A clean baby is a happy baby! And a healthy baby too – keeping them clean can help prevent certain irritations and infections, while also helping them to sleep easy and comfortably.
We’ve already put together a short guide to cleaning your baby’s eyes, ears and nose.
In this post we’ll discuss bathing your newborn – when can you do it, and how should you do it?
When Can You Bathe a Newborn?
Immediately after your baby’s born, the most important thing is that they stay warm.
You might need a little time to recover from the birth so you may want to get used to holding your baby before you bathe them. Some new parents prefer “top and tailing” their baby for the first week or so. This basically involves using moist cotton pads to gently clean your baby’s top half, and baby wipes for their bottom half making sure to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom. If you’re unsure about bathing your newborn, the best thing is to ask your midwife. They’ll talk to you about any precautions you might have to take.
When Can I Start Bathing My Baby At Home?
It’s completely up to you!
So long as they’re healthy, the World Health Organization recommends delaying giving your newborn their first bath until at least 24 hours after birth. But keep the baths fairly quick to start with as newborns can lose their body heat quickly.
You don’t have to wait until their umbilical cord stump has fallen off and healed but it is recommended that you give sponge baths and allow the stump to dry properly afterwards.
Your Newborn’s First Bath
Because newborn babies lose body heat quickly, you should make their first bath as quick as possible. Try and do it in five minutes, but be sure to take no longer than 10 minutes.
Close the doors and windows and make the room as warm as possible. Get some towels ready, so you’ll be able to wrap your baby as soon as you’re done.
To begin with, you can just use water to bathe your baby. After a few weeks, you can add a mild baby cleanser or a baby bath emollient – though this can make your baby slippery to handle, so take care!
And of course, you should ensure that the water’s neither too hot nor too cold. Add the cold water first and the hot water second. Test the temperature with your elbow, and mix it a little to ensure there aren’t any hot spots. And never put your baby in the bath while the tap’s still running.
How Often Should I Bathe My Baby?
Again, it’s up to you.
Just remember that it’s very important that newborn’s stay as warm as possible. Also, they don’t tend to get very dirty. So you don’t need to bathe a newborn every day – twice a week is fine. But as they get older, you can start bathing them more regularly.
You can also use a Babydam Bathwater Barrier to make bathing your baby more straightforward. This easy-to-fit barrier will effectively shrink your bath, so you can run baths more quickly and while using less water. This makes bath-time safer, easier, and greener and can also save you money! Learn more about the Babydam.