Baby bath: Step-by-step guide to give your baby a bath

A lady patting her baby dry after a baby bath.

Newborn babies are so tiny and delicate that the thought of giving them a bath can make first-time moms anxious. Most of us are guided by our elders. In my case, my mother was around after all three deliveries to help me take care of the babies. After the first two kids, I was something of an expert with the third child. So here’s a quick guide for new moms or moms-to-be for giving their little ones a baby bath.

How to give your baby a bath

Paediatricians suggest that we delay the baby’s first bath by a few days. The waxy substance that you see on the baby’s skin is called vernix and it protects the baby from germs in the surroundings. You could give your baby the first baby bath once you bring him or her home. You should ideally start with a sponge bath and move on to a bathtub bath after the baby’s umbilical cord falls off.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to giving a newborn baby a bath:

Sponge bath

Sponge baths can be given to babies until the umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals completely. Don’t forget to grab the camera to record your baby’s first bath!

A mother using a baby sponge for her baby's head.

Things you need:

  • Baby bath sponge/soft and clean washcloth
  • A towel with a hood
  • Warm water in a bowl
  • Clean diaper
  • Clean clothes

Step by step process:

  1. Undress the baby but keep the diaper on.
  2. Wrap your baby in the hooded towel.
  3. Expose only the areas that you will wash, one at a time.
  4. Dip the sponge in warm water and gently cleanse each area. You could start behind the ears, move to the neck, arms, chest, back, and legs. Make sure you clean the creases on the arms, neck, and legs.
  5. Gently clean the baby’s head. This comes after the body so that the baby does not feel cold.
  6. Then, take off the diaper and clean the baby’s stomach and genitals.
  7. Lastly, pat the baby’s body dry. Do not run as that would irritate the baby’s delicate skin.

Bathtub bath

Once the navel has healed, you can start with bathtub baths. Not all babies are okay with the transition so, go back to sponge baths for a few extra days if you feel your baby is uncomfortable with bathtub baths.

Word of caution: Do not ever leave your baby alone in the tub, not even for a second!

A mother carefully giving her newborn a baby bath.

Things you need:

  • A baby bathtub that fits your baby
  • Baby bath sponge/soft and clean washcloth
  • Hooded towel
  • Warm water
  • Baby soap and shampoo
  • Clean diaper
  • Fresh clothes

Step by step process:

  1. Fill the tub with about 2-3 inches of warm water.
  2. Undress the baby and slowly lower him or her into the water while supporting the head.
  3. Cleanse your baby by using handfuls of water.
  4. Use small amounts of soap and shampoo.
  5. Initially, you can use the sponge for the face and head and move on to the rest of the body. Once your baby gets used to the water, you can start using water for the face and head too.
  6. When you use water for the face and head, make sure you protect the baby’s eyes with your hands held across the forehead.
  7. To keep your baby from feeling cold, put handfuls of water on his or her chest constantly.
  8. Lastly, pat the baby dry and apply a moisturiser after.

So this is how to bathe a baby. It may seem like a lot to do when it’s listed out but with a few baths, you will definitely get the hang of it? How did you manage to give your baby a baby bath? Did you need any help or did you do it yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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