How Often Should You Bath Your Baby? Step-by-Step Advice for Bathing Your Newborn
20 January 2017
How often should you bath your baby? It’s a hotly debated topic but the bottom line is that there’s no definitive answer. The frequency of bathing comes down to personal circumstance, or even something as seemingly trivial as where you live (for example, if you live in a hard water area, water from the tap is more likely to damage/dry out baby’s skin).
2-3 times a week is generally accepted as the average amount for newborns and while parents will differ depending on their situation, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to bath baby every day. This can be increased the older they get and the more they start to enjoy bath time.
Top & Tail
If you’re reluctant to bath too often, rest assured you can ‘top and tail’ baby. This involves a thorough clean from head to toe, without having to get them in the bath. Wash their face and bottom with a bowl of warm water and a soft cloth or cotton wool. It’s best to start at the top. If you start at the ‘bottom’ your cloth is likely to be dirtier by the time you get to baby’s face. For extra soft skin, we recommend Johnson’s Baby Lotion, which is a great moisturiser for baby’s delicate skin.
‘Topping and Tailing’ can be done every day or every other day, and is a more than adequate method of keeping baby clean in between baths.
B&M Top Tip: make sure your baby is well fed and not too tired before you bathe them. Bath time can be enough to tackle without a tired and hungry infant to contend with.
How to bath your baby
Our step-by-step guide to a safe bath time with your baby is easy to follow. Of course, you should tailor baby’s bath to your own needs and circumstances, but this should act as a guide to what can be a very fun and intimate routine:
Step 1: A warm room
Ensuring the room is warm enough is almost as important as getting the water temperature right. Tiny babies get cold much quicker than adults, so it’s important that the room is warm enough to keep the shivers away when they get out.
Step 2: Be prepared
Make sure you have everything you need before you start, including towels, nappies, clean clothes, cotton wool, baby powder, baby wipes and baby oil. You should never leave baby in the bath unattended, even for a few seconds so be prepared before bath time.
Step 3: Fill the bath
Never fill the tub with hot water first. Even if you then put cold water in, the bath itself can heat up and stay hot for a minute or so. To avoid burnt bottoms, start with cold water and fill up to a height of 10cm (approx.).
Step 4: “Just right”
Then you can add hot water till the water temperature is (in the words of little Goldilocks) “just right”. Use your wrist or elbow to check the water is warm, and remember to check up and down the bath. One end might be hotter than the other.
Step 4b (Optional): ‘Top and tail’ before bathing
Step 5: Take the plunge
Now for the difficult bit! Some babies won’t like bath time, so lowering them contentedly into water can be a challenge. One method is to lower them in with one of your arms behind their shoulders and neck, and to hold their outside arm with your other hand. Once in the bath, you can use this hand to wash them.
Step 6: Drying off
After a good clean, your baby will be slippery so take good care when taking them out of the bath. Use your free arm to support under their bottom while holding their legs. Make sure to dry your baby’s skin folds too – ignoring them can lead to irritation and sores.
B&M Top Tip: why not kill two birds with one stone? Bathing with your baby is a convenient way to physically bond with your infant while saving time. It’s important that your partner is present to help you get baby in and out of the bath – it’s dangerous to attempt this on your own!