way, your baby will stay at a comfortable temperature when he/she is inside and outside the water, which might also help in keeping tears at bay.

10. Expect Little Tears (And Probably A Mess)

Although you may want nothing more than a nice, warm bath, your newborn is likely to see a bath as yet another surprising new experience which he/she might not like at first. If this happens, make the bath snappy and put the baby in a snuggly attire after he/she dries off. Do not be surprised if there is a big diaper blowout just after you dress up your baby. 

Benefits Of Batch Time For Newborns

Bathing a newborn comes with a lot of benefits. Below are few benefits of bathing your newborn.

  • Boosts Baby-parent Bond. 

There is a reason why bath time quickly becomes one of your baby’s highlights of the day  — it is because this time is spent between she and her parents. Taking good care of your newborn allows her to know how much you care about her. Gaze into her pretty eyes, kiss her yummy baby belly, count her cute little toes, sing funny songs. Hearing your voice and feeling your gentle touch (not minding what you sing or say) will let your baby know how much she is loved.

  • It Is a learning experience. 

There is so much learning in the tub. Tickle your newborn’s senses by pouring water gently onto her tummy — she will giggle with pleasure. Trickle a little water close to her and watch as her wide-eyed gaze tells you how captivated she is, or teach her how to make a splash with the water while bathing. Always check to ensure she is happy and receives pleasure from what you are doing. Don’t forget to play with your newborns as you wash them – name their tiny body parts as you suds them. 


Your baby’s first bath is something that all parents must take seriously. But when to bath them, not to mention where and how, are questions all new parents keep asking. Cleaning a squirming, slippery, and sometimes screaming baby takes a lot of practice. The best bond a parent and a newborn can make is during a bath. This is where you can play with your newborn and make her get used to you. So be patient it will get simpler every time, and your newborn will soon come to enjoy having a bath.  

Finally, don’t be shocked if your newborn cries out loud during her first bath. She is only reacting to a sensation that hasn’t been felt before. Always make sure that the room temperature is warm enough, and comfort her with songs and soft touches.

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