Baby Bathing Basics

It’s your first time to bathe your newborn all by yourself. The nurses from the hospital showed you how to do it, but now they are gone. Don’t worry! You can do it. If possible, wait until there’s someone else to help you and you’ll feel even better about the whole thing. It’s going to become second nature to you very quickly and you’ll be bathing your little one by yourself in no time.

Gather the following supplies: a baby bath tub that fits in the sink, a wash cloth, a bath towel or baby’s hoodie towel, and a bottle of baby bath. That’s all you need and you’re ready to head over to the sink.

Bathe a newborn in the kitchen sink for a couple of reasons. First, it’s easier for you since you won’t have to bend over a bath tub. Second, it’s easier for you to maneuver and hold on to baby in her bathtub in the sink.

Rid the sink of any dishes and then place the baby bathtub in the sink. Fill it with warm water, about two inches high. That’s all you need. You don’t want to fill the bathtub too much as babies can squirm around and also don’t need a lot of water to be washed. Their bodies are so little.

Stores do sell baby bath water thermometers. If you are a first time mom and worried about not getting the temperature of the water right, go out and get yourself one. You may have even gotten one for your shower. It’s basically just a cute shaped thermometer with markings that tell you if the water is too hot for baby. You can also test the water the old fashioned way by putting your elbow into the water. If it feels right to your elbow—not too hot or too cold—then it will be perfect for baby’s soft skin.

Place baby in the bath tub. From this point on, you are anchored to the sink. You can’t answer the phone if it rings, or the doorbell, or attend to a barking dog. Your mind is now 100% focused on baby so she doesn’t slip down into the water.

Keep your hand on baby at all times. There will only be an inch of water, but it can be enough to cause a baby to drown if left unattended. Be cautious but not terrified. You’re right there holding baby, so all will be well.

Next take the washcloth and dunk it into the bath water. Put a dime-sized squirt of baby bath on the washcloth and start washing baby. Wash her head by rubbing it gently with the soap. Then continue down baby’s body. Wash under the folds of the neck where milk can accumulate. Wash between little toes and fingers, too. Don’t turn the water on to rinse baby. You don’t want to scald her. Instead, just gently use the wash cloth to rinse her by drizzling the bath water over her.

Talk to baby as you bathe her. She’ll start to look forward to baby bath time with you. Baths can be short and sweet, and should be, for newborns. Prolonged exposure to the water will give her the chills. So dress her in her pjs or outfit for the day right away.

Don’t use a blow dryer on baby’s head. Her hair is probably so fine that it needs little more than a light towel dry. You don’t want all that hot air from the dryer to scald her sensitive skin. Comb her hair with a tiny baby brush.

When you’re all done dressing baby, lay her down on her back to sleep in her bassinette or place her in her baby swing while you go dump out the bath water. You’ll need the sink again soon and you’ll want the space cleared. Keep the bathing supplies nearby so you don’t have to run around looking for them next time.