What You Need to Know About Bathing Your Newborn

by Sarah
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Newborn Wrapped In Towels After Bath
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I get it, bathing your newborn for the first time can be scary. Newborns seem like such delicate, fragile little beings. But Newborns are more resilient than you think. You will be a pro at giving your newborn a bath in no time! And all the questions your mom brain is throwing at you will be answered.

Related: What Do You Need In Your Hospital Bag?

How Long to Delay Baby’s First Bath?

Delaying Your Baby’s first bath might not have even crossed your mind. But I’m here to tell you that you should wait at least 24 hours before giving your baby their first bath. The World Health Organization recommends this as well. There are multiple reasons behind delaying that first bath that are pretty awesome, but here are my favorite.

  • That icky white covering called vernix literally protects your baby’s skin. It has antimicrobial properties that help prevent your baby from getting infections, which hospitals are crawling with!
  • That vernix helps your baby regulate body temperature – Your baby just went from being in one constant temperature in the womb to being delivered into a room that is likely 20 degrees cooler! Yikes! Can you say cold chill?

Can You Bathe a Newborn With an Umbilical Cord?

It’s recommended to only give sponge baths to babies while their umbilical cords are still attached because you want to keep the cord as dry as possible. This helps your baby’s cord fall off faster. Which is what you want right?

The cord should fall off within the first few weeks on its own. And during the waiting period, the umbilical cord will change colors from yellow to brown to black till it falls off and pretty new skin is shown underneath.

Umbilical Cord Care Tips

  • As stated above keep the cord dry
  • Fold the top of your baby’s diaper down to prevent irritating the umbilical cord stump
  • As tempting as it might be – don’t pick at the stump to help it fall off

How Often Should You Bathe a Newborn?

Newborns aren’t like adults. They don’t need to shower/bathe every day. Newborns should only take a bath at most 3 times a week. Anything more and you risk drying your baby’s skin out. Just make sure that when you are providing diaper care that you thoroughly clean your baby’s private area and clean under all the folds.

Best Newborn Tubs

Giving Your Newborn a Bath in the Sink will save your Knees
  • The Blooming Bath Lotus was my absolute favorite. I didn’t have to get down on my knees. I just placed my big fluffy flower in the kitchen sink and gave my baby boy a bath. It made bath time fun and enjoyable for both of us
  • Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling ‘n Seat Tub would have to be my second favorite as it converts as they grow. This one you can place on top of the kitchen sink, or put it directly in your bathtub.

How Do You Give Your Newborn a Bath?

basket of baby supplies for a newborn bathe
IMPORTANT: Don't walk away from your baby even for a split second! That tiny human of yours is depending on you!
  1. Gather All Supplies – baby shampoo, body wash, hand towels, hooded towel, cup to help rinse baby off, cotton balls
  2. Start running the bathwater, make sure it’s a decent temperature by testing it yourself before placing your baby in the water (The Mayo Clinic Suggests that your hot water heaters thermostat should be set to 120 F)
  3. Place your Newborn in the bath gently, always keeping eyes on him or her!
  4. Before you start washing your baby, let them get used to the water. It’s new to them
  5. Grab your washcloth from next to you and put soap on it and gently cleanse your newborn. I prefer starting at the neck and cleansing all the folds going down!
  6. Wash your newborn’s hair and rinse with a cup of water
  7. Grab a cotton ball and wet it, clean your baby’s eye going from the inner eye to the outer eye; do the same for the other eye
  8. Take out your baby from the bath and towel dry! And voila you are done!

Cleaning Your Baby Between Baths

If you feel like you need to do some type of hygiene care to your baby daily, keep it simple with a quick wipe down. You can always do a small sponge bath followed by some baby lotion. Your baby won’t know the difference if he doesn’t get a bath every day.

Best Time of Day to Give Your Newborn a Bath?


Everyone seems to have an idea when it comes to the best time for your newborn to take a bath. But guess whose opinion matters the most? Yours. Plain and simple. There is no right or wrong time of day to give your baby a bath.

My advice to you is when you pick that time of day whether it be morning, afternoon, evening, or night, stick to it. Routine is super important in a child’s life.

For my family, giving a bath right before bedtime has always worked for us. Baths are super calming and relaxing and tend to help with the going to bed process.

Benefits of Bath Time for Babies

You are probably thinking what benefits could there be from giving my baby a bath besides baby getting clean? Well, think of bath time like reading!

  • It’s a learning experience – Your baby has been out of the womb probably two weeks at this point and now he’s being rinsed and dipped in warm water. The water is tickling his tummy, making him feel light as a feather, and making him want to explore!
  • It’s another chance to bond – It’s just you, and your baby! Just like breastfeeding or reading to your baby. You’re talking to him or singing that classic row row row your boat song. You’re giving kisses, and counting all ten fingers and toes, showing your baby how much you love him!
  • It can help promote sleep – All that warm water trickling on him, plus the love your baby is getting, and the feeling of being safe and secure is enough to put anyone to sleep! It makes me want to go take a bath lol I need a nap.

The Takeaway

Trust in yourself, you will do anything for your baby! I know that this is only one of the countless articles that you are going to read about how to do this or do that. Bath time is another milestone in your child’s life for you and your partner to enjoy. Remember to just delay your baby’s first bath, give sponge baths until that pesky umbilical cord falls off, bathe your baby a maximum of three times a week, and choose what time of day is best for you! Oh, and don’t forget to count and kiss all the precious toes!


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