For many parents, bathing your newborn is another exciting 'first' to add to the ever-growing list. Sometimes it can feel a little scary holding a slippery, helpless person in a container of water, but the experience - and your own confidence - definitely improves with practice! While your midwife should give you some basic bath tips to get you started, sometimes it's handy to have a quick refresher before you get your hands wet. Here are some bath-time basics so you can enjoy this part of your journey as a new parent.

When is it ok to start bathing my newborn in a tub?

You can bathe your newborn however and whenever you want to. Current recommendations often say to leave it as long as possible after birth to give your little one their first bath - this is because the remnants of vernix is excellent for their skin, and it allows time for their skin microbiome to establish. When you're ready to give them their first bath, you can bathe them in a way and place that is convenient and comfortable for you. Some mothers choose to switch between bathing their new baby in a baby bath and wiping them over with a warm washer in between to freshen up.

Handy hint: before you strip your little one down to their nappy, make sure everything you need is within arm's reach.

How often should I bathe my newborn?

Not often to begin with. A newborn’s skin is very sensitive and can easily become dry. Limit sponge baths and tub baths to 2-3 times a week and only increase that frequency as they get older and your baby’s skin matures.

Where should I bathe my newborn?

When choosing a spot in the house for bathing your newborn, you will need to make a few considerations. Is there enough space? Is the area easy to clean? Does it matter if the area gets a bit wet? Is the room warm enough for my baby?

While you can certainly bathe a baby in a sink or in the bathroom, some parents prefer to use a portable basin or specialised baby bath stand. These are ideal for picking the best location in the house.

For sponge baths, baby bath mats can be used on any surface and can double up for use to layer a tub when you make the switch.

What time of day should I bathe my newborn?

In the end, when to bathe your newborn is entirely up to you. Some babies are relaxed by baths and can benefit from one before bed, while others can be resistant and get worked up. If it’s the case of the latter, you might consider bathing your newborn earlier in the day.


  • Before bathing, remove any watches or jewellery before washing your hands
  • Always support your newborn in the water – which is as much about trust and comfort as it is about safety
  • Pat your baby dry rather than wiping them down
  • Be mindful that a newborn’s skin dries out easily. You might like to use lotions and oils to protect their skin after bathing
  • Never leave your baby alone in water, not even for an instant. If you forgot something you need, take your baby with you

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