Know when and how to bathe your newborn baby

Bringing a newborn baby to home can be an out of the world experience. There’s excitement and a skip in your steps, but you can also get nervous about bringing the baby up. The fear can double when it comes to giving them a bath. It is natural to have many doubts and be worried about the baby, so Health Shots is here to tell you all you need to know about bathing a newborn baby.

When to bathe a newborn baby?

A WHO report says that newborns should not be given a bath in the first 24 hours and one should typically wait until their vital signs become stable. According to a study published on the PubMed Central one of the many benefits of delaying the first bath is waiting for the newborn’s temperature to stabilize to around 36.8 degrees Celsius or higher in order to prevent the risk of hypothermia, which is higher in the first hour after birth. A second benefit is being able to keep intact the vernix caseosa which is a protective layer that protects the skin from any kind of infection and dirt in the environment. The first tub bath should only be given when their umbilical cord has fallen off and the area has healed completely.

newborn bath
Know the right time to bathe your little munchkin! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Since newborns don’t get that dirty anyway, it is enough to give them a regular sponge bath and give a proper bath only once or twice a week. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to bathe a newborn baby:

Step 1

The first step is to ensure that you have everything ready beforehand. Towel, clothes, soap and anything you could possibly need while bathing the baby should be within arms reach as you can never leave the baby alone in the bathtub. Also, if you have the clothes ready, you can quickly dress up the baby after the bath and prevent them from getting cold.

Step 2

Fill the bathtub with 2-3 inches of warm water and not more than that. The temperature of the bath water should be around 35 degree celsius which is neither too hot nor too cold.

newborn bath
Set the temperature right for your newborn’s bath. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Step 3

Gently lay down the baby in the bathtub and always support them by keeping an arm around their shoulder in such a way that you are also giving support to their neck and head. Never remove this arm while giving the bath as there is a chance the baby could slip. 

Step 4

Next you take a washcloth, dip in the bath water and then gently clean the baby with it. Don’t rub it too much as newborns have very sensitive skin. There is no need to use any kind of soap but if you want to make sure that they are mild ones. Also, never pour water directly on their head. You can splash some water with your hands, but it is best to use a washcloth only.

Step 5

End the bath after 10 minutes so that the baby doesn’t get cold. Take them out of the bath and lay them down on a towel. Lightly dab them with the towel so as not to aggravate their skin.

Gently towel dry the baby after giving them a bath. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Follow these steps and you will make the bath experience enjoyable for your newborn baby and yourself too!


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