How to Create A Safe & Peaceful Newborn Bath Time Routine
There are so many exciting firsts with your little one during the initial few months of their life. One of those special moments is the first newborn bath. This can be especially nerve-wracking for first-time parents who often worry about everything from water temperature to how to safely handle their child during bath time. The good news is, like most things in parenting, with practice you’ll become more confident during your little one’s bath time routine. In the meantime, we’ve put together a guide to walk you through everything you need to know about how to bathe a newborn and how to tackle toddler bath time safely and easily. With a few helpful tips and tricks, this might become your favorite time of day together
Table of Contents
- When should I give my newborn their first bath?
- How often should I bathe my newborn?
- Ideal newborn bath temperature
- Ideal toddler bath temperature
- How to bathe newborn
- Newborn bath time essentials
- Baby bath time tips & tricks
When should I give my newborn their first bath?
Many first-time parents wonder when to give bath to newborn baby. Experts recommend waiting at least 24 hours after birth before giving your newborn their first bath. While you might be a little bit nervous about tackling this milestone, it’s best to try and give your baby a bath within the first week of being home. The good news is, in most cases, your little one’s first bath can be a sponge bath, which many new parents find far less nerve-wracking than a regular bath. Sponge baths are recommended until your newborn’s umbilical stump has fallen off. Keeping the umbilical stump dry and clean can help prevent infections. The same principle goes for babies who have recently been circumcised.
How often should I bathe my newborn?
Now that you’ve got your first bath under your belt, you might be wondering how often to bathe a newborn. Different parents have different bath time routines with their little ones, so it can be hard to know what to do. Experts recommend bathing your newborn about 2 - 3 times a week. This may seem odd to adults as we’re used to bathing daily, but babies don’t sweat the way we do. Newborns also aren’t prone to getting as dirty as toddlers who are more mobile. While baths 2 - 3 times a week is the standard recommendation for newborns, there are a few exceptions to the rule:
- If you run into an especially messy diaper situation
- If you have a colicky baby and bath time helps soothe them
In cases like these, it’s okay to bathe your child more frequently. Just be sure to skip the soap to avoid drying out or irritating your baby’s skin.
Ideal newborn bath temperature
The ideal water temperature for a newborn bath is around 100 °F (38 °C). You may want to set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 °F before bringing your little one home. You’ll also want to ensure that the bathroom and nursery are kept at a comfortable temperature so that your baby doesn’t get chilled when coming out of the bath.
Ideal toddler bath temperature
The ideal water temperature for a toddler bath is also around 100 °F (38 °C). When it comes to water temperature for a toddler bath, one additional safety concern you’ll need to keep in mind is your child’s mobility. As your baby gets older, they may be able to reach for the faucet and change the temperature of the water. Be mindful of this and keep an eye out to ensure that your baby doesn’t accidentally scald themselves.
How to bathe newborn
There is no simple answer to the question of how to bathe a newborn. Each child is different and as you become more experienced with your baby’s bath time routine, you’ll find out what works best for them. There are, however, some best practices that can help keep bath time safe and enjoyable for you and your little one.
- Gather all of your bath supplies so you have everything needed within arm’s reach.
- Fill a basin with warm water.
- Undress your baby and lay them on a clean, flat surface and cover them with a towel.
- Submerge a clean washcloth in the warm water.
- Gently clean your baby’s face with the washcloth, paying special attention to your baby’s eyes and ears.
- Starting at the neck and working your way down your baby’s body. Gently use the washcloth to wipe one area at a time.
- Keep the rest of your baby’s body covered with the towel so they don’t get chilled.
- Gently dry, diaper and dress your baby.
- Gather all of your bath supplies before starting, so you have everything needed within arm’s reach.
- Fill your bathtub with about 2 inches of warm water. Be sure to test the temperature with your elbow or a thermometer.
- Undress your baby and place them in the tub. Always have one hand behind your baby’s head for support.
- Ensure you regularly pour warm water over your baby throughout the bath so they stay warm.
- Begin the bath by washing your baby’s face with a washcloth.
- Next, cleanse your baby’s scalp with a mild soap and gently rinse with water. Ensure that the soap doesn’t run into your little one’s eyes.
- Starting at the neck and working your way down your baby’s body, gently use the washcloth to wipe one area at a time. Pay careful attention to the areas between their fingers and toes, the underarms, leg creases and the diaper area. You can skip the soap here or use it sparingly.
- Rinse your baby thoroughly and then carefully lift them out of the tub.
- Wrap them immediately in a dry towel and apply baby lotion and diaper cream, if necessary.
- Diaper and dress your baby.
Newborn bath essentials
- Mild Soap. Babies have delicate skin, so it’s important to opt for a mild soap for both newborn and toddler bath time.
- Baby Lotion. Help your little one restore moisture after baths with a gentle baby lotion.
- Baby bath tub. You don’t necessarily need a baby bath tub, but many new parents find it helpful to have one for the first few months.
- Hooded Towels. You’ll want to dry your little one as soon as they come out of the bath. These hooded towels, made of absorbent French terry and the softest brushed cotton, are a great option.
- Ponchos. For toddler bath time, we love these hooded poncho towels made with soft brushed cotton on the outside and ultra-absorbent terry on the inside.
- Blankets. Post-bath snuggles are always a good idea. Warm your little one up with a one of our cozy blankets and a cuddle.
Baby bath time tips & tricks
- Establish a routine. A relaxing bath is a great addition to your little one’s bedtime routine. Play some soothing music and dim the lights to help your newborn drift off peacefully.
- Be gentle. As adults, we’re used to scrubbing and exfoliating, but you’ll need to take a different approach with your little one. Your child’s skin is delicate, so be gentle with washcloths and towels.
- Timing is everything. Attempting a bath when your child is fussy or has just eaten is always a recipe for disaster. Schedule baths for a time of day when you know your child is more settled and has had some time to digest after their last feeding.
- Safety first. Never leave your child alone in the bath, even if it’s just for a short time. Many first-time parents think that shallow water doesn’t pose a huge risk, but that’s not the case. So, it’s best to make sure you have everything you need on hand for bathtime. That way, you don’t have to step away from your baby.
- Enjoy it. Once you get the hang of it, bath time can be fun and relaxing for both you and your child. Embrace this time together, buy a few bath toys when your child is old enough to enjoy them and take lots of photos. There really is nothing cuter than watching your baby splash around in the tub.
We hope these tips and tricks help you feel more confident and ready for your next bathtime. Remember, it takes time to figure out a routine that works well for you and your baby, so be patient. We’re sure bathtime will become a highlight of your week soon enough!
Frequently Asked Questions
Giving your newborn a bath every day isn’t necessary. In fact, daily baths might do more harm than good. Specifically, bathing your newborn every day might dry out their skin, which can cause irritation and discomfort. Cleansing your newborn’s face, neck and diaper area regularly throughout the day with wipes and washcloths will do the trick so you only have to tackle baths 2 - 3 times per week.
Taking care of yourself while you adjust to life with a newborn is important, but if you’re a first-time parent, sneaking in a moment to yourself might feel impossible. While you might not have time for a long and indulgent shower routine, you can leave your newborn for a short period of time to sneak in a quick refresh. You just have to be mindful of the best time to do this, likely while your newborn is down for a nap. As long as they’re in a safe sleeping environment, warm, dry and settled into a nap, you should be able to sneak away for a quick shower.
If you want to bathe while your newborn is awake, some parents will bring their little one into the bathroom with them while they shower. You can lay them down on a soft play mat or put them in a bouncer. Some babies find the sound of the shower peaceful and it may even help you get them down for a nap.
You should wash your newborn’s hair about 2 - 3 times per week, as too often can lead to irritation and dryness on the scalp. On the other hand, not washing your newborn’s hair enough can lead to cradle cap, a fairly common condition that causes rough patches on a baby’s scalp. Cradle cap normally clears up on its own and it is neither contagious nor painful, but if you’re concerned about your little one’s scalp health or you notice anything abnormal, it’s always best to talk to your paediatrician. They can recommend the right hair-washing routine to help keep your newborn’s skin balanced and healthy.
Since you only really need a baby bathtub for the first few months of your little one’s life, many parents wonder if the baby bathtub is a must-have. The short answer is no. You don’t need a baby bathtub to safely carry out newborn bath time and once they’re a toddler, you can use the adult bathtub. However, it can definitely make life a lot easier for the first 6 - 8 months of your child’s life. Many parents find it easier to handle their newborn safely with a baby bathtub, which can make bath time a lot less stressful. If you’re looking to save money or storage space, you can opt to bathe your little one in the sink, give them a sponge bath or bring them into the shower or tub with you.
In most cases, it’s best to avoid using soap when washing your baby’s delicate face. Instead, a soft washcloth, a few cotton balls and some warm water are likely all you need. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe a soap for babies with acne to help clear up the condition. If you’re concerned about acne or other skin issues, it’s always best to speak to your child’s paediatrician, before incorporating anything other than warm water into your newborn bath time routine.