How often should you bathe a baby

Keep your baby clean and take care of their delicate skin with our advice for first-time parents on how to bathe a baby & what products to use to do so.

Updated

Yellow rubber duck in bath for how often we should bathe a baby

Key steps:

  1. Make sure the room you bathe your baby in is warm – you don’t want baby to get chilly!
  2. Never leave baby alone in the bath, even for a second.
  3. When you decide to wash your baby’s skin with more than just plain water, choose a baby product for sensitive skin. Here are some more tips for looking after your baby's soft and sensitive skin.

A baby’s delicate skin needs special care. Not only do you want to make sure the clothes they wear are soft against their skin, but you also want to make sure any products used on their skin are gentle enough. This means that knowing how to bathe a baby properly and with the best baby bath products is essential for any soon-to-be parents.

Here we provide you with all you need to know about bathing your baby so both you and baby can relax and enjoy the experience.

Plain water is best for delicate newborn skin, but as your baby grows and potentially starts to end up more smelly and messy, you may want to opt for a gentle baby wash product. The best baby bath products to use are those designed specially for sensitive skin. Try Neutral 0% Baby Bath & Wash for a mild and effective wash gel that helps reduce the risk of skin irritation or skin allergic reactions.

How often to bathe a baby

First things first – you don’t need to bathe your baby properly every day. Instead, ‘top and tailing’ them each day is enough to keep them clean. All this involves is simply washing their face, neck, hands, and bottom carefully without getting them in an actual tub.

Hold your baby on your knee or on a changing mat and wipe each area with cotton wool gently dipped in a bowl of warm water. Always use a fresh cotton wool ball for each area so as not to transfer any infections or germs. Dry your baby gently with a soft towel before putting on a clean nappy and clean clothes, if necessary.

How to bathe a baby

When bath day does come around, here are some tips to help you take care of your baby’s delicate skin while bathing them.

1) Water temperature

Fill a baby bath or clean washing-up bowl with a few inches of warm water. The water shouldn’t feel hot or cold – it should be comfortably warm. To check the temperature, dip your elbow in the water. You should also swirl the water around with your hand so there are no hot spots.

Testing water temperature with elbow

2) Bathing your baby

Carefully place your baby in the tub using one arm or a bath chair or support to support their back, head, and neck. Always keep the support in place during the bath and never leave them alone in the tub. Gently wash their face using clean, warm water and cotton wool. Use a fresh cotton wool ball for each eye and wipe from the inside corner of the eye outward. Then move on to the body and gently swish warm water over them while supporting their head. Lastly, carefully wash their bottom and genitals.

Cotton pad in hand on blue background

3) Do I need to use baby bath products?

Plain water is all that is needed to bathe your baby with in the first month. After then you may want to opt for a gentle baby bath product, like Neutral 0% Baby Bath & Wash. A mild wash gel like this is specially designed for sensitive skin and is gentle enough for everyday use. It contains no perfumes or colorants that may cause skin irritations.

Rubbing a baby leg with a cotton pad

4) Washing baby’s hair

If your baby has quite a bit of hair, you may want to try a gentle shampoo like Neutral 0% Baby Shampoo. Just like all Neutral 0% products, it’s specially developed for sensitive skin so you can be sure it will be very gentle on baby’s hair and head.

5) Let baby enjoy their bath

Once you’re finished washing them, let your baby have a few moments in the bath to enjoy the warm water. Keep them warm by pouring cupfuls of water over them and talk to them to help them relax.

6) Drying your baby

When it’s time for bath time to come to an end, carefully lift baby out of the tub and quickly wrap them in a soft towel. Gently pat them dry with the towel to avoid skin irritation. Once your baby is completely dry, apply a gentle lotion or oil specially designed for babies before dressing them. Massage can help your baby to relax and lull them to sleep, while the oil can help to replenish lost natural skin oils.

Baby in towel with mother

Bathing your baby can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your baby if you follow these simple tips and use suitable bath products. To find out more about caring for sensitive baby skin, check out our article on choosing the right laundry detergent for sensitive skin.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

Originally published