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Bathing Your Baby

Bathing your baby can be a great experience but there are things you should know before putting a baby in the tub. It’s okay to be nervous about bathing your baby for the first time. Stay calm and maintain a good grip on your baby at all times, and your baby will stay relaxed too.

Sponge Baths

For a newborn, it is suggested to have the baby take sponge baths before the umbilical cord falls off. Use a warm wash cloth or sponge and wipe the baby down with small amounts of soap and water. Wash his/her face and hands frequently and clean the genital area thoroughly after each diaper change.

Infant Tub Baths

Once the cord has fallen off and the area heals, parents can start bathing their baby in an infant bath tub with 2-3 inches of water. Infant bath tubs can help support your baby’s head and neck while you bathe him/her.

Bathe your baby up to two or three times a week during the first year. Bathing your baby too often can dry out his/her skin.

Always be sure to test the water temperature first to avoid scolding your baby. Bathes should last about 5 minutes long which is enough time to get your baby clean before the water cools down. Use mild soaps, unscented, and hypoallergenic products.

How to Give Your Baby a Bath

  1. Get all of your bathing supplies together including: a towel, clean diaper, soaps and clothes.
  2. Fill the tub up with 3 inches of warm water
  3. Bring your baby into the bath area and undress him/her completely
  4. Slowly place your baby into the tub feet first while supporting the neck and head with your hand
  5. Use mild soap sparingly. Use a washcloth or your hand to bathe your baby. Be sure to be gentle and try to keep the soap out of his/her eyes.
  6. Rinse your baby with a few cups of water and wipe him/her down with a clean towel.
  7. Carefully lift your baby out of the tub while supporting her neck and head again. Make sure you have a tight grip.
  8. Then dry her off gently. Put a diaper on her and dress her.

Baby Safety:

  • Never leave the baby unsupervised
  • Never put your baby into the tub while the water is running
  • Be sure to set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
 
  • Bathing Your Baby

    Boys Town Pediatrics

    ​Before the umbilical cord falls off or if it's a boy, before his circumcision is completely healed, it's a good idea to just do sponge baths. So, not actually submerging the bay in any water but just getting a warm wash cloth or sponges. It doesn't always have to involve soap and if you want to clean them up doing that on a towel or a hard surface.

    Once the cord has fallen off or the circumcision has healed then you can start putting the baby in a little bit of water.  Obviously, little babies can't sit themselves up in the bath so often it's easier to have the little buckets or the little basin tubs and put two or three inches of water in there.

    Make sure the water heater in your home or building where you're living isn't set above 120 degrees. Anything above that, you would run the risk of scalding from coming in contact with too hot of water.

    Besides that I just tell parents to test the water first and make sure it feels like something that would be comfortable and ok for you and most of the time it will be fine for your baby.

    In terms of bathing products, again, it kind of varies baby to baby. In general, I recommend using mild soaps and shampoos, ideally, unscented and hypo-allergenic products.

    When can my baby transition to the real bathtub?

    Usually it's easier when they are able to somewhat sit up on their own. The important thing would be to make sure you're always within arm's reach of the baby at every second during that bath because any baby can slip and fall over.​

    How often should I give my baby a bath?

    Most babies, even in that first full year of life, don't get so dirty. So they usually don't need a daily bath and doing that can definitely dry out their skin. I usually tell people, two to three times a week is probably sufficient. Obviously there will be days when your baby needs a bath and that's fine. Again, it kind of varies, babies with more severe eczema or drier skin probably should bathe less frequently if possible. Babies that don't have that as an issue could probably get away with doing it a bit more.​

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