How to Bathe a Newborn? [Step-By-Step Guide with Video]

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Do you know how to bathe a newborn step by step? We share all the information on the appropriate frequency, how to do it when they have or do not have an umbilical cord, the water temperature, tips for bathtubs, and much more. 

For new parents, a newborn baby’s first bath can be challenging. The questions are many more than certainties, and fears can appear instantly. Although the first few baths can be complex, they improve with practice.

So that you have all the necessary information and that fears and doubts do not arise, in this article, we are going to give you some tips so that you know how to bathe a newborn. You must consult and prioritize the pediatrician’s recommendation for your baby’s first bath.

You will Need

  • Towel
  • Sponge
  • Agua

How to Bathe a Newborn with an Umbilical Cord?

“How do I bathe my newborn baby?” It is one of the most frequently asked questions by all parents. Before the umbilical cord falls off, it is best to do so with a sponge to prevent the cord from getting wet. Therefore, below, we explain how to bathe a newborn baby for the first time with a sponge:

1. Lay your baby down on a soft, smooth surface

You can do it on a clean towel.

2. Have a bowl of warm water handy

and a soft sponge.

3. I kept your baby swaddled

and he’s taking a limb out and washing it.

4. Gently pat the wet area dry

Cover it again and continue with another extremity.

5. If you accidentally get the umbilical cord wet, don’t despair. Just use a towel

to dry it gently.

At how many days old does a newborn bathe? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends postponing the baby’s bath until 24 hours after birth so you can bathe him on his second day. 


Video Credit: Emma Hubbard 

How to Bathe a Newborn Baby without an Umbilical Cord?

Once the umbilical cord has fallen off, and the navel has healed completely, we can start with the immersion baths. The most important thing is to prepare everything before bathing your baby. Know the advice on how to bathe a newborn baby with a belly button.

How to Bathe a Newborn Baby in the Bathtub?

To learn how to bathe a newborn baby in the bathtub or a special plastic one for them, you must keep these tips in mind:

  • Wash the bathtub before and after using it.

  • The water should be around 35º to 37º, not hot or cold. You can test the water by sticking it to the inside of your wrist or elbow. If it doesn’t burn, the temperature is right. You can also measure the water with a specific thermometer for that.

  • Fill the bathtub with water between 5 and 10 cm high.

  • It is advisable to put a towel at the bottom of the bathtub so that the baby does not slip or buy some inflatable mattresses that keep the baby lying down with the head without touching the water.

Once you have everything ready, you can start with the steps to learn how to bathe a newborn baby:

  1. Wash your hands well before beginning.

  2. Undress the baby and clean the diaper area before putting him in the bathtub.

  3. The forearm of the person who is going to bathe him should hold his head while, on the other hand, he cleans it.

  4. Wash it from top to bottom. Start with the head and end with the genitals. This is so that the water and sponge used for the face do not have germs from secretions.

  5. The first baths should be brief; they should last around 5 minutes. Otherwise, the water may cool down, giving you a cold.

  6. You have to dry the baby very well after bathing. Specially between the folds but without rubbing.

  7. Apply a baby moisturizer if you have dry or irritated skin in the diaper area.

  8. It is important to put her clothes on the right after the bath, so she does not get cold.

You can also follow these important steps to learn how to bathe a newborn thoroughly:

  • Check if dirt has accumulated around the eyes or behind the ears. You can use a cotton pad to clean the eye area.

  • Wash the folds at the back of the knees, neck, and thighs.

  • Clean your fingers and toes.

  • Check underarms, as lint from clothing can accumulate.

  • Finally, clean the diaper area. Very important! Never leave the baby alone. If, for any reason, you have to go out to get something, even if it’s just for a moment, take the baby out of the bathtub, wrap him in a towel, and take him with you.

Now you know how to bathe a newborn in a bathtub! I also know how to remove stains from baby clothes.

How often to Bathe a Newborn Baby: in the Morning or at Night?

It is important to know how newborn babies bathe and how often. The first baths are a new experience for new parents and babies. Therefore, so that you know how to bathe a newborn baby, we advise you to take the following into account:

  • Bathing them two or three times a week is enough since they don’t get very dirty until they start to crawl.

  • Clean the diaper area several times daily; wash your hands, neck, and face.

  • If the umbilical cord has not already fallen off, it is best not to fully submerge it in water and instead bathe it with a damp sponge.

  • It is recommended to bathe the baby at night before giving him the breast or the bottle. The bath relaxes the baby, so he eats calmer and sleeps better.

If the baby is older, the bath can be done without problems daily; it is a unique experience to caress, sing to, or talk to. Many use it as part of bedtime so the baby can relax and rest at night.

And how to bathe a newborn in winter? Ensure the water is between 35º and 37º degrees, and give it a short bath. Dry him off and put on his winter clothes right away. It is important to protect it from the cold inside the house.

The Best Type of Bathtub for Your Baby

There are several types of bathtubs on the market, so I decided where you would place the bathtub. The models will be different if you want it to be in the bathroom or a changing tub in the baby’s room. I keep in mind the following points:

  • Bathtubs with a changing table are ideal so the baby does not get cold when moving from the bathroom to the room. Some options are ergonomic and designed for the stages of the baby (newborn or more than six months).

  • Bath with folding changing table: it does not take up space, and some models have pockets on the sides to put nappies, soaps, sponges, or other items in the bathroom.

  • Inflatable bathtubs are ideal for going on a trip or to your grandparents’ house. Some models on the market are compact and fit in any suitcase.

  • Folding bathtubs are compact, practical, and have many models to suit all tastes.

What is the Ideal Water Temperature for Bathing Babies?

Babies still have an immature temperature regulation system and are much more sensitive than adults. At first, getting the ideal water temperature for the bath is not easy. I followed these tips:

  • It is recommended that the water be between 35 and 37 degrees. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature.

  • Babies perceive pain late and react later. So avoid the fact that the water is very hot.

  • Heat the changing area. Temperature changes between the bathroom and the bedroom can be unpleasant. You can also use a hooded towel, so the baby does not get cold.

Neutral Soaps for Bathing Babies

Babies skin is more delicate than that of adults, so it requires specific attention at bath time. Hygiene products for newborns and babies must be chosen carefully since their skin is delicate.

  • Neutral soaps with low acidity that are not perfumed are the best option for bathing babies.

  • Pediatricians advise applying it by hand or with a soft sponge not to irritate the child’s skin.

In addition, it is essential to pay attention to the bathroom and the laundry. In this case, your soap must be dermatologically tested for sensitive skin. We recommend the Ala Camellito Ropa Fina Matic liquid soap, which professionals have tried. Learn more tips on how to wash baby clothes.

You learned all the tips on how to bathe a newborn baby. Take the opportunity to put these tricks into practice and enjoy that unique moment of connection with your baby. In addition to learning how to give him his first baths, learn tips on sterilizing bottles and other baby accessories.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Bathe a Newborn

When can you bathe a newborn baby?

At how many days old can a newborn baby be bathed? This is a question many new dads ask themselves. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you can bathe the baby as early as the second day of life. If he has the umbilical cord, lay him on a soft, smooth surface. Keep it wrapped, and bathe with a sponge and warm water. If the umbilical cord gets wet, dry it gently using a towel.

How many times can you bathe a baby?

It is not necessary to bathe a baby every day. You can bathe him two or three times a week since they don’t get dirty or sweat much until they start to crawl. So you don’t need a full bathroom. Also, bathing too much can dry out the skin. However, what you can do every day is clean the diaper area and wash their hands, neck, and face.

How do you bathe a newborn baby without making her cry?

Wash it gently; do not rub it hard or startle it with powerful water jets. In addition, the moment of washing the head is not usually very pleasant for babies, so keep it in a horizontal position, resting the head in the crook of your arm. The bath must be a moment of relaxation for the baby. He doesn’t drag out the moment if he doesn’t like the bath and keeps crying. Keep it short and how quick to clean it up.




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