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How To Bathe A Newborn Baby


Learning how to bathe a newborn baby has got to be one of the scariest things you can do (second to cutting their nails) especially if you are a new mommy and have never done it before.

I remember the first time I had to bathe my newborn baby.  All I could see was this tiny little person with these tiny little arms and legs.

How on earth was I expected to bathe someone so small?

What if I break him?

Sounds laughable now, but at the time I was really worried in case I hurt him.

Needless to say but I had to educate myself on how to bathe a newborn baby before I could attempt it.

I was not very confident at all.


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Here are some great tips that I have learned about how to bathe a newborn:



There are two things that you need to know before you can begin.

1. You cannot break your baby (unless of course, you use unnecessary excessive force).

2. Babies do not need to bathe every day.


How to bathe a newborn baby


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Contrary to what most people think you do not need to be in a rush to bathe your newborn baby when they are firstborn.

They are not riddled with germs after having crossed over to the other side.

In fact, they are probably cleaner than you.

The white stuff that shows up on a baby when they are born is called vernix caseosa.

This substance is amazing for keeping your baby’s body moisturized.

As such, whilst your baby has this covering rubbed into their skin they will not need to be bathed or creamed as their skin will remain soft and supple.

You must also remember that your baby has just had their umbilical cord clamped and this must remain dry until it falls off.

You do not want to get the umbilical cord wet so it has the best chances of healing as quickly and as easily as possible.


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How to bathe your newborn baby


In order to give your baby their first bath at home you will need to have a few things to hand:


In the first few weeks, you won’t want to bathe your baby very much at all.  In fact, a simple top and tail bath will suffice.

A top and tail bath is where you use a top and tail bowl to bathe the baby’s face and neck on one side and the baby’s lower half with the other side of the bowl.



On average it takes about a week for the umbilical cord to drop off but in some cases, it can take up to 3 weeks depending on how you have looked after it.

Once the umbilical cord has dropped off your baby is then ready to have their first all splashing full-on body bath.

Just remember some babies will love being in the water and some will scream with all they’ve got.

There is no way to tell how your baby will react until you put them in.

You can start by purchasing a plastic baby bathtub.

If you have the storage space for one of these then that’s great.

If however you are limited on storage space then you could try one of the fold away tubs.

There are lots of options on the market.

I have used the fold away myself and found it to be really handy when I was limited on storage space.

I have also tried the chair in the bath type which was really handy when I had 3 little ones to bathe.

Some people even opt for bathing baby in the sink.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about that lol.

Having the chair in the bath meant that I could bath all 3 children at the same time and most importantly quickly.


Bath a newborn baby



You will need to find a nice warm spot for your baby to take their bath and this might not necessarily be the bathroom for you.

Our warmest and easiest place to bathe the baby was in my bedroom.

It was just much easier as I could have everything that I needed to hand quite easily.

Your baby’s bath water temperature will need to be around 37-38 degrees, which would be around body temperature.

You can get lots of fancy bath temperature gadgets in the shape of toys or more practical types to help you set the water temperature.

However, if you prefer to be more old school then you can try using your elbow to gauge the temperature.

The elbow area works great as a tester because it is one of the more sensitive areas of the body.


How to bathe a newborn baby


Once your water is set up and you have all your supplies to hand you can begin to bathe your baby.

Your baby is a newborn so you have to remember that they won’t have much control over their bodies yet.

As such you will need to make sure that you are fully supporting your baby’s body using just one hand as you will need the other to bathe them.

The one hand that you are using to support them will need to be placed under their back to support the head and neck.


Bathing a newborn baby


Gently lower your baby into the bathwater and start by washing your baby’s face with a flannel.

Make sure you only use plain water at this stage in case you get soap into your baby’s eyes.

Once you have finished with the face you can then wash the rest of your baby’s body.

Personally, I very rarely use soap as I feel that newborns are too young.    

If you really want to use soap I would suggest something like aveeno fragrance free baby soap.

I would definitely use fragrance-free so as not to upset your baby’s skin.


Make sure to wash your baby’s neck thoroughly and any creases in the arms or legs.

These are the areas where rashes are likely to develop because they are not very well ventilated. 

You can also gently wash your baby’s hair with plain water especially if they have cradle cap.

When you have finished bathing your baby, be sure to take them out safely and place them straight into a towel to dry off.

You won’t need to rub their skin harshly with the towel, simply patting them dry is sufficient.


After you have dried your baby, it’s a good idea to cream them with something light.

I always tend to use coconut oil as its light, natural and the smell is not too overpowering for baby.

Remember a baby’s bath time should not take huge amounts of time.

I would say 5-10 minutes in the water is plenty for a newborn.

Never leave your baby unattended, not even for a split second as it is extremely dangerous.

I have heard way too many horror stories concerning this.  Let it not be your story too.

I hope you’ve picked up some great tips on how to bathe your newborn baby.

If you have any more tips or tricks, I would love to hear about them in the comment section below.


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How to bathe a newborn baby