Bringing baby home and going through all those first times may have you feeling like you are paddling in the deep end. We are here to help with tips and tricks for your baby’s first bath at home. So that you don’t have to feel like a duck out of the water!
When Should Baby Have Their First Bath?
We recommend that you do not bathe your baby in the first twenty-four hours. If for religious or other reasons, you need to wash them earlier, that’s fine. After that, a bath two or three times a week is sufficient. On days that you don’t bathe your little one, you can simply do a top-and-tail or a sponge bath.
Avoid tub baths until your baby’s umbilical cord stump has healed. Similarly, if a newborn boy has been circumcised, wait for the little guy to completely heal before bathing in a tub. Instead, simply wash the body with a soft washcloth dipped in warm water.
What Type of Soap Should I Use?
Newborn babies have extremely sensitive skin. Do not use soap until 4 – 6 weeks old. Initially, simply a bit of warm water will suffice to clean your baby’s body. After all, they won’t be getting dirty at this stage!
After 6 weeks, you can start to use a little bit of soap when washing your baby. Just be sure to use something that is not fragranced and is very gentle on their delicate skin. We have specifically formulated our baby wash and shampoo to be as kind on your newborn’s skin as it is on the environment. Made with organic aloe leaf juice, this baby soap has a pH between 4.2 and 5.8 to prevent drying and irritation of your baby’s skin.
Baby’s First Bath at Home
It is natural to feel nervous before bathing your newborn baby for the first time. However, you will get the swing of it in no time at all! Try and stick to a routine whenever you clean your baby. Whether you are bathing your little one in a tub, doing a sponge bath, or a quick top-and-tail.
Here is our step-by-step on how to bath a newborn baby:
1. Prepare the Room
The room that you bathe your baby in should be nice and warm. We recommend around 75 to 80° F. Close the door and windows to limit any draughts. Are you doing bath time in preparation for bedtime? Reinforce the bedtime message by dimming the lights in the room and keeping noise levels to a minimum. You can even play a bit of soothing music.
2. Gather Your Bath Time Essentials
Before you pop your baby into the bath, make sure that you have everything ready for bath time and dressing afterward.
- Washcloths and cotton balls.
- Soap, if using.
- A soft towel.
- Diaper and bum cream.
- Baby lotion, only if necessary.
3. Fill the Tub
A handy tip: pour the cold water into the tub first and then fill it with hot water. That way the sides of the tub won’t be too hot for your baby. Your newborn’s tender skin is sensitive to heat. Therefore, it is vital to have the bath water temperature just right. We recommend somewhere around 98.6° F. How do I test my baby’s bath water temperature? Dip your elbow or the inside of your wrist into the tub to test the water’s temperature. These areas are more sensitive than your fingertips. How deep should the baby’s bathwater be? The water level of the baby tub should reach your baby’s torso.
4. Lower Baby into the Tub
Hold your baby securely with one arm under their head and your hand holding the arm furthest away from you. With your other hand, support their bottom. Slide your baby gently and slowly into the tub, feet first.
5. Face First
Dip a cotton ball or the corner of a washcloth into the warm water and use that to wipe the baby’s eye. Supporting your baby’s head, wipe from the inner corner outward. Then repeat with a fresh cotton ball or the other corner of the washcloth. Dip the whole facecloth in warm water and wash your baby’s face. Pay special attention to the chin and area around the mouth where milk and drool may collect. If your newborn has gorgeous little neck rolls, make sure to clean in between the skin folds. Clean inside and behind their ears. You do not need to use earbuds to clean your baby’s ears. The corner of a soft facecloth is fine.
6. Wash Baby’s Body
Dip the washcloth in warm water and begin to wash your baby’s body at the neck, moving down to the abdomen. If your little one still has an umbilical cord stump, take extra care around this area. Clean under baby’s arms and between their fingers. Once again, make sure to clean in between creases and skin folds. Lastly, wash the nappy area. For girls, gently wipe from front to back with a warm wet washcloth. For boys, gently wipe the area clean.
7. Can I Wash My Newborn Baby’s Hair?
If your baby already has some hair on their little head, you can wash their hair with gentle baby shampoo. Using a wet cloth, wet the hair and scalp. Place a tiny amount of shampoo in the palm of your hand and warm it before gently lathering it on your baby’s head. Using a cup or a washcloth, rinse the shampoo from your little one’s head with clean, warm water. Pat (do not rub) their head dry with a soft towel.
8. Drying Time
Gently lift your baby from the tub and wrap them in a soft towel. Pat their little body dry, paying extra attention to the creases and skin folds.
9. The Final Touches
At this stage, unless recommended by your pediatrician, there is no need for baby lotions. Apply vegan diaper cream, if necessary, and a clean diaper. If your baby is not too tired and enjoys a massage, then use this time to give your baby a gentle, soothing infant massage. Dress your baby warmly in soft, comfortable clothes. If you are getting baby ready for bedtime, you can swaddle them in a blanket, ready to snuggle and go to sleep!
What Not to Do
- Never leave your baby unattended in the tub. Always have one hand on your little one to make sure that they do not slip into the water.
- Even if your baby is really enjoying their bath, do not bathe for too long. Babies lose a great deal of body heat very quickly and can become cold.
- Avoid using baby powder after the bath. Powders may irritate your little one’s sensitive airways.
The Advantages of Bath Time
Besides the actual cleaning of your baby, bathing your newborn has loads of benefits. Babies are little sponges, soaking up every little experience and sensation in this big new world. Bath time is a learning opportunity for them. While washing them, you can name the body parts and explain what you are doing. Bathing is also a marvelous tool for soothing fussy babies and preparing them for sleep time. Most importantly, bath time is a vital time for building on the parent-baby bond. So, get all your goodies ready, and enjoy the memorable one-on-one time with your precious little bundle!