Baby

How to: A step by step guide to bathing a newborn

You’ve never given a bath to an infant and you don’t really know how to get started? Here’s a practical guide that explains all the steps you need to take to give your baby a safe bath!

When to give a bath?

There is no perfect time to bathe a baby, but many parents prefer to give the bath in the evening because it will relax your baby and help them sleep. If your baby is more the type to want to play in the bath, you may decide to give them a bath in the morning when they are more awake and in a happier mood.

The first few weeks of a baby’s life, you don’t need to give them a « big » bath every day and it is best not to exceed 5 minutes in the bath, to prevent your baby from getting cold. If you decide not to bathe your baby daily, it is recommended to at least clean their face, neck, buttocks, and genitals daily with a warm washcloth.

Preparation

We advise you to prepare all the material you will need before starting the bath so you have everything at hand while bathing your baby.

Useful material for baby’s bath:

  • Soap
  • Washcloth
  • Toys and pacifier to distract if necessary
  • Towel
  • A change of clothes
  • A new diaper
Baby bath seat

The use of a baby bath seat is recommended during the first months as they are designed to ensure a perfect hold on your baby's body and keep their head well above the water. That way, you can have your hands free to wash and play with them and be sure they are safe.

Water

If you give the bath in the tub, fill it with a maximum of 8 to12 cm of water for newborns and babies up to 6 months old. For older children, the water should not be higher than their waist for it to be safe.

The ideal water temperature should vary between 35° and 38 °C, or approximately the equivalent of your body’s temperature. Before putting your baby in the water, check the temperature with the palm of your hand or your elbow, to make sure the water is comfortable. Never immerse your baby in the water if it’s still running: the temperature could change drastically or the water level could rise too high.

Note that the temperature of the bathroom should be between 22 and 24 °C.

Hold baby in a comfortable position

As you know, newborns are very fragile and you must make sure to hold them comfortably and be very gentle. Don’t forget to carefully manipulate their head when you’re washing them and to try your best not to get water or soap in their eyes.

Soap

We recommend you use a mild fragrance-free soap specifically designed for the delicate and fragile skin of new born babies. Avoid using bath oils and bubble baths; they can cause reactions on the skin or even urinary tract infections.

Lather your baby gently by hand while explaining to them what you are doing so they feel secure. To rinse them, wet them gradually so they have time to familiarize themselves with the water flowing on their bodies. They should feel soothed, not scared!

Careful!

Never leave your baby alone in the bath, even for a short time. Your attention must be directed towards them at all times. Many accidents occur during a short moment of inattention. Indeed, a child can drown in a small amount of water and a very short time.

Getting out of the bath

When you get your baby out of the bath, dry them quickly with a towel to prevent them from getting cold. Make sure to towel dry them properly so that there is no residual moisture in the folds of their skin, which could cause some irritation. Regularly change the towel you are using so there isn’t enough time for bacteria to grow.

Image de Sonia Cosentino

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