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How to Bathe Your Newborn

When faced with the challenge of keeping your newborn clean, you’re forgiven for feeling a little daunted. When faced with a bath full of water and a squirming baby, you suddenly realise how big your parenting responsibilities really are.

Once you get the hang of it, bathtime can be amazing. It’s not only the best way to keep your baby clean and healthy, but it’s a great time for bonding and strengthening your attachment to each other.

In this article, we’re answering some of the most common questions new parents have about bathing their newborns.

Will my baby enjoy the bath?

All babies are different – some of them absolutely love getting wet, while other can find the sensation weird and will get anxious. There are lots of things you can do to help your baby settle and enjoy their bath – we outline them throughout this article.

When can I start bathing my baby?

The first time you hold a wriggling wet baby can be really scary. It’s a really good idea to have two people bathing the first few times. One to bathe, and one to fetch and hand items.

Over time, you’ll feel more confident holding your baby in the bath. If you’re calm and firm with your grip, you’ll often find your baby will grow to enjoy bathing, and it might actually calm down a fussy newborn.

How often should I bathe my newborn?

If you’re wiping baby’s bottom after each spill or nappy change, you’ll find your baby doesn’t actually get that dirty. 2-3 times a week should be all you need. If you and your baby love bathing, you can bathe once a day if you like.

Do I have to worry about hard water?

Tap water from a hard water area can dry out your baby’s skin. Adding a few drops of baby cleanser or emollient to the bathwater should solve this problem, but watch out as it may make your baby extra slippery!

Help! I’m not sure I’m ready for the bath yet!

That’s okay. There’s a lot to take in during those first days with your baby.

For the first week your baby is at home, you’ll probably find it easier to “top and tail.” Instead of a running a full bath, you wash your baby with a damp sponge or flannel.

The key to making this experience nice for you and the baby is to make sure the room is warm (so neither of you get cold) and that you have all the things you need laid out in front of you:

  • A clean nappy
  • Clean clothes
  • A bowl filled with warm (but not hot) water
  • A flannel or sponge
  • Clean, soft towels
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Unperfumed baby wipes (such as WaterWipes)


Undress your baby and place them on the clean towel. Wet a cotton wool ball, squeeze it out, and wipe your baby’s eyes from the nose out to the side. Use a fresh piece of wool for the other side.

Next, use a fresh cotton ball for each of your baby’s ears (don’t forget behind the ears!), and then for the face, neck creases, and hands. You may notice your baby has a white, creamy substance on it. Don’t try to wash this off. This is called vernix and it’s actually secreted by your baby to naturally clean their skin.

Next, you want to clean your baby’s genitals and bottom area. Use WaterWipes to remove any poo or mess. You also want to do this after every nappy change.

The reason WaterWipes are perfect for this job is because they don’t contain any soap, alcohol or perfume. Products containing these can upset the delicate natural balance of your baby’s skin, resulting in rashes and irritation.

Now that you’re done, you can pat your baby dry, making sure you get in all the creases. Many parents like to use a mild oil or lotion if the skin feels dry. Wrap your baby up in a towel, and hold them close. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

What should I use as a bath?

Many parents prefer to bathe in the kitchen sink, as it enables them to stand upright. A small baby bath means you can move the bath to a room or surface in the house that’s more comfortable and easy to use for you.

Be careful using your main household bath, as leaning over the edge can hurt your back. There are bath support devices available to help with this.

Baths are an excellent way to nurture your relationship with your baby. What are your favourite bath time rituals?