Baby’s First Bath Tips

When you start taking care of a baby on your own for the first time, it’s natural to have questions about little things, like how to bathe your baby!

A lot of parents can be intimidated by the first bath. And that’s ok! Washing a tiny human can be a little challenging. However, there is no reason to fret! With a little preparation beforehand, you’ll overcome this challenge with no hiccups.

When To Bathe Your Baby For The First Time And How Often After That?

The WHO recommends waiting for 24 hours after birth before giving your baby their first bath. After that, you don’t need to bathe your baby daily. Three baths per week are considered enough. As long as you’re properly cleaning up during those diaper changes, your baby isn’t particularly dirty enough to require a bath every day, and it isn’t always best for them either!

Bathing your baby too often can lead to a number of health problems such as:

  • Drying out their delicate skin
  • Cold-induced stress since babies are especially sensitive to cold
  • Drop in blood sugar levels

What Supplies Do You Need

Before you begin to give your baby a bath, make sure you have everything prepared beforehand. Things you will need:

  • A clean, shallow place to bathe your baby, such as a bathroom or kitchen sink
  • Warm water
  • A soft sponge or washcloth
  • A clean bath towel
  • Clean diaper
  • Clean clothes

How To Bathe Your Baby

The best time to bathe your baby is when they’re awake and it’s been some time since they were last fed. Bathing a baby immediately after a feed is not recommended. This can put their bodies through undue stress. They aren’t good at regulating body temperature yet, and if you overwhelm the body by requiring digestion and temperature control at once, it may trigger hypoglycemia. Also, make sure that the room is warm since babies can get cold quickly.

Once we have the optimum environment, let’s get to work! Here is how to give your baby a sponge bath:

  1. Undress your baby and wrap them in a bath towel and only expose the area you’re washing to avoid your baby from getting cold
  2. Hold your baby in the sink while cradling the head with one hand
  3. Wet the washcloth or sponge and begin gently cleaning one area at a time
  4. Start by cleaning behind the ears, moving to the neck, elbows, underarms, and legs. Pay attention to the creases.
  5. Towards the end of the bath, wash the hair using the washcloth only, avoid using any products at this stage
  6. To avoid water from getting into the eyes, gently tip the head backward
  7. Lastly, take off the diaper and wash that area gently. Girls will have some vaginal discharge, which is normal and doesn’t need to be scrubbed clean. If you have a circumcised boy, wash the area and apply some petroleum jelly to encourage wound healing
  8. Once you’re done bathing them, pat them dry. Apply a baby-friendly moisturizer if need be (make sure you clear it with your healthcare provider beforehand)
  9. Put on the clean diaper and clean clothes, and you’re done!

NEVER leave your baby unsupervised in the sink or tub. And make sure to keep them covered after a bath, to avoid exposure to cold immediately afterward. To learn more about newborn care, we encourage you to sign up for our Newborn Care class where you will learn more about important topics to help make the newborn time a smooth transition!