How to Wash a Newborn Baby? – Leave Science, Master the Art!
If you thought giving a wash to a newborn baby would be the same as bathing yourself, you might be wrong. Babies come with their specific needs and want.
Not only do you have to clean and wash them, but you also have to provide constant entertainment and comfort. Or else? Your wailing and screaming baby will make giving them a proper bath impossible.
Luckily, there are various tips, and tricks moms and experts swear by that help wash a newborn. So, the next time you’re in the bath with your baby, none of you have to start crying for help.
Washing A Newborn Baby – What’s the Art?
Newborns are usually covered in vernix when they are delivered. This white, creamy substance is packed with nutrients to protect and smooth out the baby’s skin. Ideally, you should keep the vernix on your infant’s skin for 24 hours or at least 6 hours after birth, according to the World Health Organization.
So, washing a newborn should be delayed to after 24 hours of their life. Once your baby passes that stage, you can wash them properly. Again, sponge bath and top and tail are alternate methods if washing a one-day-old seems intimidating.
Another thing to keep in mind is the umbilical stump of your baby. Ensure the stump is dried correctly and covered with a tissue when they bathe.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s move on to how to wash your baby. Head to the next section!
Set up a Washing Place for Your Newborn Baby First!
Setting up a washing space means getting the things ready to wash your baby. Simply, it means a dedicated space where you keep the bathtub, washing products, and other bathing essentials. You can dedicate a small corner of the washroom, and you won’t have to take everything out each time you bathe them.
Asking the following questions can also help:
Will you lay your baby in a bathtub or wash them in a vast bucket?
Are you alone, or will you have help cleaning your kid?
Can your baby hold their head up?
All these questions will determine how you proceed with their wash routine. In the following two sections, we’ve covered all the essential items you need and how to wash your baby. Keep reading to find out.
Essential Things to Buy for a Newborn Baby Wash
The idea of washing a baby can be frightening for new parents, especially if the infant is under four months old and can’t sit up yet. Luckily there are tons of products in the market which may help you ease into bathing your kid. Bathing your baby will become a fun experience once you get the hang of it.
So, here are some essential things you can invest in for a baby wash:
First and most important is baby wash products. It includes soaps, shampoos, body washes, etc. Although your baby might not get much dirty, cleaning them correctly is vital. They might spit up, vomit, burp, or puke curdled milk, which may cause rashes if it’s not cleaned off.
Additionally, the creases in their necks, arms, and legs trap dirt and germs even if they stay indoors. So, always get high-quality and preferably organic washes for your little one. The products should also be free of added chemicals and toxins.
A bathtub is necessary if your baby can’t hold their head or sit up. Tubs specially designed for baby baths will provide added support to tackle an infant and prevent slipping. You can invest in a high-quality plastic bathtub that’ll last longer than others. You can also lay a bath towel inside the tub to prevent slips and falls.
Most of the baby tubs come with head support and are customized to every age group’s size. Get the one that fits your baby for an elevated and safe wash experience.
Although you can use your hands to wash your baby, a washcloth can do that job better. Mainly because a washcloth lathers pretty well and can reach every crease and corner. A washcloth also helps properly clean hard-to-reach areas without being too harsh on the baby’s skin.
Get a few microfibre wash clothes in various sizes to wash and clean your kid gently. Also, don’t forget to machine wash the cloth and dry it under the sun to prevent dirt and bacteria from getting trapped.
Baby towels are vital after your clean and wash your kid. It is because trapped water and damp skin are perfect breeding grounds for skin irritation, redness, and rashes. Buy at least two towels for post-shower drying. Also, get a few hooded ones to keep the baby warm and cozy. Also, wash your baby’s towel separately from the rest.
You can give your baby a few bath toys when they are old enough to sit. Rubber ducks, balls, and other toys specifically designed for water play are available in the market. These are especially helpful if your baby doesn’t like sitting in water or starts crying.
Additionally, toys make the whole experience fun and memorable for kids, so they look forward to it rather than dreading a bath.
A bath thermometer ensures the water is not too hot or cold. The average water temperature for bathing kids is 37 to 38 degrees Celcius. You can use a thermometer to check if the readings are within the range.
Also, a thermometer will always be helpful if you live in cold places. It will help prevent colds and flu in small kids. Although you can check the water temperature by dipping your hands or elbows, a thermometer is still useful and efficient. If you are still Pregnant, and wondering what the ideal temperature is right for YOU – Then read here 🙂
Creams and Lotions
After-bath care is just as critical as the wash routine. Water and bath products can dry out the baby’s sensitive skin. In that case, a moisturizing lotion will help with the dryness and add moisture back to the skin.
Like wash products, creams should also be specially designed for baby skin. Once you lather lotion on your kid, keep them clothes-free for a few minutes to let it absorb into the skin.
5 Easy Steps to Wash Your Newborn Baby
Washing a baby can get tricky. Babies can be a handful whether they are a few months old or have crossed their first year. The constant turning, wriggling, and sliding may risk falls and injuries.
So, to make your life easy and ensure your little one is safe, we’ve rounded down a five-step baby wash routine. Here’s what first-time parents need to keep in mind:
Set up a Mat
Bathtubs and toilet floors are slippery, especially when wet. Washing younger babies can be tough, especially if they can’t sit up. So, always lay down a nonslip bath mat on the bathtub and washroom floor.
The mat will also provide added support to hold your baby firmly while washing. You can lay a towel on the floor if you don’t have a dedicated bath mat.
Check the Water Temperature
Don’t lay your baby without filling the bathtub. Depending on your child’s age, pour water in the tub to cover them slightly. Don’t fill in too much, as it can be risky.
Next, run the tap and check the water’s temperature afterward. The ideal temperature is between 37 to 38 degrees Celsius, and you can use a thermometer to be safe. Alternatively, you can also put in your elbow to ensure the water is neither too hot nor too cold.
Lower Your Baby Gently
Once the bath mat is laid and the water temperature is set, it’s time to put your baby in. Undress them carefully and wash their bottoms first. Then, hold them using both hands and gently lower them into the tub.
Make sure not to make sudden or fast movements, as it can scare babies. Before washing them, give them a few moments to get comfortable. You can also put their favorite rubber toys in the tub to provide a familiar environment.
When you and your baby are ready, you can start washing them. Get a soft wash cloth and squeeze some baby wash on it. Lather it up using warm water, and you’re good to go. Then, start by washing their feet and legs and gradually work your way up.
Please note that some baby products may contain harmful chemicals. So, look up the ingredients list before buying any baby item. Also, use a small quantity to prevent skin irritation or redness.
Once you’ve cleaned your baby and washed away the soap, take them out of the bathtub. Then, lay them on a clean, dry towel and wrap it around their head and body.
Drying is vital because damp skin in the bottom can cause rashes. Therefore, pat dry your baby and ensure all their creases are free from trapped water or soap. You can apply lotion and rash creams or let them enjoy the diaper-free time.
Lastly, put weather-appropriate clothes on your baby to prevent cold and flu.
Young babies who can’t hold their heads up must be cautiously washed. Hold their heads up with one hand and wash with the other. You can also ask for help if your baby is too little. Or you can also follow our top and tail tips below if you’re child is a few days old.
Dry and Dress up Your Newborn Baby After Wash!
Once you wash and dry your newborn baby, dressing up your little one is the next step. We don’t have to tell you how to do that, right? But there are a few pointers to keep in mind. Here comes the fun part of bathing your baby, new cute outfits.
First, don’t ignore the weather before deciding on the outfit. Babies feel cold a little more than adults. Also, their immunity is comparatively low. So, ensure that you pack them well. For starters, newborns should wear full-sleeved clothes even if it’s hot outside.
The general rule is adding an extra layer compared to your wear. For example, if you wear a cotton tee, dress your newborn in a cotton shirt and add a vest underneath.
Put on warm hats, socks, and mittens while taking them out. Also, you can keep them wrapped in a blanket for the initial few days. But, if the weather is chilly, cover your infant from head to toe.
Top and Tail Tips
Topping and tailing are excellent if you don’t want to start putting your newborn in a bathtub. This method not only helps new parents clean their babies but also helps them bond better. Here is a tried and tested topping and tailing routine you can follow:
Take a bowl and fill it with warm water. Also, keep a few cotton pieces next to the bowl.
Lay a towel on a clean and dry surface and lay your baby on top
Start by wetting a cotton piece and squeezing the excess water out.
Then, start cleaning your baby’s face with wet cotton. Once you’re done, discard that piece.
Take another piece and wet it the same way. Clean your baby’s hands and arms.
You can keep changing the cotton for every body part
Lastly, clean your baby’s genitals using fresh cotton and wipe them dry
Cutting Your Newborn Baby’s Nails
Like everything else, your newborn’s nails are also fragile and soft. So, using an adult-sized nail cutter is a big no-no. There are a few options you can choose from to cut your little one’s nails:
Rounded nail scissors
Electric baby nail file
Whichever you choose, please practice caution while trimming a baby’s nail. First, pull the skin around the nail away from their hands and feet. Then, cut the nail straight and trim the edges. You can use an electric nail file to round and smooth the edges.
To prevent your baby from scratching his or her face, check his or her nails every few days.
How to Soothe a Crying Newborn Baby during Washing?
If common for babies to get upset while taking a bath. But there are a few things to remember if you want your kid to enjoy the bath routine. Here’s how you can soothe a crying baby:
Hold them gently and place your hands around their back and on their chest to comfort them
Sing or talk to your baby. It will help calm them down
If they’re old enough, add some bath toys and create a bubble bath
Ensure that they don’t have a cold or flu
Use lukewarm water
Properly feed them before a bath to prevent excessive crying
How to Help a Newborn Enjoy Washing?
Who says baby baths are supposed to be scary and intimidating? In reality, you can make them fun and a happy experience for you and the baby. To do that, keep these tips in mind:
The easiest way to wash your baby without them wailing and crying is to play poems or nursery rhymes on a screen. It will distract and may even calm them
Add some visuals like floating toys, water-squirting bath products, or even bubbles to attract and excite your baby
Don’t lay them on their own. Instead, you can hold them and rub their back for the first few times to provide comfort.
So, we’ve come to the end of the blog. I hope you found it helpful and valuable. Washing a baby may seem intimidating, but you’ll find it easy and fun with some care. Having said that, washing a young baby every day is unnecessary as it can be stripping for their delicate skin. Try the top and tail method between baths to keep them clean and healthy. Also, don’t continue using any product that causes skin irritation. Good luck!
Mardini, J., Rahme, C., Matar, O., Khalil, S. A., Hallit, S., & Khalife, M. F. (2020). Newborn’s first bath: any preferred timing? A pilot study from Lebanon. BMC Research Notes, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-020-05282-0
WHO Recommendations on Adolescent Health: Guidelines Approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee. (2017).
Scruggs, C. E. (2013). Reducing hazardous chemicals in consumer products: proactive company strategies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 44, 105–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.12.005
Here are some baby wash FAQs.
How to wash a newborn with an umbilical cord?
You can use a sponge bath to clean your baby until the umbilical cord falls off. So instead of dipping your newborn in the water, you should wipe their skin with a wet sponge. Bathing a newborn is safe, but it’s a must to dry the stump afterward. So to be safe, we recommend you don’t wet your baby until the stump falls naturally.
How often should I wash a newborn?
Washing a newborn every day is not necessary. You can wash them 3 to 3 times a week. But, if your baby loves washing and playing in the water, you can go up to 5 to 6 times weekly. Going beyond that can cause dryness and may irritate a baby’s skin. Between bathing days, you can clean your baby’s bottom, face, and hands with a soft cotton wipe, water, and mild soap.
When should I wash my newborn for the first time?
According to WHO’s recommendation, you should wait at least 24 hours to bathe your newborn. If that’s not possible, at least 6 hours gaps are necessary between birth and first wash. Try the top-and-tail method if you don’t want to wash your whole body every few days.