Giving your baby a bath seems to be one of those stressful times during new motherhood. You may be worried about many things such as how much water do I need? How do I get my baby safely into the bath? What if I get water into my baby’s eyes, ears, or mouth? Is the water at the right temperature? How long should a bath be?
Well, this blog will answer all your questions related to baby baths, from how to bathe your baby to whether you can co-bathe with them to make their experience more fun.
When to Give Baby First Bath
We’ll start off with the most commonly asked question by new mums – when can I give my newborn its first bath?
After birth, the baby’s skin is covered by a waxy substance that protects the skin from environmental germs. Therefore, it is recommended to have the baby’s first bath after they are a few days old. However, this should only involve giving them a sponge bath, as giving a shallow bath isn’t safe until their umbilical cord falls off.
Baby’s Bath Temperature
Temperature is an extremely important part of a baby bath. You don’t want the water to be cold or too hot; instead, it should be warm, at about 38 C. Always check the temperature with your elbow or wrist before placing your baby in the bath. If it feels just warm, you can place your baby in the bath, but if it feels a little hot, wait for the temperature to go down or add some cold water to balance it out.
When to Bathe Baby
Particularly in the early weeks, baths are not essential for your baby as their umbilical cord will still be healing. In this instance, a ‘top and tail’ approach will suffice.
However, sometimes a more thorough wash is required – especially if your baby has done a particularly large poo that has travelled elsewhere!
It’s also worth bearing in mind that small babies have incredibly sensitive skin and frequent bathing may cause irritation and dryness. If you have found this in your baby, take a look at Lansinoh’s Earth Friendly Baby skin care range that is designed especially for newborns.
How to Top and Tail a Baby
The top and tail baby technique refers to cleaning your baby without a bath. You just have to give a quick wipe to their face, hands, neck, and bottom with cotton wool or sponge.
How Often Do You Bathe a Newborn
As mentioned above, your newborns’ skin is very sensitive and can dry out with regular bathing. It is therefore recommended to give them a top and tail bath until their umbilical cord falls off. Once that has healed, you can give bathe your baby 2-3 times a week.
When to Start Bathing Baby Daily
As your baby grows older, they’ll get messier and therefore will need more regular baths. Generally, for the first 12 months, it’s best to bathe them 2-3 times a week, and if necessary, more than that. But after 12 months, your baby won’t be as prone to skin irritation and dryness so you can start bathing them every day.
When Can You Use Bath Products on a Baby
For the first 12 months, it’s best to avoid using any bath products as they tend to dry out the dry. Lansinoh has an organic range that you can use from 12 months onwards, designed specifically for babies skin.
Baby Bath Routine
Instead of bathing your baby any time of the day, it’s best to create a routine by blocking out a specific time of the day without any distractions so you can focus on your baby and make their experience fun and safe. Some essentials you need before bathing your baby are:
- Baby bathtub
- Warm water
- Bath toy
- Cotton wool or sponge
- Fresh nappy
- Clean clothes
- Toiletries (try our Earth Friendly BabyHappy Mandarin Shampoo and Body wash. With its cheerful aroma, it is mild enough for daily use and ideal for nourishing baby’s dry, sensitive skin)
- Bath support for your baby so that you have two hands free to concentrate on having a fun time
Step by Step of How to Bathe Your Baby
- Start off being holding your baby on your knees and clean their face.
- Hold them over the bath/bowl and wash their hair.
- Dry their hair, remove their nappy if not already done to clean any mess.
- Slowly place them in the water by holding their upper arms to support their head and shoulders.
- Swish the water over your baby avoiding their face and head. Once you’re happy with their bath, remove them from the tub and pat them dry.
How to Make Bath Time Fun
Here are a few well tested tips on how to make your baby’s bath time fun:
- Choose a time when you’re feeling relaxed and not rushed; bathing should be a fun time for you and your baby. You could choose this time to be after a vigorous playtime so your baby is in need of a sit down!
- Don’t bathe your baby straight after a feed or when she/he is hungry or really tired.
- Take time to make sure the environment is comfortable, nice and warm, no draughts.
- Involve dad or your partner as it’s a great opportunity to have special bonding time.
- Get everything ready before you start as it is crucial that you don’t leave your baby unattended in the bath at any time.
- Remember when you get your baby out of the bath he/she is going to enjoy being wriggly and wet so hold on tight to your sweet smelling slippery baby.
- You could put a towel around your baby, and offer a breastfeed to help keep them still whilst you dry him/her.
- In the bath your baby can help to wash themselves and will also enjoy lying down and swishing around, so make sure the water level doesn’t come past their ears. You can teach them to start learning to wash his/her hair.
- Your baby will also enjoy pouring water over their head – plenty of bath time toys that help with washing and rinsing are a must.
Can You Bathe With Your Baby?
Yes! You can bathe with your baby as long as it’s safe to do so, meaning, you’re following all safety precautions. Bathing with your baby is a great bonding activity as it increases the skin-to-skin contact with your little one.
Benefits of Co Bathing With Baby
If you feel that your baby may benefit from a bath, why don’t you take your baby into the tub with you? Baby baths are awkward to fill; to use or bend over the bath. Lifting them onto a safe surface should be avoided, especially if you have had a caesarean section or simply want to look after your back. Sharing a bath together can be lots of fun and also helps with breastfeeding.
Sharing bath time together has lots of benefits:
- It is relaxing for both you and your baby. You get to soak in the tub while enjoying some skin to skin with your little one.
- It can be a lovely winding down period for both of you, especially after a busy or unsettled day and may even help with bedtimes.
- It is a great way for you and your nursling to touch base and have a peaceful breastfeed. Skin to skin boosts all those milk-making hormones.
- Helps your let-down, which can help your little one breastfeed.
How to Bathe With Baby
You may wonder if bathing with your baby is more effort than it is worth, considering you will both be wet by the end of it, but be assured, it can be a lovely, relaxing, feel-good, hormone-boosting experience for both of you. Here’s a few things to take note of:
- Be prepared. Get the bathroom lovely and warm, heat some big towels over the radiators and have your clothes ready for both you and your baby. You might even want to light a candle and dim the lights a little. ‘Top and Tail’ your baby before co-bathing.
- If your baby is very hyper, use our Calming Lavender Bubble Bathto calm them a little.
- Whether you have a helper or not you could put a small towel on the bottom of the bath to prevent you from slipping.
- Make sure the water is close to body temperature and both of you are comfortable. Fill your bath so that the water reaches around halfway up your bent legs as you lay back.
- Lay the baby on your legs, facing you. That way you can make eye contact and easily pour water over your baby’s body, perhaps from a little jug or by squeezing water from a washcloth.
- If you would like to nurse your baby in the bath, you may have to sit up a little to keep your breast above the water level. You can then either lay your baby tummy to tummy with you and latch them on or use a cradle hold, whatever seems most comfortable. Watch the water level to make sure your baby’s face stays clear.
- When you are both ready to come out, wrap your little one up while you dry yourself. Enjoy your post bath bliss.
Preparation is key to making bathing together an enjoyable experience. It can leave mum feeling relaxed and refreshed, as well as creating some lovely opportunities to deepen the bond between mum and baby. For babies, it can help them to feel safe and secure.
Baby Bath With Support
It is definitely easier to have someone around to pass your baby when you have got into the bath as well as receive them when you want to get out. However, if you are on your own and want to bathe with your baby then it is important you take the following steps:
- Put baby in a bouncy chair or car seat
- Get into the bath
- Lift baby from their seat
Sitting down ensures you have a safe stance before picking your baby up. Put baby back into their seat before you get out of the bath.
Now that you know how to safely bath your newborn as well as co-bathing with them, shop our range of baby organic skincare to make their bathing experience even more fun and relaxing. Feel free to also check out our blog for more parenting advice.