Baby Bath Time: How to Bathe a Newborn Baby at Home
About to be a new parent? Months before a baby is even born, his parents are already planning every little thing from him—from where the nursery will be down to the color of his very first pair of socks.
For most new parents, one of the most pressing matters is learning how to bathe a newborn baby at home. Luckily for you, we’ve got that area covered.
How Often Should You Bathe a Newborn Baby?
Most new parents think that they need to bathe their child every day, but in reality, this is not the case. At such a young age, babies just don't get that dirty. For the most part, babies only need to be bathed two to three times a week, and on the rest of the days, you follow the top-and-tail method.
Topping and tailing involve washing your baby's face, neck, hands, and bottom carefully and regularly throughout the day. The topping and tailing method is a great way to keep your child clean throughout the day without the unnecessary stress of bathing.
Topping and Tailing Guide
When utilizing this method, there are a few things that you might want to prepare beforehand, such as having a warm bowl of water nearby, a towel, some cotton wool, and a fresh diaper.
First, place and hold your child on your knee or lay them down on a changing mat. Remove their clothes and their nappy. At this point, it is a good idea to wrap them in a towel to keep them warm during the process and to also dry them off at the end.
Take the cotton wool and lightly dip it in the water, making sure that it is damp as opposed to soaking wet. You'll then use this to wipe around your baby's eyes to their nose and outwards. Make sure to use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye in order to prevent any spread of infection.
Take another fresh piece of cotton wool. Dip it in the water again and use this to clean the outside of your baby's ears but make sure not to attempt to clean inside them. Never use cotton buds as this can cause damage to their inner ear at this young age.
Use this wool-and-water method to clean the rest of your baby's face and hands. Remember to use fresh cotton wool as you transition from one area to another, then gently dry off with the towel.
When it comes to washing your baby's bottom and genital region, you'll want to apply the same method as used for the face and hands. Take a fresh piece of cotton wool and dab it in the warm water.
You'll then want to make sure to clean within their little skin folds as this is where rubbing and skin irritation is most likely to occur. Finally, gently dry them off and put on a new nappy.
How to Bathe a Newborn Baby at Home?
For bathing a newborn baby, the same principle applies in that you'll want to get everything ready beforehand. Doing this will save you a tonne of time and make for an easier and smoother experience both for yourself as a parent and for your newborn baby.
A few things you might want to grab ahead of bathing your newborn are:
- A soft, hooded towel
- A soft flannel
- Cotton wool balls
- Specific baby soap
- A baby brush or comb
- A soft sponge
Now, before your baby's umbilical cord stump falls off, you'll be better off sponge-bathing your baby in order to prevent the cord from getting wet. The cord stump typically falls off sometime within 10 days to three weeks after birth.
Sponge-bathing a newborn baby works in exactly the same way as topping and tailing but with a bit more of a thorough clean. This means that you'll want to make sure you get the sponge in and around all of their little folds and bumps. It's best to do this one limb at a time as the baby is lying on a changing mat in order to prevent him from becoming too cold.
After the cord stump has fallen off, you'll be able to take your baby into your bathtub, a baby bathtub, or the good old sink. We've listed out some steps below to help your bath time run smoothly.
Run warm water into the tub until you have about two inches settled. Now, don’t forget that babies’ skin is far more sensitive than ours, so check the temperature before placing your baby in it.
The best way to check the temperature of the bath water is by placing your elbow or the back of your wrist into the water as these are more sensitive to heat.
Place your baby in the baby bath seat or hold their head up as you lay them onto a soft bath mat. You'll then want to wash off any debris or loose skin by slowly pouring the warm water over the affected areas.
Apply the soap thoroughly but carefully in order to prevent it from coming into contact with your baby's eyes. It's also a good idea to gently wash this off using a soft damp sponge.
It's time to dry your baby by picking them up and placing them in their hooded towel. This helps to keep their head warm while you dry the rest of their body. You'll want to very gently pat them down with the towel to dry them off.
Extra Tip: Placing a warm wet flannel over their tummies while bathing helps to keep them warm while you're washing them.
So, do you now know how to bathe a newborn baby at home? Great! Bathing a newborn baby isn't only a challenge, but it can also be a rather scary experience for most first-timers.
But then again, if you follow some of the tips and tricks that we have outlined above, then we are confident that both you and your baby will be well on your way to enjoying every bath time!