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Everything You Need To Know About Newborn Bathing

Bathing your newborn isn’t necessarily something you think about until it’s time to do it.

You might get home from the hospital and realize you are a little nervous for that first bath away from the nurses!

This guide will tell you everything you need to know to be confident about your baby’s bathtime.

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How often should you bathe your newborn?

Once you have given birth and you have your little one, they don’t need a bath right away.

Our nurses advised us against giving our little guy a bath until the day we were getting released, which was after 3 days.

When your baby is born, the nurses will wipe them down with a towel and clean them off that way. (And don’t worry, your baby won’t be stinky)

Babies have a hard time regulating body heat, so by avoiding a bath they will have a little easier time adjusting to the world outside your belly.

Once your baby has had their first bath at the hospital, they most likely won’t need another bath for a couple of days.

We bathed our son every two days unless he was spitting up a lot or was getting stinky.

However often you decide to scrub your little one, try to make a routine out of it.

Your baby might not care about a routine at this time, but as they grow, a predictable bath routine will be a good staple in their day-to-day

Benefits Of A Bathtime Routine:

As I mentioned above, a bath routine is a great opportunity to set the stage for the future. Your baby will start to look forward to this fun part of the day.

Another great reason to start a bath routine is that it is a great time to bond with your baby.

That one-on-one time is special to learn things about your baby, like if they like to play in the water, or if they are relaxed by it. Which brings me to my next point.

If bathtime relaxes your baby, a nighttime bath routine will be awesome to get your little one ready for sleep.

This could be a very helpful way to get your kiddo to wind down for the night in the years to come.

how to bathe your newborn

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Can you bathe your newborn while they have their umbilical stump?

Until your baby’s umbilical stump falls off, you will want to do a sponge bath to prevent the stump from getting wet.

I’ve found the best way to do this is to use a bathtub with a sling to set your baby in.

By using a sling, you will be able to have your baby’s bottom in the warm water, but still be able to keep their belly from being submerged.

Where should you bathe your newborn?

The best place to bathe your newborn will be in a toasty, warm room. Remember, your baby loses body heat pretty quickly, so you might need to plan ahead for bathtime.

For our baby, we put his bathtub on a towel on top of our bed. Our bedroom stayed warm, and by putting the tub on top of the bed, we didn’t have to bend down too far or get on the floor.

This is especially ideal after you have just given birth and are still recovering. 😉

If your house stays on the cooler side, a great thing to do is run a hot shower with the door closed for 5ish minutes before your baby’s bath. This will warm up the bathroom, and it’s also great if your baby is a little congested.

How to bathe your newborn

Newborn Bathing Safety Tips:

Never Leave Your Baby

Once your baby is in the water, you cannot leave them. Not even for a second, even if they are in a bath sling. Avoid this by gathering up what you need beforehand.

Always Have One Hand On Your Baby

Your baby is going to be slippery in the bath, so make sure you always have a hand on them.

Check The Water Temperature

It’s easy to make the bathwater too hot for your baby. You will want to check the temperature before you set them in the bath. To do this, you can use your elbow or wrist to see if the water is too hot.

I never liked checking the water with my wrist or elbow because I would always second guess myself. We have always used this bath duck to tell us if the water is too hot and it works great!

Best Baby Bath Items

1. Newborn Tub

If you don’t want to use the sink to bathe your baby, I recommend getting this baby bathtub. It’s not spendy and can grow with your baby.

Once your baby is too big for the sling, you can remove it and your baby can sit in the tub. Our baby used this tub until he was 10 months old, and he loved splashing in it!

2. Rinsing Cup

I know you can use any cup to rinse your baby with, but I really like this cup! It holds quite a bit of water, it’s a soft and bendy plastic, and it has a handle so it’s easier to grasp with wet hands.

3. Gentle Soap/Shampoo

When it comes to baby products, you don’t want anything harsh and perfumy.

This soap/shampoo is what we use and it’s great for helping your baby stay moisturized. Also, I like that it has a subtle smell that isn’t overpowering.

4. Brush/Comb

It’s a good idea to have a brush or comb handy in case your baby gets cradle cap, or really any kind of flakiness. This brush also has a comb attached so it’s a great tool for scrubbing your baby.

5. Soft Washcloths

Since your baby has more sensitive skin, you will want soft washcloths to wash with.

6. Hooded Towels

You might think hooded towels are unnecessary, but when your baby is a newborn, the hood really helps to keep them warm.

I used these ones and not only are they cute, but they are thick, soft, and will certainly keep your baby warm.

7. Gentle Lotion

This lotion is the best lotion I have found for babies! I live in a dry climate, so our skin gets dry and cracked really easily.

This lotion moisturizes basically overnight, is unscented, and sensitive enough to use on the face and body. It’s great!

8. Nail Clippers

Baby nails a thin to begin with, and when you clip them after a bath, it makes it even easier.

I use these ones and they are awesome because they are easy to hold, and have a magnifying glass to help you see the tiny nails. 🙂

9. Duck

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like to use my wrist or elbow to check the bathwater temperature.

This duck is super helpful to determine if the water is too hot with just a glance. Plus, it’s one of my son’s favorite bath toys even after a year.

How to bathe your newborn

Steps For Bathing Your Newborn

1. Get All Your Supplies Together

Before you get started, you will want to round up everything you will need. If you are bathing your baby in the bathroom, this will be a little easier.

If you are bathing your baby somewhere like in your bedroom, you will want to get your baby’s bath supplies which include their tub, rinsing cup (already filled), soap/shampoo, hair comb, duckie, washcloth, towel, and nail clippers if you need them.

You will also want to get their lotion, a diaper, and their pajamas or clothes that they will be wearing.

2. Fill The Tub

If you are bathing your newborn and they still have their umbilical stump, only put a little bit of water in the bottom of the tub for more of a sponge bath situation.

Once your baby’s umbilical stump has fallen off, you can add more water to the tub. Just make sure not to add too much to where it’s overwhelming.

3. Time To Wash!

Now you can start washing your baby! You will want to start with your baby’s face. I typically don’t use soap on my baby’s face, but that’s just personal preference. Then you can move on to wash their hair.

Next, you will want to wash their body, and lastly, you will wash their bottom. You won’t need a lot of soap, so you can use it sparingly.

4. Rinse Off

Remember to check the temperature of the water before rinsing. While rinsing, if you accidentally get the umbilical stump wet, you can just pat it dry gently.

5. Dry

Now you can wrap your little one in that hooded towel and admire how cute and squeaky clean they are. 😉

6. Put Lotion On

You will want to keep your baby in the warm room that you are in, and lay them down on their towel. This will ensure that they can stay warm while partially wrapped in the towel as you put their diaper and lotion on.

7. Clothes

Now it’s time to get your baby dressed, and you are all done!

Bathing your newborn can be intimidating at first, especially if this is your first baby. But after a few baths, you will be a pro! Then, you can look forward to when your baby loves playing with bath toys!

Before you go, check out these related articles:

I hope this answered all of your questions about bathing a newborn! Do you have any bath time favorite items? I would love to know in the comments below!

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  1. This is a great post, so helpful! I wish I read that before I had a baby 🙂 especially the part about regulation of their body temperature. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Our bedtime routine includes a bath as well, and I agree with you! The warm water really relaxes my son. 🙂

  2. I remember giving my oldest a bath for the first time! It can be quite daunting at first but this is a wonderful guide.

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