Bathing your baby

With all the mess that babies can make, one of the things you might be wondering about is how on earth to keep them clean! We’ve put together some of our thoughts about bath time to get you started.

When your baby has just been born there’s no need to bath them straight away unless you’ve been advised to for medical reasons. The World Health Organisation recommends delaying the first bath for at least 24 hours, and the Academy of Paediatrics suggests waiting until the umbilical cord has dried and come off. It might feel a bit strange to be putting off bathing your baby, but it’s absolutely fine. Until their first bath, topping and tailing your baby might be the best option.

Some babies prefer their bath time to be at the end of the day, rather than in the morning, but together you’ll find a routine that works for both of you.  It’s best not to bathe your baby straight after a feed as it’s good to let their food to settle, or to bathe them when they’re hungry or tired as they might not be relaxed.

Bath time can be a great opportunity for both parents to bond with your baby, and can be a special time for all of you. Make sure that the room you’re using is nice and warm and get everything ready before you start. 

Top tips for bathing your baby

  • The water should be warm, but not hot. Check with your wrist or elbow. Make sure that you mix the water well, so there aren’t hot spots. The perfect temperature for the water is 37 degrees C.
  • You don’t need to add any liquid cleansers like bubble bath to the water. Plain water is best for your baby’s skin for at least the first month. Bubble fun can come later!
  • Remember to never leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.
  • Pat them dry gently. Pay special attention to the creases so that they don’t get sore.
  • Bath time can be a good time to introduce some baby massage to your baby. Massage can help them to relax and sleep. Avoid using any oils or lotions until your baby is at least a month old.
  • If your baby seems frightened of bathing and cries, try bathing together when you have someone there to help you. Don’t try to get in or out of the bath holding your baby, as this can be dangerous.
  • Bath time is a great time to talk or sing to your baby, and your baby will probably find this reassuring.