How to bathe a baby for the first time? This guide is here to help!

Learn everything you need to know to make baby’s bath-time a breeze. From how often to bathe a newborn to what process to follow, we’ve got you covered.

Updated

newborn bath

Just like the first stages of pregnancy, the first weeks after bringing your baby home can seem a bit daunting. It’s natural to feel a bit nervous the very first time you bathe your little one: what should I do? How should I do it? What should the baby bath temperature be? If these are questions you’ve asked yourself then you’re in luck – we’ve got the answers!

Read on and learn how and when to bathe a newborn and make bath-time a joyous bonding experience for you and your little one.

Check a newborn baby bath temperature with your elbow - it’s a better gauge for warm water than hands which have tougher skin. Give the water a swish and check again to be sure.

When to bathe a newborn baby?

The best time to bathe newborn babies fully is after the umbilical stump has fallen off, usually around 10 days after birth. Before this you should stick to sponge bathing using this technique:

  1. Place your little bundle of joy on a dry towel and wrap them up snug.
  2. Expose one limb/body part at a time and gently sponge with warm water.
  3. Pat each area dry before moving onto the next.

How often should you bathe a newborn?

Once the umbilical cord has fallen off, and when you feel ready, it’s time to move onto washing your baby more thoroughly. Newborns require constant cleaning in terms of their face, neck and nappy area but a full bath is only needed 2-3 times per week.

How to bathe a baby

Now the big question – how to bathe a newborn? First off, getting the right baby bath temperature is vital. It should be warm but not hot. You can check it by dipping your elbow in – swish the water around to check there are no hotspots.

Once you’ve got the right newborn bath temperature you can move onto bathing your baby:

  1. Start off by gathering what you need – towels, fresh nappy and clothes etc.
  2. Have someone with you if possible.
  3. If you’re washing baby in the bath, get in and have someone hand them to you. Otherwise, use a special baby bat.
  4. Not sure how to hold baby in bath? Support your baby’s head and shoulder at all times with one hand and use your other hand to wash them.
  5. Just use water to wash them. It’s best to leave products out of the process for the first month as your baby’s skin will be at its most delicate.
  6. Swish small amounts of water over your baby with your free hand. Keep their head out of the water at all times.
  7. Stay calm. It might not be smooth at first but you’ll get there together.
  8. Lift baby out and pat dry in a warm towel – pay close attention to creases and folds in their skin around areas such as knees and elbows.
  9. Give them a cuddle – and give yourself a pat on the back!

Follow our top tips and the first time you bathe your little one will be a lot more straightforward than you might think. In no time you’ll all get used to getting the right newborn baby bath temperature, holding them securely, and washing them thoroughly. Before you know it you’ll be a baby bathing pro!

Key steps

Follow our key steps when bathing your newborn for the first time:

  1. Don’t bathe baby until the umbilical cord has fallen off.
  2. Gather what you need beforehand.
  3. Check a newborn bath temperature with your elbow.
  4. Always support baby’s head and shoulders while bathing.
  5. Bathe in water only for the first month. Avoid products.
  6. Pat baby’s skin dry, checking creases and folds in their skin carefully.
  7. Stay calm and patient – practice makes perfect!

Originally published