Advice Column, Baby, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

Caring for your baby: A baby bath

  • The Baby Academy
  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

My hubby Steve used to take the lead on the baby baths… I was breastfeeding, so it was an excellent little opportunity for him to have a little 1:1 time with the guys when they were small. Initially, it was, of course, a bit’ fingers and thumbsy’ for him as newborn babies can seem so small and delicate; however, about 2 or 3 baths in, he was a pro. 

Parents-to-be generally have so many questions about bathing a newborn baby e.g.: How often? What temperature? Should I use a product in the bath?Let me talk you through a simple step by step… and we will do the full demo as always in our Free Baby Care Workshop, which you can book here.

Step 1Grab everything you need: Have everything you need ready to rock before you even think about picking up your baby. You will need a baby bath (or the good old fashioned sink while baby is still small enough), 2 x soft towels, a handful of cotton wool pads, a sponge or cloth, 1 x fresh outfit (a vest and a Babygro +/- a cardigan depending on the weather), 2 x fresh nappies (always good to have a spare) and you are good to go.

Step 2 Filling up the bath: If you are bathing the baby yourself, I would suggest you use the sink or fill the bath slowly, filling and re-filling a jug of water… as we don’t want new Moms lifting anything too heavy (like a bath full of water) for the first six weeks. Correct water temperature is 37’C…. The baby has been soaking in a bath of body temperature amniotic fluid for the past nine months, so 37’C is ideal and very familiar for your baby!!

Step 3 Face and Hair: We bathe babies in sections for a couple of reasons, firstly it’s easier for the person washing the baby and secondly, we feel they won’t lose as much heat. How do we do this? We undress baby, leaving just the nappy on, and we wrap baby up in a lovely soft towel… almost like a swaddle. We lift baby up, supporting the nape of his neck with one hand, and his body (which is wrapped up in the towel) is tucked between the elbow of the same hand and your hip… see picture. We then use plain water from the bath and a cloth or a cotton wool pad to wash baby’s face and then hair. We try to avoid any shampoo/product for the first 4-6 weeks to give your baby’s delicate skin a chance to adjust.

Step 4 Baby’s Body: Once baby’s hair has been towel-dried, we take baby out of the towel, taking off the nappy and slowly lower baby’s body into the bath (holding baby securely-see pic). Babies don’t like surprises, so be mindful of this being slow and gentle and chatting to baby all the time. Use a sponge or cloth to wash baby down, and then leaning baby forward, you could do the back and bum. Dry baby well using a soft towel, then remove baby from the damp towel you just dried him with, wrap him in a nice dry towel and give him a big snuggle to let him know we are all done.And that’s it… all done. Generally, we spend more time prepping and cleaning up after the bath than the actual bath itself. And we recommend in the early days to just bath them once a week. 

You are welcome to sign up for our FREE Baby Care Workshop, where you will see our Expert Midwife bathe a baby, plus talk through a whole host of informative topics about caring for baby. Click here to book your free place. 

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