Bathing a Newborn: A Guide to Baby's First Bath

If you’re new in the parenting business, chances are you’re going crazy with countless small details that need to be considered when it comes to your little one’s well-being. Babies need constant care during the earliest years of their life - maintaining proper hygiene plays a huge role in keeping your baby’s health and development in order.

If you’re still pretty confused and curious on what’s and the how’s of baby-baths and baby-washing, you’ve got nothing to worry about cause we’ve got the essentials covered for you.  

How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby 

This is perhaps one of the first questions that might come to your mind, but it’s definitely an important one to consider. Bathing your baby too frequently may dry out their skin, affecting the natural oils that are secreted to protect it. That’s why it’s best to stick to baths 2-3 times a week, which will be just enough to keep your baby clean. If your baby really enjoys baths though, you can also try bathing them once a day, but keep them shorter. Baby baths should usually last for about 5-10 minutes in the earliest months, especially if your baby has super-sensitive skin.

In order to keep better hygiene of the baby’s genitals, you should wash the area separately and more frequently in between baths, using cotton wool or washcloth dipped in warm water.

When is the Best Time to Give Your Baby a Bath

Usually, any time of day would be perfectly fine for a baby bath – it all depends on your schedule and daily habits, as well as your baby’s mood. It’s good to avoid bathing your baby right after a feeding or when they’re hungry because it might make them fussier and make a bit of a mess of your bathing routine.

If your little one is one of those babies that just loves having a bath, you can also use it to settle them for the evening and help them fall asleep better.

Where to Do the Baby Bath

Because babies are such tiny beings, they can fit in a lot of places where you can do their bathing - you can do this almost everywhere in the house; as long as it’s safe, warm and clean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the bathroom. You can use a small plastic basin or even the kitchen sink, as well as the good old bathtub. 
Showering with your baby is another option for a baby bath, but you have to be careful not to use hot water – keep the temperature mild and keep the spraying water away from their face.

What to Consider Before Starting the Bath

There are a couple of things you’ll want to have around you before starting the baby bath, just so you make the process easier and faster for everybody:

Bathing Your Baby

Very important notice: never leave your baby unattended during the bathing process. Babies and children can drown even in very shallow water. Also never leave siblings or other older children to supervise while you’re gone. If you suddenly have to immediately attend to another thing, make sure to first take your baby out of the bath.

Drying Your Baby after Bathing

Properly drying your baby after a bath is almost as important as the bath itself. The baby’s skin needs to be properly dried, especially in areas where creases are formed, in order to prevent fungal infections and other irritations that may occur in moist and dark spots of their body. When you take your baby out of the bath, make sure to follow these steps:

It’s also important to remember that many newborns will probably find the washing part kind of distressing. That’s why sometimes it’s a good idea to calm them down by doing familiar things that you know will be effective. One of the things you can try if you’re not sure how to calm them is placing your hand very gently on their belly before preparing them to take a bath; this is said to make the baby feel safer and more secure during the washing.

Furthermore, if you’ve got one little nugget that just won’t grow to like bathing, you can try and give them the so-called ‘top and tail’ bath one day, while giving them a proper one the next day. In a couple of months, they should be able to take a regular bath without any fuss. Top and tail bath basically means cleaning the main areas of your baby’s body with a washcloth or cotton wool; the good thing about these kinds of baths is that you can do them with your baby still in its clothes.   

We know it might seem as if baby-baths involve a whole lot of steps, but we’re sure that you’ll get the hang of it in no time and come to be a professional baby washer. Like everything, baby bathing also takes practice, so take your time and don’t be worried about all the things you have to consider and all the steps you have to take. If you feel overwhelmed at the start, you can always call someone - a friend, partner or another family member - to be around you and assist you in the bathing process.