Baby Bath Time Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to bathing your newborn, it’s easy to feel uncertain or confused. But with a little help in the right direction, you’ll find it’s actually quite easy, and it provides a great opportunity to bond with your baby!
It’s up to you how often you bathe your baby, and it’s up to them as well, but realistically bathing your baby two to three time a week is enough to keep them clean.
Frequent baths can dry out your baby’s skin, if you live in a hard water area (hard water is full of rock minerals).
If you bath your baby every day be sure to keep their skin moisturised with natural, baby-safe skin care products.
In between baths, you’ll want to wash baby’s face to keep it clean, as well as wipe any grime or dirt off their skin.
Whenever you change your baby’s nappy make sure to clean their genitals and bum carefully to avoid irritation and rashes, or worse, infection.
Washing your baby’s hair, know that it’s only necessary once every one or two weeks, since your baby’s hair produces very little oil.
Use natural, baby-safe shampoo for their sensitive skin.
For baby’s with cradle cap (it appears as scaly, greasy yellow/red patches on the head), you should wash their hair more frequently with a mild shampoo specifically for cradle cap.
Baby’s with eczema should have their hair washed with emollient rather than shampoo.
Where to Bath Baby
For the first 6 months, it’s likely easier to bath your baby in the kitchen sink, or in a plastic baby bath that is small and contained.
Use bath support when bathing your newborn, so that weight is kept off baby’s neck as they lie in the bath.
Older than 6 months their necks have developed more, and you can use ring bath seats so baby can sit in the bath with you without slipping.
You can use a bath dam to save water. The bath dam allows you to fill only a small section of the bath, meaning you don’t waste water.
Baby Bath Safety
When you’re bathing your baby, don’t under any circumstances leave your baby unattended. It takes only seconds for the unthinkable to happen, and even if an older child is present you can’t be too careful.
Non-slip rubber mats in the water ensure your baby doesn’t slip. Toddlers love to play and run around, and the bottom of the bath can be slippery.
A soft mat can also support your knees when cleaning the baby.
Baby Bath time Prep
While it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, you’ll quickly get into a bath time routine. Make sure you have everything you need when bath time arrives.
- A warm towel to dry baby, a hooded towel works best.
- A thermometer for the water, so it’s not too hot or too cold. The water should be just around 37-38 Degrees Celsius or 100 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- A soft sponge and baby-safe liquid soap or emollient.
- A bowl of warm water to wash your baby’s face.
- Clean cotton pads for cleaning
- A fresh nappy and clothes, ready for when the baby is dry.
- A wipe for your baby boy. Once the diaper comes off, he will most likely pee as soon as his genitals come in contact with fresh air. You’ll want to cover him up to avoid a mess!
Bathroom prep: Be sure to close the doors and windows beforehand to warm the room and keep the draft out (we don’t want baby to get sick!).
Fill the bath with cold water first, then add the hot water and stir thoroughly till the water is comfortably warm, without any hot spots that would otherwise scold baby. Use a thermometer to test the temperature, but if you don’t have one here is a useful trick. Put your elbow in the water, and the water should feel warm. If it’s hot, the water is too hot for your baby.
Be sure not to fill the bath up to much. For newborns up to 6 months, fill the bath with 8cm to 10cm of water. This avoids dangerous situations.
How to Wash Baby
Step 1: Wash your baby’s face first, without any soup or cleanser.
Wash with soft cotton pads dipped in water and squeezed out, so you don’t get water in their nose, mouth or eyes.
Do this before you bath your baby, as it’s easier to wash their face before they’re in the water. When you clean baby’s ears, use a fresh clean cotton pad, and clean AROUND, not in the ear. Clean under your baby’s chin as well, then dry their face and chin. Sometimes your baby may have dried mucus around their eyes or nose. Gently dab the mucus first to loosen it, then wipe. When wiping the eyes, go from the nose outwards with a dampened cotton pad.
Step 2: Now you can take your baby to the bath. Undress them and remove the nappy, and if they’ve soiled the nappy clean your baby’s genitals and bottom before gently slipping them into the bath. Use one arm to support their neck and head, with your hand on their arm, while the other supports their bottom.
Step 3: If you are using bath support (which we highly recommend), you don’t have to keep supporting baby’s head. If not, keep supporting their head and neck with your arm. Your baby can become quite slippery when wet, so you don’t want them to slip onto their back. Use your free hand (or hands when using support) to wash your baby.
Step 4: You can wash your baby with water, or with a liquid, baby safe soap or emollient. If your baby’s skin is particularly dry or tender, add a little extra emollient to the bath water to help hydrate and moisturise the skin. But it will make baby slippery so keep a good hold on them.
Step 5: Use your hand or a sponge to wash your baby gently from head to toe, and for their genitals, a routine wash is all that is necessary. Too much soap can irritate that sensitive area.
Step 6: Once clean (make sure all the soap is off their skin), gently lift baby out of the water, still supporting their head and neck, and bundle them in a towel. Pat them dry rather than rubbing, before putting them in a nappy.
If your baby has a nappy rash or is prone to nappy rashes, use a gentle, mild bum balm to soothe the skin and prevent/treat rashes. If you use the right balm you won’t have to use any other products or powder to treat the rashes.
Step 7: If your baby’s skin is dry, use a mild, natural moisturiser to hydrate the skin, gently smoothing it on.
Step 8: Before dressing your baby if you want to put them to bed (bath time and the warm water is a great way to get baby ready for bed), take the time to give your little one a gentle massage. (read more on baby massages here) This will help them relax, and after a day of busy fun and stimulation is will help them wind down to get ready for sleep.
Step 9: Dress baby and get them to bed!
We hope we’ve given you a helpful guide on the bath time care for your baby. We want your baby’s bath time to be as easy and safe as possible!