Bathing your newborn

Published by Baby Bunting on Monday, January 28, 2019

For many parents, bathing your newborn can be another first in a recent history of them. But what can be an initial moment of trepidation can become a regular ritual of trust and bonding between adult and baby

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

Not straight away. When you are bringing a baby home, it is safe to tub bathe them once any of their remaining umbilical cord has fallen away. Prior to this, you will be wanting to give them gentle sponge baths. Some mothers choose to switch between the two as they wean their newborn onto tub baths.

Just remember: it is important to have everything you need for a bath ready and within arm’s reach before you start. You should be free from distraction with your phone (still close by) switched to a ‘do not disturb’ setting.

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.

Tips

  • 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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