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How to Give a Newborn a Bath: The Ultimate Guide

Are you a new parent? If so, you may wonder how to give your newborn a bath, especially if it’s your baby’s first bath. It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not as hard as it seems! All it takes is patience and practice. 

This article will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to give a newborn a bath. We’ll also provide some tips and tricks to make the process easier for you and your little one.

Your baby’s first bath should be calming and stress-free. So without further ado, let’s get started!

When Can I Start Giving A Newborn A Bath?

You can start giving your newborn a bath 24-48 hours after birth. Your baby’s first bath might be a bit hard for you. Just make sure to focus on your newborn baby. 

A newborn baby might not be too squirmy, but you still need to make sure your baby is secure, especially when your baby is in the baby tub. It’s always important to remember that you should always consult with your child’s pediatrician before bathing them for the first time. 

This is because some newborns may have certain medical conditions that require special care when bathing.

For example, premature babies or those with a skin condition called eczema may need to wait a bit longer before taking their first bath. Therefore, you should always ask your pediatrician for guidance. 

Warm water is always recommended for baby baths. Use a baby tub that is durable and safe, too. Choose one that has a safety strap so that you can use the baby tub confidently.

baby with bath toys

It’s generally recommended that a baby bath should be given two to three times per week. However, this may vary depending on your child’s individual needs. 

For example, if your baby has dry skin, you may want to increase the frequency of their baths.

Warm baths are very soothing for newborns. It helps them feel refreshed and relaxed, plus it can help to ease any discomfort they may be feeling.

It’s important to make sure the water is not too hot, however. The ideal temperature is around 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will also need to gather a few supplies before giving your newborn a bath. These include:

  • an infant tub or baby bath tub
  • jug of warm water
  • cool boiled water
  • cotton wool balls
  • bin or plastic bag for soiled cotton balls
  • face cloth 
  • towel
  • bath soap and tear-free baby shampoo
  • baby clothes
  • diaper
  • flat surface or table
  • baby wrap (but only if necessary)

Now, let us go over the step-by-step process of bathing your baby.

How To Give A Newborn A Bath The Right Way

giving baby a bath

When bathing a newborn, parents need to be very careful and gentle because their skin is still developing and very sensitive. 

Plus, parents need to note that it’s best to bathe a baby before feeding. This is because bathing a baby when it’s full might cause them to vomit.

Below are the steps you need to take when bathing your baby:

  1. Wash your hands first before bathing your baby. This way, you can avoid transferring any bacteria to your little one.
  2. Prepare all the things you need to bathe your baby. This way, you won’t have to leave your baby unattended in the bathtub. Never leave your baby unattended even for just a few seconds, as they can drown quickly. You can always ask for help from your partner or another family member if you need to.
  3. Fill the bathtub with cold water first and then warm water up to 1/3 of the tub. This way, the water won’t be too hot or too cold for your baby. Make sure to mix well. Ensure that the water is comfortably warm and the water temperature is just right. If the water temperature is uncomfortable for your baby, bath time might be a disaster!
  4. Squeeze two drops of baby soap into the water and mix well. Make sure that the baby soap you are using is gentle and hypoallergenic.
  5. Place your baby onto a bath towel on a table or flat surface and remove your baby’s clothes gently. Make sure to talk to your baby while doing this so that your voice will soothe them.
  6. Do not remove your baby’s diapers. Leave them on because changing them will happen later.
  7. Wrap your baby with a towel and ensure that your baby’s hands and feet are wrapped securely inside the towel.

Cleaning Baby’s Eyes

  1. Dip a cotton ball into boiled water that has cooled already. It’s important to use boiled water because it’s sterile.
  2. Squeeze the cotton ball to get rid of excess water.
  3. Clean your baby’s eyes by wiping from the inner corner of the eyes to the outer corners. Use different cotton balls for each eye and clean in one stroke only. Do not use the same piece to clean back and forth.

Take note if any sticky or yellowish discharge comes out from your baby’s eyes. Go to a doctor if the discharge persists.

cleaning baby's eyes

Cleaning Baby’s Face

  1. Use cool boiled water again.
  2. You can use cotton balls or a wet washcloth to clean your baby’s face.
  3. Dip the cotton balls or face cloth in the cool boiled water and squeeze to remove excess water.
  4. Clean your baby’s face from the center of the forehead outwards. Make sure to clean the nose, the cheeks, and the mouth area. This way, you can guarantee that your baby’s face will be clean and fresh.

Washing Baby’s Hair

  1. Pick your baby up using a football hold (palm of the hand supporting baby’s head and neck, tucking baby with your arm and the side of your body).
  2. Tilt your baby’s head over the bath basin and wash his hair gently. Make sure not to get water in his eyes and ears.
  3. You can use a baby shampoo to wash your baby’s hair. Make sure that the shampoo is gentle, hypoallergenic, and tear-free.
  4. Use your other hand to pour water over your baby’s head and rinse off the shampoo thoroughly.
  5. Dry your baby’s hair gently with the corner of the towel wrap.
  6. Place baby on the table to unwrap him and change his diapers.
  7. Place baby into the tub of water for his bath.
washing baby's hair

Washing Baby’s Body

  1. Put your left hand under your baby’s shoulder to support it and hook fingers under your baby’s left armpit to have a good grasp.
  2. Slide your right hand under your baby’s buttocks, grip your baby’s thigh, and lift your baby into the baby bath tub.
  3. Allow your baby to sit in the bathtub with your left hand still supporting your baby’s shoulders. Always make sure to keep your baby’s head above water level.
  4. Release your right hand’s grip so you can use your right hand to clean your baby’s private area and front body parts. You can use a wet washcloth to clean your baby’s body and private area.
  5. Once done, use your right hand to hold your baby under the left armpit and let him lean forward so you can use your left hand to clean your baby’s back and buttocks.
  6. Talk and sing to your baby during bath time to make it enjoyable.
  7. Once done, lift baby out of the water in the same way you brought him in. Do this gently because your baby is still very wet.
  8. Put your baby on a towel on the changing table and pat him dry. Make sure to clean in between skin folds (behind the ears, the neck, the armpits, in between the fingers and toes).
  9. Before dressing your baby, clean the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord will drop off in about 5 to 7 days. If there is a foul smell or if it’s bleeding, consult a doctor immediately.

Cleaning the Umbilical Cord

  1. Wash your hands before cleaning the umbilical cord. This way, you can prevent the spread of infection.
  2. Dip a cotton ball in sterile water and squeeze to remove excess water. You can also use a soft washcloth if you want. Lukewarm water is best to gently wash or clean the umbilical cord. 
  3. Gently clean the base of the umbilical cord using a clockwise motion. Do not use alcohol or any other cleansing solution on the umbilical cord as this may irritate your baby’s skin.
  4. Let the area air dry or pat it dry using a clean and soft towel.
  5. Get a new cotton ball and clean the umbilical cord itself from the base upwards.
  6. Clean the cord clamp and the umbilical cord’s tip with a new cotton ball.

Time to dress your baby! Don’t forget to feed your baby after!

bathing newborn

The umbilical cord stump falls off after five or six days. Therefore, you won’t have to keep doing this process for a long time.

These steps are just a guide on how you can give your newborn a bath. Always remember to be gentle and careful when handling your baby. 

Sponge baths are also recommended during bath time. Sponge baths are easier for most parents, especially when no one can help them. 

Bathtub deaths involve children under the age of six months, which means that baby bath basics must be mastered by parents.

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pediatrician if you have any concerns. With practice and a lot of patience, you’ll get the hang of it in no time!

Common Mistakes Parents Make When Bathing Their Babies

No parent is perfect. Mistakes are bound to happen, especially when you’re still learning the ropes of parenthood. Here are some mistakes that parents make when bathing their babies:

Not Testing the Temperature of the Water First

One of the most common mistakes parents make is not testing the temperature of the water first. The water should be warm but not hot. You can test the temperature of the water by dipping your elbow in it.

If the water is too hot, it can scald your baby’s skin. On the other hand, if the water is too cold, your baby may catch a cold.

Not Supporting Your Baby’s Head and Neck Properly

Another mistake parents make is not properly supporting their baby’s head and neck. Always support your baby’s head and neck, especially when lifting them in and out of the bathtub.

washing baby's head

Not Drying Your Baby Properly

After bathing your baby, make sure to dry him properly. This includes drying in between skin folds (behind the ears, the neck, the armpits, in between the fingers and toes).

If you don’t dry your baby properly, they may develop rashes.

Not Cleaning the Umbilical Cord Properly

Cleaning the umbilical cord is very important to prevent infection. Make sure to clean the base of the umbilical cord using a clockwise motion. 

Do not use alcohol or any other cleansing solution on the umbilical cord as this may irritate your baby’s skin.

Leaving Baby Unattended

One very grave mistake that parents make is leaving their baby unattended, even for just a few seconds. Bath time can be very dangerous for babies since they can easily slip and drown in just a few inches of water. Therefore, parents must always leave their baby supervised, even for just a short while.

washing baby's body

Not Preparing Things Before Bathing Baby

Not having everything you need within reach is a mistake that can cause a lot of hassle, especially when you’re dealing with a squirmy baby. Before running the bathwater, gather all the things you need, such as soap, a towel, and clean clothes. This way, you won’t have to leave your baby unattended to get something you need.

Not Asking For Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if it’s your first time bathing your baby. Ask your partner, a family member, or a friend to help you out. They can hold the baby while you’re running the bathwater or hand you things you need. Having someone else around can also help calm your nerves.

While these mistakes are best avoided, parents must also remember that they are just human. So, if you do make a mistake while bathing your baby, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Just learn from it and try to do better next time. With a little patience and practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time!

What Are the Benefits of Warm Baths for Babies?

Warm baths have several benefits for babies. Aside from making sure that babies smell their best all the time, there are other benefits worth knowing about. Let us explore them below:

Improved Sleep

Warm baths can help babies sleep better at night. The increase in body temperature that happens during a warm bath simulates the natural drop in body temperature that happens when we sleep. This, in turn, cues the brain to produce melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for making us feel sleepy.

Reduced Crankiness

Babies tend to be cranky when they’re overtired or uncomfortable. A warm bath can help soothe and relax babies, which can help reduce their crankiness.

Relief from Congestion

Warm baths can also help relieve congestion in babies. The steam from the bath helps thin out mucus, making it easier for babies to breathe.

warm baby bath

Soothing Aching Muscles

Warm baths can also help soothe aching muscles in babies. This is especially beneficial for babies who are teething as the warm water can help ease the pain and discomfort associated with it.

Now that you know how to give a newborn a bath and the benefits of doing so, it’s time to put things into practice! Just remember to be patient, take your time, and never leave your baby unattended. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time!


Giving a newborn a bath may seem very intimidating for parents. However, all it really takes is a little patience and practice to know how to give a newborn a bath. 

Just remember to never leave your baby unattended, even for just a few seconds. With a little time and effort, you’ll be able to master the art of giving your newborn a bath in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

When should a newborn have his first bath?

A newborn's first bath can be given 24-48 hours after birth. However, it's important to remember that it's best to wait until the umbilical cord has fallen off before giving your baby a bath.

How often should a newborn be bathed?

A newborn should be bathed two to three times a week. However, this may vary depending on your baby's needs. If your baby is dirty or sweaty, then he may need to be bathed more often.

What is the best way to bathe a newborn?

The best way to bathe a newborn is by using a baby bathtub. You can also use a sink, but make sure that you have someone else around to help you. It's also important to make sure that the water isn't too hot and that you have all the things you need within reach.

What are some of the benefits of giving a newborn a bath?

Some of the benefits of giving a newborn a bath include improved sleep, reduced crankiness, relief from congestion, and soothing aching muscles. Warm baths have also been shown to help babies bond with their parents.

How long should a newborn's bath be?

A newborn's bath should only last for about five to ten minutes. Any longer than that, and your baby may start to get cold.

What should I use to wash my newborn's hair?

You can use a mild baby shampoo to wash your newborn's hair. You don't need to use a lot, just enough to wet the hair and scalp. Gently massage the shampoo into your baby's hair and rinse well.

What should I use to wash my newborn's body?

You can use a mild baby soap or cleanser to wash your newborn's body. Gently massage the soap into your baby's skin and rinse well. You can also use a soft cloth or sponge to help remove any dirt or dried milk from your baby's skin.

What are some of the things I need to bathe a newborn?

Some of the things you'll need to bathe a newborn include a baby bathtub, mild baby soap or cleanser, a soft cloth or sponge, and a towel. You may also want to have a mild baby shampoo on hand to wash your newborn's hair.

How can I make my newborn's bath more comfortable?

To make your newborn's bath more comfortable, you can add a few drops of lavender oil to the water. This will help relax your baby and make the experience more enjoyable. You can also talk to your newborn during baths to soothe your baby.

What should I do if my newborn cries during their bath?

If your newborn cries during their bath, it's important to remain calm. Try to soothe your baby by talking softly and gently patting their back. If the crying persists, you may need to end the bath early.

When should I start using a bath seat?

You can start using a bath seat when your baby is around six months old. This will help to keep your baby safe and secure while you're bathing them.

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