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How to Bathe a Baby Safely

Baby's First Bath Time: How to Bathe a Baby Safely

posted in Nursery Shopping Guides by Baby & Co on April 8th 2019 9:47 AM

There are around 679,106 live births in England and Wales each year. Will your baby be one of this group this year?

One of the scariest tasks as a new parent is how to bathe a newborn baby. But not to worry. It is not as hard as you think.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to learn how to bathe a baby. 
 

Baby Bath Procedure

Learning how to bathe a newborn is largely about preparation. Start by having all your supplies at hand.

You will need a baby bathtub, a soft washcloth, gentle baby soap/shampoo, a hooded towel, clean diaper, and clean clothes.

A baby head brush is also a great way to gently clean baby's delicate scalp.
 

Choose the Right Temperature

Once have all your materials ready, fill the baby tub with warm water. It should never be cold or hot.

The best way to make the water the ideal temperature is to first add cold water. Next, add in hot water. 

You can use a baby bath thermometer to make sure the water is just right. Aim for around 37-28 degrees C. If you don't have a thermometer, pop your elbow in the water and feel for comfortably warm.

Swirl the water to make sure there are no cold or hot spots. 
 

How Deep Should the Water Be?

You will likely use the baby bathtub from newborn until six months old. Fill the tub so that your baby's shoulders are covered. The water should reach no higher than the baby's neck.

There are also bathtub dividers you can buy so that you can use your regular bathtub. This way you don't have to fill the entire tub and waste water.

Make sure you use an anti-slip bathmat under your baby in the big tub to avoid them slipping under the water.  
 

How to Safely Place Baby in the Bath

Once your tub is the right temperature and depth, you can undress baby and lower him or her into the tub. 

Cup your baby securely under his or her bottom with one hand. Use the other hand to support the baby's neck and back.

Lower baby gently into the warm bath. Be prepared for baby to flail a bit as he gets used to the sensation of water.

If your baby bath has back support, you can remove that hand. Otherwise, keep that hand in place at all times and use the other hand to wash the baby with a washcloth.
 

How to Wash Baby

Now that your baby is in the tub, it's time to get her clean. Use a gentle baby washcloth. These cloths have no hard seams that could irritate baby's skin.

Squirt a bit of baby body wash onto the wet cloth. Then start with the baby's arms and legs, then chest and back. Use the other side of the cloth for the baby's face.

Finally, wash your baby's bottom and genitals. Always work from cleanest to dirtiest areas on your baby's body.

Use your hand or a small cup to continually pour warm water on your baby's exposed limbs to keep him warm. 

If your baby has sensitive skin or eczema, avoid soaps with fragrance and use an emollient instead.
 

How Often Should I Wash My Baby's Hair?

You don't need to wash your little one's hair every day. Baby hair is very fine and produces very little oil, Typically, washing hair once or twice a week is fine.

Babies sometimes develop cradle cap during their first few months. Cradle cap is red splotches with greasy scaly patches on the scalp.

If your baby has cradle cap, you should wash his or her hair more frequently. Use a baby scalp brush to gently exfoliate the cradle cap off the skin.

You can also purchase cradle cap shampoo. 
 

Best Time to Bathe Baby

Bathtime can become a calming transition to bedtime for your little one. It's best to bathe baby at the same time each day to help him or her get used to the routine.

This can help baby sleep better through the night. Avoid bathing your baby when he or she is hungry or overtired. You want to make bathtime a positive experience.

And your baby may not need a bath every single day. 
 

Keep Baby Warm

Babies like water. It is familiar to them from when they spent months in the womb. 

But they don't like to be cold. If your baby cries during bathtime, see what you can adjust to make sure your newborn is warm.

You may need to make the bath deeper or warmer. Or you may need to wash his hair separately so that his head is not wet and cold during bath.

Some people wash the baby's hair while the baby is swaddled in a blanket under the kitchen faucet. This is a good way to keep baby warm. Just make sure to support your baby's body with one arm and use the other to clean the hair.

Baths for newborns shouldn't last very long. The water gets cool quickly and then the baby will start to fuss. It's also tiring work for your tiny one.
 

Dry Your Baby

Once the bath is over, reach for the towel and sling it over your chest and use both hands to pick up baby.

Wrap baby in the towel immediately. Bring baby to her change table and put on a clean nappy.

Use a corner of the towel to dry the baby's hair and head if it wet.

If your baby isn't fussing, now could be a good time to do a gentle baby massage. This can help the baby get relaxed and ready for sleep.

Then dress the baby in fresh clothes.
 

Final Thoughts on How to Bathe a Baby

Thanks for reading! Now you know how to bathe a baby. 

Remember, never leave your child unattended in the bath. Not even for a quick second to grab a towel. It's important to lay out your supplies before you start.

Next, read our parent's guide to buying nursery furniture.

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