How to bathe a newborn baby

how to bathe a newborn

The prospect of bathing your newborn for the first time can be a daunting one, but it needn’t be. Once you've got everything to hand, it's a simple process – and provides the opportunity for some lovely moments with your baby.

You can give your baby their first bath when they’re a few days old. Keep it short – no longer than 10 minutes – and avoid any soaps or other products to begin with as they may upset their sensitive skin. If your baby really isn’t happy in the water, don’t worry, you can come back and try again another time. Bathtime should be fun for both you and baby so relax, and enjoy.

How to bathe a baby – a step-by-step guide

1. Getting everything ready

preparing to bathe a newborn

Have all your essentials to hand, make sure to have a change of outfit, nappy, two sponges – a main sponge and a ‘bum sponge’ – and of course a towel to wrap them in and cuddle when you’re finished.

2. Running the bath

how to run a baby bath

Fill your baby bath with a few inches of water, making sure to test the temperature with your elbow – about 37 degrees is ideal. Swirl the water with your hand to check for hot spots.

3. Placing your baby in the bath

how to place a baby in a bath

Using one arm to gently support your baby's back, head and neck, gently place them in the baby bath. Continue to support them using one arm whilst using your free hand to wash.

4. Washing your baby

how to wash a baby

Gently cleanse around your baby's eyes with a cotton pad dampened with clean, warm water. Use a new cotton pad for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye outward. Use a soft flannel to wipe around your baby's mouth, nose, face and neck. Don't forget to clean behind their ears! Wash the nappy area last using the ‘bum sponge’.

5. Lifting baby out

how to lift a baby out a bath

Wrap both hands around your baby's chest under their arms, making sure to support their head, then lift them out of the bath and wrap them in a soft, clean towel. Babies have sensitive skin and washing your towels with Fairy Non Bio helps prevent irritation and keeps even the most fragile, sensitive skin happy. Make sure to dry them before they start to get cold, and indulge in a snuggle whilst you’re there. Putting a small towel inside the bathtub can also make it easier to remove your baby.

How often should you bathe a baby?

Newborns don’t require much bathing, a few times a week should be more than enough. Try the ‘top and tailing’ technique in between baths by washing your baby from head to toe with a warm, damp sponge or flannel, and pieces of moistened cotton wool.

How can you make the first bath easier?

You’ll soon get the hang of bathing your baby and be able to do it on three hours sleep and multiple coffees, but for an added confidence boost the first time you give your baby a bath have your partner, friend or family member present.

When is the best time to give baby a bath?

Having a bath just before bed can be a good way to start building a bedtime routine. Many babies find the water very relaxing and a bath before bed will help them drift off.

Babies with sensitive skin

If you live in a hard water area, bear in mind that too much tap water during the first month or so may dry out and damage your baby's skin. If your baby’s skin is particularly sensitive, you may want to bathe him less frequently. You could try a gentle, unfragranced emollient cream on dry patches.