Bathing Babies

The correct care and tips.

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Supplies needed:

Washcloths

Use one color for bath time, another for diaper changes.

Plastic cup

For rinsing. Or squeeze a wet washcloth over baby’s head to get rid of soap.

Baby soap

A mild, tear-free cleanser for both baby’s body and hair is ideal.

Extras

Remedies that your doctor suggests should be in arms' reach.

How to:

Start by soaking baby. Always keep a hand on him (infants are slippery when wet). Start from the top and work your way down. Wash his face first, cleaning one small area at a time. As you move down, thoroughly wash inside all those folds (under the arms, in the neck, the genital area, etc.). Save baby’s dirtiest parts (aka the diaper area) for last. Then, move back up and wash baby’s hair. Since infants lose most of their heat through their heads, this should be your very last move. If the water is still warm, you can engage in a little playtime, but don't splash for too long — as the water chills, baby will start to get cold.

Necessities:

Washing station

Make sure your setup is steady, and position baby’s head away from the faucet.

Water

Fill the tub with about 3 inches of water that's a little bit hotter than lukewarm. Check with your wrist first.

Warm room

Keep the temperature raised so it’s not a shock to baby’s system when she comes out of the bath (75 to 80°F).

Hooded Newborn Towel

Hooded towels are great for getting your baby dry and keeping them warm after bath time is over.

Lotions:

Moisturizing is such a wonderful way to keep your baby’s skin healthy and glowing. And, a little massage after bath time provides some really good one-on-one time for you and your newborn!

FAQ:

How often does my newborn need a bath?


There's no need to give your newborn a bath every day. In fact, bathing your baby more than several times a week can dry out his or her skin. If you're quick with clean diapers and burp cloths, you're already cleaning the parts that really need attention — the face, neck and diaper area.


Is it better to bathe my baby in the morning or at night?


That's up to you. Choose a time when you're not rushed or likely to be interrupted. Some parents opt for morning baths, when their babies are alert and ready to enjoy the experience. Others prefer to make baby baths part of a calming bedtime ritual. If you bathe your baby after a feeding, consider waiting for your baby's tummy to settle a bit first.

How much water should I put in the tub?


The ideal amount of water for a baby bath is debatable. A common recommendation is 2 to 3 inches (about 5 to 8 centimeters) of warm water. To keep your baby warm, you can pour warm water over his or her body throughout the bath. Some research suggests that using slightly more water — enough to cover a baby's shoulders — can be calming and help reduce heat loss. With any amount of water, be sure to hold your baby securely during the bath.

Tips:

  • Don't put your baby into a tub when the water is still running. (The water temperature could change or the water could get too deep.)
  • Teach your baby not to stand in the tub.
  • Don't use bubble baths. They may be irritating to the urethra, which in turn might increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Fill the tub with only 2 to 4 inches of water for babies.
  • Don't allow your child to touch the faucet handles. Even if he can't move them now, he'll be strong enough to do so eventually – and that could lead to serious injury.