Baby's First Bath


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Baby’s first bath is really tricky especially for new mothers. The very first baby’s bath occurs in the hospital few hours after the baby is born. Some babies really cry while others are calm. Irrespective of the fear the mother has, a bath for the baby is necessary to help them relax, feel fresh and have a good sleep. The good news is that a newborn baby does not need a bath daily. The new mothers need to learn a few things about bathing newborns. This entails how to prepare them for bath, water temperature, how to ensure your baby’s safety during bath time, what to use during different times of growth stages- before and after umbilical cords falls off and how to ensure your baby enjoys the bath too.

Baby's First Bath

This article will give you some tips on how long to delay baby’s first bath, how to go about bathing a newborn baby without risking the baby’s safety, comfort and enjoyment of the bath.

How often should you bath a newborn?

Your newborn does not actually need a daily bath. Baby’s first sponge bath should be what nurses should use to teach the new mothers on how they will be cleaning their newborn. The newborn baby skin is very sensitive and hashow often should you bath your baby

not yet developed strong barriers to help it maintain moisture. This means that it gets dry faster than that of an adult. This is because the bathing water washes away the natural hydrating oils on the baby’s skin. Thus, parents are advised to sponge bathe a newborn twice or thrice a week to avoid inviting dry skin, potential rashes and skin irritation. Doctors also advice you make the bathing time short- 10 minutes maximum. It is also good to keep in mind that you should not immerse the baby fully into the water. This kind of bath should be the first baby’s bath after the umbilical cord falls off. if you want to know more about How Often Should I Bathe My Baby then please Click Here.

Baby’s first bath at home

Any mother will agree that the first baby’s bath at home is marked as a milestone. Cleaning a slippery, tiny and sometimes screaming newborn takes practice as well as patience and confidence. Parents are excited that they take the first bath at home video for showing or watching in the future once they are good at it. The sponge bath is necessary between 10 days and 3 weeks to avoid wetting the cord stump. Sponge bathing is in simple terms how to bath a newborn with umbilical cord. It is done by laying the baby laying on the bed or a flat surface on a clean towel. Have a basin with warm water, sponge/washcloth. Wrap the baby warmly the whole body and only expose the part you are bathing at a time. Pat the area dry. In case you accidentally wet the cord stamp, gently pat dry with the towel.

Baby’s first bath in hospital/clinic

The first baby’s bath happens in the hospital or clinic shortly after bath. Some hospitals wait for 3 hours while others wait up to 12 hours. Research has shown there is a great need in delaying baby’s first bath including better breastfeeding for the baby. A good wipe immediately after bath can serve the purpose for the hours before bath thus giving mother and baby time to bond. The baby is not born dirty. This baby’s first bath in hospital is very necessary. It allows the nurse to do thorough physical examination on the baby and incase of any physical issue the nurse can detect it and notify the doctors. It is not a rough or intense bath, with its main aim being to cleanse the blood and amniotic fluids.

Baby bath water temperature

The baby’s skin is sensitive than that of a grown baby or adult. That means water that is cold to an adult might be so hot for the baby. The baby’s first bath water temperature and all the baths that follow should feel not too cold nor hold-should feel warm. This can be confirmed before putting the baby anywhere close to the water. Use your elbow or back of the wrist. This is because this are the most sensitive part to heat on your hands. Keep the room temperatures warm and bath water temperatures comfortable. Due to unfamiliar sensation, the baby might cry during bath but with time they adapt

Newborn hair and scalp care

For those with baby’s full of hair on the head at birth, hair and scalp care is of utmost importance. When bathing the baby, wash the hair last to make sure they do not seat on the shampoo/soapy water used. Simply apply some shampoo in the hair, gently massage it in and let it sit for a short period of time. Finally rinse it out with clean warm water. Make sure to use gentle baby shampoo to avoid any reactions. Dry the hair properly using a dry towel or rub with your hand softly till its dry. You can also comb or brush it softly to dry and for breathing purposes. Once in a while it is good to leave the head uncovered especially when sunbathing. This helps the hair and scalp to breath. Avoid applying some hair oil especially if your baby is sensitive to oils. Otherwise you can slightly massage some olive oil or any other natural oils to give the hair a shiny look and an appealing scent.

Bathing baby in a bath tub

This is the first baby’s bath after the umbilical cord falls off where the baby is fully immersed in water. As soon as the cord stamp falls off, your baby is ready for this big bath. Whether a sink or bathtub, pad the bottom with a towel to make it softer on the baby’s body. You might little a little helping hand in holding the slippery little one. Assemble all the necessities before starting the bath e.g. cotton balls, hooded towel, soft washcloth/sponge, baby soaps and bath wash and a brush or comb. The water needs to be 2 inches to give the baby a comfy bath. Support the head and back as you clean him/her. Hold the baby gently and firmly as you clean loose skin accumulates. Concentrate more on diaper area, hands and feet, folds on neck, thighs and back of knees, armpits, face-around the eyes and behind the ears.

How to keep baby safe in a bath tub

Bath time is fun but should be caution time as well. Here are some guidelines on how to ensure no accidents occur during baby bath time.
  • Never leave the baby in the tub unsupervised even for a minute. Babies can drown in water levels of below 1 inch. So gather all the bath necessities before bath time and keep them close.
  • Ensure the bathroom is warm enough (approximately 25⁰ C). This is because babies get chilled very fast.
  • Outfit your bathtub with rubber or towel to reduce slipperiness.
  • Use plain bathing water as long as diaper area and any folds are well cleaned. This is because shampoos and soaps can dry baby’s skin and cause rashes.
  • Fill the tub up to 2 to 4 inches with water-not more than waist-high while they are seated to avoid drowning.
  • Keep right water temperatures for a comfortable bath.
  • Keep any electrical appliances like hair dryers away from the tub.
  • Avoid bubble baths, they can irritate the urethra and raise the risk of urinary tract infections.


How to bathe your baby

The baby bath procedure step by step is explained below.

#01.Get everything ready in advance

To avoid leaving the baby in the sink/tub, ensure all supplies are within reach before you put him/her in the tub. This include tub, cup, toys, gentle baby bathing soap, cotton balls, wash cloth.
Lay out all you need after bath including towel, baby oil, hair brush/comb, diaper, and clean clothes etc. As long as the cord has not fallen off, sponge bathing is the ideal way to clean your baby.

#02. Dress appropriately

Ensure you put on something that you don’t mind in case it got wet or soapy. Remove all jewelry. Ensure that clothes you have on do not have pins or zippers or anything that might scratch or harm the baby.

#03. set the tub

Most baby bath tubs in the market are designed in a way to offer back and head support to the baby. They are lined with a non-slip mat to prevent slipping and drowning of the baby. If there isn’t any, line the sink/tub with a towel. Never bath the baby in adult bath tub. You can use the sink as long as the tap doesn’t touch the baby’s head and is thoroughly cleaned. Fill the tub 2-3 inches of warm water. Ensure the water is not hot for the baby. Use the back of the hand or elbow to test water temperatures.

#04. Lay your baby in the tub feet first.

Maintain baby’s neck, head and back support with your hand. Lower the baby carefully into the tub. Continue supporting the baby throughout the bath with one hand, while bathing him/her with your other hand. Be careful as babies are slippery and wriggly when they are wet.

#05. begin washing the baby

Use a cup or your hand to get the baby wet. Use a soft cloth to wash baby’s face and body. Use the cotton balls to clean the eyes and ears. Clean baby’s genitals last, using a dab of baby soft if you like. Wash the hair by leaning him backwards and gently massaging water into the hair and scalp. You can use baby shampoo for the hair and if you do so, protect the eyes form the shampoo. This is because irritation of the eyes may occur causing pain and discomfort to the baby.

#06. Lift baby off the tub.

Supporting the baby’s neck, head and back with one hand, hold the bottom or thigh with the other hand. Place the baby on a towel and wrap him/her. Dry the body first and gently dry the ears and any folds. Dry the hair with the towel completely.

#07. Apply ointment

Dab little oil/ointment on the baby diaper rash if any and from a doctor’s advice. Baby oil on the body can be applied this time too. In case the umbilical cord is still there, dry it with a piece of cotton, no need for alcohol use. Comb the hair too and apply some ointment on the hair for a shiny look. A little full body massage would be great especially if you want the baby to nap after the bath.

#08. put the nappy on and dress the baby

At this stage, put the diaper on. If your little one is going to sleep, dress them comfortable in an outfit that is well fitting. You can choose those clothes with snaps instead of buttons. If you are dressing for a play session or outing, relevant dressing is necessary too.

Baby bath tips

Baby’s bath time can only be made comfortable if this tips are noted and considered every time.

  1. Always check water temperature. Should be warm not hot or cold. 25 degrees Celsius approximately.
  2. Use the right baby bath soaps and lotions to avoid reactions.
  3. Expect fussiness during first few baths. Before the baby adapts to unusual water sensitivity.
  4. In case you notice any unusual rash talk to a pediatrician or doctor’s.
  5. Ensure your bathtub is lined to avoid the baby from slipping into the water and drowning.
  6. Gather all supplies before starting to bath the baby to avoid leaving the baby as you go find them which is risky.


Baby’s first time bath are a great experience for both the mother and the baby. Proper preparation beforehand helps avoid any accidents during bath time and ensures a comfortable experience of bath for the baby. There is need for hospitals to delay first baby’s bath for many health benefits. All new mother’s need to know that bathing newborns for the first time is an experience that is scary to many. All they need is practice and patience and they will be good. It is also advisable that parents do not bath their newborn daily to avoid dry skin and rashes from developing. Proper temperatures of water are a key thing to look at during bath times to keep off the little one from getting chilled. Also, proper care of the cord stamp should be considered until it falls off. A full body immersed birth should take place after the cord has fallen off. All mothers and newborn deserve an enjoyable baby bat time.

BABY’S FIRST BATH: COMPLETE GUIDE was last Updated: September 14th, 2018 by Tracie lamey
About Me

Tracie lamey

Hi this is Tracie Lamey from Alabama, Welcome to my blog site. I’ve completed my graduation in physical fitness from a reputed university. I love to travelling and blogging in my free time.

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