How to bathe a baby step by step
Babies, Bathing & Skincare

How to Bathe a Baby Step-by-Step: The Ultimate Guide | Parenthood4ever

Sharing is caring!

While introducing eight different ways of bathing with newborn without letting your baby cry and sharing more baby bath tips, I realized that there is way more about bathing a baby I want to share.

Remembering myself in my first months of being a mom, I was surprised by everything that used to happen with my child and had no idea how to manage whatever I had to manage. It was all about the learning process. The more questions have been answered, the more have appeared on a daily basis. In other words, I always felt that raising my son was quite similar to when I decided to start my own trading company with zero knowledge in business. The only difference was, in this case, I was responsible for this little human’s life.

What is important to know when you bathe a baby?

Below you will find out everything you need giving a newborn a bath. If you would like to share more tricks of how you did it, please leave your comment below. We would like to know.

When can you give a newborn a bath?

There’s no rush for a newborn baby first bath. In fact, doctors suggest waiting for it. The reason is that vernix caseosa, the waxy coating on newborn’s skin, is a natural moisturizer and cleanser, and it protects against infection. Also, important to note that babies are in general not good at regulating their body temperature, so being bathed doesn’t help.

What to do then? A good towel rub is all that’s needed to remove any amniotic fluid, blood, and meconium. This is what midwives perform right after the child is born.

1. Baby bath in a hospital

Nowadays, many hospitals still bathe babies, it is standard practice for nurses. Parents are usually encouraged to participate. However,

  • Only you as a parent decide whether to bathe a baby or not;
  • Many hospitals perform bathing as an educative aspect. It is more of a teaching and learning experience for new parents.

I and my husband were glad we saw how to bathe a baby, as the midwife explained to us all the details during the process. Though it should be fast for the baby not to get cold. The whole process lasted less than five minutes, including putting clothes on.

My first child was bathed by a nurse in Podoli Hospital in Prague in 38hs after birth. The baby of my roommate had this luxury in 12hs after birth. There are still debates about the golden mean. However, the WHO (The World Health Organization) advises delaying the bath for 24 hours.

2. Baby’s first bath at home

Before your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, it is a good option to give a sponge bath. Usually, it takes seven days to three weeks to get rid of the cord stump. You can use a warm damp washcloth.

First, gently wash one arm and pat it dry, then wash the second one. Do the same with his legs. Wash his face and keep his genital area clean after each diaper change. Also, it is necessary to keep your baby warmly wrapped during his first bath.

Ready for a big bath? How to bathe a baby step by step

When umbilical cord stump dries up, falls off, and you find the area healed properly, your baby is ready for a big bath.

How to wash a newborn

1. Prepare everything for your baby’s first bath

  • Make sure the room temperature is nice and warm (not less than 27°C), so your baby doesn’t get chilled.
  • Place a soap (also, shampoo if you use it), sponge or washcloth, and a rinser bath cup next to the tub.

Read More:

  • Prepare an organic baby towel to receive a baby. I always use one baby towel and then cover my son with a big towel to stay warm after the bath.
  • Set up your baby’s changing table before the bath preparing a set of changing clothes, diapers, nappy cream. I also use special baby ear sticks once a month (though you will need them more when your baby reaches 6 months and up).

For more bathing items, click on the image and check our store designed especially for you and your baby!

Our shop contains products from other companies that we love and use! Everything is based on our values of quality over quantity.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is shop-icon-1-1024x1024.jpeg

  • Fill the tub with the warm right temperature. Use the best baby bath thermometer to make sure the temperature is right. Add 5-10 cm of water, this is more than enough to give a bath to a newborn;
  • Add chamomile to your baby’s bath. For centuries chamomile has been used for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It is such a multi-purpose herb that is often used for anything from colic to soothing irritated skin, teething, or eye conjunctivitis. A chamomile bath may help in relieving diaper rash, encourage peaceful sleep, and soften the skin in general.

Read More: How to make a chamomile bath for babies.

2. Start the baby bath

Undress your baby near the bathing area and gradually place your baby in the tub. Start with his feet first, using one hand to support his neck and head.

3. Keep your baby warm

You can cover his belly with the flannel to keep the baby warm. Also, pour cupfuls of bath water regularly for the same reason.

4. How to wash a newborn

Use the baby soap but not too much to avoid dry skin. Make sure you always support his head. In the beginning, it is better if someone helps to wash and receive him in a towel, because babies are slippery when wet, and well, some practice is required too (at least in my case). You can rinse the soap with cupfuls of water and wipe your baby with a washcloth.

Read More: Baby Bath Products for Eczema

5. Lift him out of the tub

When you lift him out of the tub, make sure one hand supports his neck and head, and the other one – his bottom. Also, wrap your fingers around the thigh for the baby not to slide.

6. Wrap him warm

Wrap your precious little human in a hooded towel. As I said, I usually covered him with another big one and cuddled for a while to keep him warm. Then goes diaper with some cream and clothes. Yay! You have done a great job!

Where to bathe baby?

Pay particular attention to:

  • The genital and nappy areas.
  • The hands and feet.
  • Check between the fingers and toes as well.
  • The folds at the backs of the knees, the neck, and the thighs.
  • The face. If debris has accumulated around her eyes, use a cotton ball to swab it away.
  • Armpits.
  • Behind the ears.

For a visual effect, I found a video that is very helpful:

Babies bath temperature and how to check it

Check the water temperature with a baby bath thermometer. It should be not less than 34°C but not more than 37°C at least for the first 2-3 months. It might seem a bit chill for an adult, however, the newborn got used to such water before birth, as our amniotic fluid has the same temperature of 37°C. The temperature of 38°C can lead to heart palpitations and overheating, while too cold water can scare the baby, and he won’t want to take a bath for a while.

Important: take a look at these 8 practical tips for bathing your baby and keep him calm.

In addition, the water temperature of 37°C prevents the penetration of infections and is useful for children’s skin. Also, the umbilical wound heals much faster.

No thermometer? Here is what to do!

If you do not have a baby bath thermometer, there is another way out!

Use your elbow or backside of the wrist to check on the water. These are the most sensitive parts we have. Leave it there for a minute, if it feels nice and warm – get your baby in a baby bath.

How often should you bathe a newborn?

Babies do not get dirty too fast, in the beginning, 2-3 times per week are more than enough for a newborn. Again, it is up to every parent. Some babies feel warm water very soothing, however, others cry through the whole bath – this is when you would like to get them in and out. A bit later when the baby starts crawling and getting into messes, the bath time can be increased. Also, many parents (including me) tend to give a bath every evening as a bed routine, which is considered to be the best time to bathe newborn. Also, it is a nice way to bond and chat with your child.

How long should I be bathing a newborn for?

In the beginning, it shouldn’t take too long to give a bath to your little one. Five to ten minutes is an optimal time. For this reason, you shouldn’t be scared that water gets cold too fast. Water temperature might drop to 1°C which is not critical at all.

Where to bathe a baby?

You can bathe the baby in a kitchen sink, a baby tub or a standard bathroom tub. It is up to every parent. We used our bathroom sink first, our son was way too small that he fit just right. For us, using the sink was much easier and hustle free. This helped us to learn to hold our baby with one hand and wash with another. I must tell, the first time was scary for me! My hands were shaking, and my heart was pounding when balancing a fragile piece of happiness on my only arm. At least I knew that in the worst-case scenario he won’t go far being locked in one tiny sink.

Read More: 16 Best Bathtubs for Babies, Bath Seats and Supports

Baby Bath Tips

  • If your baby cries through every bath, leave the diaper on at first. It can give her an increased sense of security in the water.
  • Do not make sudden moves. The process should be very peaceful. Before your baby reaches 6-9 months, taking a bath is rather a nice routine before going to bed. Only later it turns to be a fun routine for parents to dry the floor from liters of water.
  • Stay calm and positive. Then your baby will feel the same way. Enjoy every bit with your little one.

For more tips, please, check here.

How to keep your baby safe in a bathtub?

  • Never leave your baby unattended, even for two seconds. Babies can slip under the water without making a sound. Besides, it is a great time to bond and relax even for you, so enjoy it!
  • If you must leave the bathroom while your baby is taking a bath, wrap him in a towel and take him with you.
  • Pay attention to the water temperature.
  • Never leave your child unsupervised. (Yes, it is so important we listed it twice). A child can drown in less than 3 cm of water and in less than 60 seconds.

Enjoy precious moments of taking a bath with your little one!

If you liked our article, please Pin it for later and share with the world:

To get more support from parents and family travelers, join our Parenting Support Group.

And follow us on Instagram to know our crazy expat life!

Also, check out:

Welcome to check out our best product selection for parents and babies, including traveling gear and resources here.
This post may contain affiliate links that we may or may not receive a small commission for, at no extra cost to you. This helps to fund our blog but we never advertise for anything we don’t personally love or recommend. There is never any pressure to buy anything, we just like sharing things that make our life easier and help you find them if it is something you are looking for. Please, see our full disclosure here.

Sharing is caring!

You may also like...

Popular Articles...


  1. Talya Stone says:

    This is such a useful guide – I remember being so nervous about bathing our daughter when she was a newborn and having absolutely no clue that I made my other half do it for the first month!

  2. Lizzy Barlow says:

    I wish I could’ve read this when my son was a newborn! I was super nervous at that stage..great post

  3. I love the tips you have shared here. It is a great guide for new parents.

  4. Laura Sidestreet says:

    Oh I remember these days – my eldest hated water and would scream so much but my youngest absolutely loves water and would chill every time he had a bath

    Laura x

  5. […] baths, the best option is to prepare a chamomile tea and clean your baby using the wet cloth. A sponge bath or using a warm damp washcloth is especially good at the early stages when your baby is up to three months […]

  6. […] how to bathe your baby for the first time? Here is the step-by-step guide, including your bathing time at the hospital, safety tips, and a video […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *