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The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Bath

Snuggle Bugz | | Comments 0

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Welcoming a newborn into your world comes with countless rites of passage, including baby’s first bath.  

Being such a tiny creature, bathtime can be intimidating for a newborn and perhaps even more so for mom and dad. This article aims to answer the essential questions, ensuring you're well-equipped to make bath time a safe and soothing experience. 

Let’s dive in!

Should I Give My Newborn a Bath or Sponge Bath? 

It's recommended to sponge bathe your newborn until the umbilical cord falls off to keep the area dry, typically between 10 to 14 days, though it can range from 7 to 21 days. After the stump falls off and the navel heals, you can transition to regular baths. For circumcised boys, continue with sponge baths until fully-healed. 

To give a sponge bath, gather all necessary items (a warm, damp cloth, baby soap, towel, fresh diaper, and clothes). Gently clean your baby's body with the cloth, paying special attention to the diaper area and any folds of skin. Keep your baby warm by exposing only the parts you're washing. 

What Is the Right Temperature for My Baby’s Bath Water? 

For your baby's bath, ensure the water is lukewarm, around 38°C/100°F, to keep your baby comfortable without the risk of chilling or scalding. Since newborns can't regulate their body temperature well, also make sure the room is warm. To prevent scalding, it's advised to set your water heater below 120°F (49°C). Always double-check the water's temperature with your hand or a bath thermometer before placing your baby in it.

How Much Water Should I Add to the Tub? 

When preparing a bath for your baby, adding about 2 inches (or approximately 5 centimeters) of water to the tub is recommended. It's crucial to always supervise your baby closely during bath time, ensuring you hold them securely. If you need to grab something you've forgotten, take your baby with you rather than leaving them unattended in the tub — which you should never do, not even for a moment.

How Often Should I Bathe My Newborn? 

Newborns don't require daily baths. Bathing them three times a week is often sufficient until they become more mobile. Frequent baths can dry out their skin. Focus on keeping their face, neck, and diaper area clean through prompt diaper changes and using burp cloths. Between baths, check and clean your baby's skin folds with a wet washcloth. Baths strip natural oils from the skin, so it's important not to overdo it.

Do I Need to Apply Lotions and Powders After a Bath? 

After bathing your baby, applying lotions and powders isn't always necessary. While it's common to see dry skin on newborns, their skin is naturally equipped with oils that keep it soft. For specific dry areas, a mild moisturizer like Vaseline or Aquaphor can be used sparingly. However, baby powder should be avoided due to potential respiratory risks as advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If you notice persistent dryness, consider reducing the frequency of baths.

The Do’s and Don’ts 

To ease your worries and ensure a smooth experience, we've compiled a list designed to foster a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable bath time for your little one!

DO’S: 

  • Ensure the room is comfortably warm before starting the bath. A warm environment prevents your baby from getting cold, making the bath experience more pleasant. 
     
  • Always check the water temperature to ensure it's lukewarm. Use your elbow or a bath thermometer to check that the water is around 38°C/100°F (which is safe and comfortable for your baby). 
     
  • Keep your baby covered with a warm washcloth during the bath for added warmth. Since babies can easily get cold, covering parts of their bodies not being washed can help maintain their body temperature. 
     
  • Have a towel and all necessary supplies within easy reach before starting. This ensures you don't have to leave your baby unattended at any point during the bath. 
     
  • Maintain constant physical contact to keep your baby secure. Always keep one hand on your baby for safety and to provide a sense of security. 
     
  • Be gentle while cleaning your baby. Use mild, baby-friendly soap and gently wash your baby's skin to avoid irritation. 
     
  • Sponge bathe until the umbilical cord stump falls off and is fully-healed. This prevents infection and ensures the area remains dry and clean.

DON’TS: 

  • Never leave your child unsupervised in the bath. Even a small amount of water can be dangerous, so always keep your baby within arm's reach. 
  • Avoid daily baths to prevent drying out their skin. Frequent bathing can strip natural oils from your baby's skin, leading to dryness. 

 

Stokke FlexiBath Bundles with Heat Sensing Plug

Tubs & Supports

Pack of three wash cloths

Towels & Wash Cloths

Baja Baby Shampoo and Body Wash

Shampoos

Baby Bath Towel

Hooded Towels

Dr Browns baby care essentials kit - 5 pieces

Hair Care & Bodywash

Items to Pick Up 

Preparing for baby's bath time goes beyond just filling the tub. Use this item guide to make bath time a breeze for both you and your baby! 

Tubs & Supports: Look for a tub with sturdy supports that securely hold it in place so it doesn't tip over during bath time. Despite these precautions, always maintain a hand on your baby for added safety. For those without a bathtub, the Stokke Flexibath is a space saver that supports your little one perfectly! 

Bath & Body Care: Choose gentle, baby-friendly shampoo and bodywash. Tools like soft brushes can help with cradle cap, ensuring you're prepared for all aspects of baby hygiene. One of our favourite baby body care brands is Baja Baby, which you can learn all about via our Baja Baby Round-Up article. 

Towels, Washcloths, Sponges: Soft, absorbent towels and washcloths are essential for a comfortable bath time. Hooded towels are great for keeping your baby warm and cozy after the bath. 

Bath Thermometers: A bath thermometer removes the guesswork, ensuring the water is at a safe, comfortable temperature every time! 

 For more information on bathroom products to stock up on, read our Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves For Babies & Toddlers article. 

Detangler + Hair Brush Set

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Baja Baby

Newborn Bundle

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Kräb - Bath Thermometer

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Bathtime Adventures 

Baby’s first bath experience is more than just about cleanliness, it's a precious opportunity to bond, soothe, and enjoy the simple moments with your newborn. With the right preparation and approach, bath time can become one of the most cherished parts of your day, filled with laughter, love, and the sweet scent of baby shampoo! 

‘Tis the season for giving? Check out our Bath Time Gift Ideas article for a list of fun and practical bath products babies will love! 

 

DISCLAIMER; This article is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor first should you have any questions or concerns.