Tips for Baby’s First Bath

By Tracie Newman, MD Nov 15, 2016

Babies are not little adults and often do not need baths every day, as long as you are wiping the dirty parts regularly. Bathing your newborn baby every two to three days is more than enough.

Remember, babies are underwater while in the womb, so their skin often appears very dry and will peel the first few weeks of life. Applying lotions during this time will interrupt the body’s natural oil cycle. It is usually unnecessary to use lotion until after age 1 month.

Your baby’s skin can be sensitive. Try to avoid rubbing with a washcloth or towel. Mild, hypoallergenic, fragrance free soaps and lotions are recommended.

Ready to bathe

Set yourself up for success! Try to ensure beforehand all of your supplies are at arms reach. A nice tip is to support baby with your non-dominant hand, so your dominant hand can do all the work.

Always keep one hand on your baby. If interrupted during bath time, never leave your baby unattended. Take baby with you!

Sponge baths or wipe downs from head to toe (diaper area last) are safest until the belly bump stump falls off and heals. Many parents like to begin bathing in sinks or plastic baby tubs that are placed in the bathtub. Bath seats are not recommended and can be unsafe, due to the risk of tipping over.

Once you are submerging baby, remember to test the water temperature with your wrist. It is recommended your water heater be set to less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure you clean all those adorable folds and creases, paying close attention to the neck, underarms, and thigh folds. Always cleanse front to back in little girls.

Newborn babies may cry with their first baths. Try to make it short, sweet and positive! Allow your baby to play, splash and have fun.

Hooded towels are a nice way to ensure warmth after a bath. Pat dry and dress your newly clean baby as quickly as possible.

When rub-a-dub-bub is done

After bath can be a nice time to trim your babies nails. This can be a daunting task as a new parent. Emery boards, small nail clippers or blunt toenail scissors can all be used. Be careful not to clip the tip of the finger. It is encouraged to keep nails as smooth and short as possible to prevent baby from scratching

Congratulations! You have successfully bathed your baby. Now go enjoy some tummy time or other fun.