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The Last Parent’s Guide To Baby’s Bath You’ll Ever Need

Posted by Lauren Petrullo on
baby's bath time

Bath time can be a fun and bonding experience for parents and babies, but it can also be a little daunting! 

Warm water or hot water? Mild baby shampoo or baby soap? WTH is a sponge bath and is it really necessary? Whether you are about to give your newborn baby its first bath or you have a kiddie that hates water, we know these and many other questions are haunting you right now. 

When it comes to bathing your baby, there’s a lot of information and advice out there. It can be tough trying to figure out what the best way to wash your baby is, and as a new parent, you may feel overwhelmed. But relax! This easy-to-follow guide will have your baby squeaky clean in no time. 

So grab your rubber ducky and get ready to get wet!

Baby bath basics: FAQs

As a first-time parent, the thought of giving your baby a bath for the first time can be intimidating. Will they scream? What if I drop them? How do I protect the baby's head? How do I even hold them in the water without hurting them? 

Fear not! Here are the answers you need to become an expert in no bathtime *literally*

Why is it important to bathe newborn babies?

The obvious answer for a newborn bath is, of course, to keep the kiddo clean and free from the bacteria created thanks to peeing and pooping in diapers. However, what many parents don’t know is that this can be a bonding experience for them too.

A baby bath is a great time to relax and enjoy together. Your baby definitely can feel you care when you look at them, kiss their sweet belly, and count their small toes while washing them. That’s why your soft touch and tone make your child feel that they are loved. 

When should newborns get their first bath?

There are endless answers to this question. Before, many parents decided to do their baby’s bath after the first few weeks after being born because the baby's skin was still developing. 

However, many hospital systems have a policy change to bathe babies as soon as possible after birth thanks to new recommendations by the World Health Organization So, now it is recommended that during the first 24 hours after birth, babies need the first bath, instead of delaying baby’s bath

However, some parents like to wait until the umbilical cord stump falls off, which is totally valid! In this case, there are a few things you can do to keep your newborn clean in the meantime. You can use cotton wool soaked in water or saline to clean the baby's face and diaper area or you can also give your baby sponge baths.

How often should I bathe a newborn?

It is not necessary to wash your kiddo every day. In fact, bathing them too often can be drying and irritate the baby’s skin.  Newborns generally only need to be washed two to three times a week, but you can always check with your baby's doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Additionally, if your baby has been particularly dirty or sweaty, then they may need an extra bath here and there. Just use your best judgment!

Can my baby have a bath before the umbilical cord falls off?

You can’t dip your kiddie in a baby bathtub if they still have the umbilical cord because it can get infected. However, you can do a baby sponge bath to keep them clean during their first month of life or until the cord falls off. 

When is my kiddo prepared for a bathtub bath?

Once the cord has fallen off, you can start giving your baby regular baths. Of course, you can start earlier if you want to, but know that your baby's skin is very sensitive at this age, and too much bathing can actually be drying and irritate their skin

For the first few baths, just washing the baby's body and face with warm water and a wet washcloth is usually sufficient.

What's a good baby bath water temperature?

You want to have warm water, not hot. Test the temperature of the water with your hand before putting your kiddie inside the baby tub. The ideal water temperature is between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don't have a bath thermometer, here's an easy way to test the water temperature: Fill up the infant tub with cold water first, then add some hot water until it feels comfortable for you to put your hand in. Remember, your baby's skin is much thinner than yours so the water will feel hotter to them.

Once you've found the perfect temperature, it's time to start running the bath! 

Baby after bath

How to bathe a baby step by step

Now that we have answered most of the questions you may have, it is time to get your hands wet and soapy! 

Here’s everything you need to run the best baby bath ever, whether you go for a sponge bath or a regular one!

Baby sponge bath: The how’s

A baby sponge bath is a type of bath that uses a sponge to clean your baby's body. It is usually used when your baby is younger than six months old and cannot sit up on their own, or when the kiddie still has their cord. 

Sponge baths are quick and easy to do, and they can be done on any flat surface or sink. All you need is a soft sponge, some warm water, and a gentle cleanser.

How to do a baby sponge bath

  • Wet the sponge or soft washcloth, with materials like bamboo, with warm water
  • Apply cleanser to the sponge
  • Gently wash their face, avoiding the baby’s eyes, between their skin folds, and the baby’s genitals. 
  • Rinse the sponge well 
  • Gently lift your baby and dry them off with a towel

After you have finished the bath, you can put your baby in a clean diaper, dress them in clean clothes, and put them in their crib or bassinet.

How to give infant bath: The regular version

A regular baby’s bath is simply a tub of water that is shallow enough for your baby to sit in comfortably. You can use any type of tub, as long as it is clean and the baby can sit up safely without slipping. 

What you’ll need

Once you're ready to give your baby’s first bath, there are a few things you'll need before bath time:

  • A sink, tub, or baby bathtub with a safety strap. Some parents prefer to avoid a plastic tub for the BPA.
  • Soft dry towel to keep your baby warm after the bath
  • Mild baby soap 
  • A damp washcloth or soft sponge
  • A gentle stream of comfortably warm water

The bath step by step

Now that you know all the products you need, it’s time to learn how to give a newborn baby a bath. Bathing your baby is not only important for their health, but it can also be a bonding experience for the two of you. Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Pour warm water into the tub. Remember to put the tub in a warm room and test the water before putting your baby in. 
  • Take your baby’s clothes off and wrap them in a towel.
  • Lower them into the water and let them gently splash around for a few minutes, you can also add some bath toys for them to have fun with. Be careful not to get water in their face.
  • Use one hand to support the baby’s head and neck, and use the other hand to wash them with a baby-safe soap and a wet washcloth. Pay special attention to the diaper area!
  • Rinse them off with clean water and then wrap them back up in the towel.
  • Gently pat them dry and put them on a clean nappy, and clothes.

Additionally, if you see that your baby’s bowels are relaxed in warm water and don’t want have to wash a stinky bathtub, the best way you can avoid them is by putting your baby in a reusable swim diaper since they can hold poop. This way, you can wash your baby’s body first, change the diaper, and then wash their private parts

How to wash your baby’s hair

Washing a baby’s scalp can be a frightening experience for parents since they have to avoid the eyes and baby’s ears. However, there is no escape from it! Here is how you should do it: 

  • Gently lower your baby into the shallow bath and wet their hair with lukewarm water, always paying attention to the baby’s head and neck
  • Apply mild baby shampoo to the baby’s scalp and gently massage it. 
  • Rinse baby’s hair thoroughly

Repeat these steps until all the soap is gone. You can then gently pat dry the baby’s hair with a soft towel. 

If you want to avoid getting soap in their eyes, you can put a clean cloth or cotton wool over your baby’s forehead while you shampoo their hair during bath time. Alternatively, you can try using tear-free baby shampoo. 

How to clean baby bathtub

You may think that it is not necessary to clean the bathtub after bathing your baby, but there are actually a few good reasons to do so. First of all, baby's skin is very sensitive and can be easily irritated by soap residue or other contaminants that might be left behind in the tub. Secondly, if you don't clean the tub regularly, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

So, how often should you clean the baby's bathtub? Ideally, you should give it a thorough cleaning at least once a week. If you bathe your baby every day, you may need to clean it more frequently. Here are some tips for keeping your baby's bathtub clean:

  • Use a mild, unscented soap to clean the tub.
  • Rinse the tub thoroughly after each use.
  • Wipe down the tub with a clean, dry cloth after each use.
  • If you notice any mold or mildew, be sure to clean it immediately.

5 extra tips on how to give a newborn a bath

The internet is full of advice on how to bathe a baby. But as a parent, you know that every baby is different. So how do you figure out what works best for your little one?

Here are some tips to bear in mind when bathing your baby:

  • The type of tub you use can make a difference. If you have a sink insert, your baby may feel more comfortable being closer to you. Or if you have a small bathtub, it may be easier to keep them contained. Just make sure the tub is clean and free of any sharp edges.
  • The water temperature is important. You want it to be warm, but not too hot. Test the water with your elbow or wrist before putting the baby in.
  • Don't forget to wash the baby's face and hair. A soft cloth or baby shampoo is all you need.
  • Make sure you have all the supplies you need within reach so you don't have to leave the baby unattended or alone in the bath. This includes a towel, soap, a warm washcloth, and any other items you may need. Also, try to have the changing table nearby to preserve your kiddie's body heat. 

What comes next?

By following these tips and recommendations, baby’s first bath and the many more to come will be a breeze - for both of you!

Now you just need to relax and enjoy the bonding time! Bath time can be a special time for you and your baby to relax and bond together. So take a deep breath and enjoy it.

We hope this blog has answered all your questions and decreased all your worries. But, if you still feel nervous or have some doubts, feel free to reach out in the comments below! 

Feel free to visit Beau and Belle Littles blog section to keep yourself up to date with other interesting topics about the little buns!

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