Baby’s First Bath: What You Need to Know

baby's first birth guide

One of the things you will need when you have a newborn is to plan for the baby’s first bath. You must research when to wash the baby, the right temperature, and the items you will need to wash the baby.

When a baby is born, they bring joy to the mother and the family. The child opens the eyes and cries to indicate that it has landed in an exciting world.

The mother, on the other hand, finds herself with another member of the family. She immediately gets preoccupied with the things she will need to do to give the child the best.

One of the things that she must grapple with is how to keep the baby clean, including how to take the first bath, especially if it’s her firstborn.

If you are a first-time mother, you need not worry; even if there is no one around to help you, you can still administer the baby’s first bath tips. Firstly, ensure that you get all the essential baby gear.

Also, there are many other questions you must provide answers to before you start the work. For instance, when should the baby’s first bath be or take place?

Should you organize a baby bath for the first week? What is the ideal temperature for a baby’s first bath? What is the ideal newborn first bath age?

Also, find out what to do for the baby’s first bath.  Lastly, do you feed the baby before or after a bath?

Evidently, the baby will need to be bathed after some time. So, the mother may need to determine whether to bathe the baby in a bathtub or a sink.

Firstly, the parent must ensure that the baby is ready for a bath. That is why baby bath Mother care may be vital.

Here are some of the things you may do: 

Decide What to Use for Baby’s First Bath

Sink inserts could be the best option if you’re short of space or you have traveled. But, you will need to follow the steps, including ensuring that the water is not too hot.

Preparation – How to Bath an Infant without a Baby Tub

Before you give the baby’s first bath at home, you must ensure that the umbilical cord stubs are dry.

So, you will need to wait until it is fallen off before you consider washing the baby.

Buy a Bathtub

If you want your baby to enjoy the baby’s first bath after delivery, use a baby bathtub or a sink.

Also, you may need to consider buying a whale bubble bathtub. It could be the best option for you if you can afford it.

It is soft and supportive. Also, it deflates and makes it easy to fold, so it is ideal for traveling.

Gather the Bath Supplies

Before you start bathing the baby, try to gather all the supplies you will need. Ensure that you can easily reach them while bathing the baby.

Things like a washcloth, plastic cup, and mild soap should be within an arm’s reach. Lastly, have the diaper, fresh clothes, and towel within your arms reach.

Once you have everything ready, fill the sink or bathtub with water. The depth of the water should be a couple of inches.

Undress the baby and gently put it in the bath. Insert the feet first and use your hand to support the neck and the head.

You may be wondering the type of baby first bath soap to use. Use small amounts of mild soap to wash the body.

Ensure the neck remains supported throughout the washing process. Once you are through with the washing, you may use a warm water cup to rinse the soap off.

Use a clean washcloth to wipe the baby down. Don’t leave the newborn baby in the water while looking for a towel or a dress.

Once you finish washing the baby, use both hands to lift it out of water. Notice that babies can sometimes be a bit slippery, so it may require that you wrap it in towels and use both hands to lift it out of the water. Alternatively, ask yourself, are baby bath seats safe?

Swaddled Bath

If your baby cries while taking a bath, don’t worry. Some babies may not like their baby’s first bath, so find out if your baby doesn’t like bath time.

The solution is to make bathing enjoyable. In such a case, you may need to use the swaddled bath, which mimics the womb’s soothing feeling. 

It entails wrapping the baby in a swaddling blanket before putting it in warm water. You can then bathe the baby by unwrapping parts of their body and washing the unwrapped part.

Also, you may need to rinse and cover it with the wrapping.  It is an ideal baby’s first bath method since it ensures that the newborn is secure and remains swaddled throughout the bathing process.

The method is relaxing and calming and could even be used to help the baby fall asleep.

A Sponge Bath

If you deliver your baby to a hospital, the nurses will help clean the amniotic fluid so there will be no need for a baby’s first bath at the hospital.

But once you bring the baby home, you may need to consider a sponge bath as the baby’s first bath.

This way, it ensures that the drying umbilical cord does not come in contact with water. Start by cleaning the head before moving to the body, hands, and feet.

It is one of the safest ways to ensure that the baby is clean until the umbilical cord falls off.

But as soon as the umbilical cord has fallen off, you may wash the baby by submerging it in warm water. 

Thus, even when you choose to give the child a baby’s first sponge bath, you must have the following supplies at arm’s reach.

  •         A towel or blanket
  •         Warm water
  •         Mild baby soap
  •         Baby towel
  •         Clean diaper
  •         Baby towel
  •         baby washcloths

Bathing the Baby in a Bathtub

baby's first bath

If you choose to wash the baby in a bathtub, follow the following steps:

Fill the tub with water up to 3 inches. Place the tub on a regular bathtub or baby’s first bath in the sink. Undress the baby and lower them into the water.

Support the baby with one hand and place it in the tub. But ensure the head, and the neck is above the water.

Splash the warm water on the body as you continue washing them. It keeps them warm. Use baby washcloths to wipe the scalp. Also, ensure to wash the other parts of the body using warm water.

It’s advisable to use mild soap to clean the body. However, avoid using regular soap because it is too harsh for the skin. Also, avoid using moisturizers during the baby’s first bath.

Washing the Scalp

During the baby’s first bath, it is vital to ensure that you wash the scalp.

You can do this by tipping the baby gently while keeping one hand on the back of the head. Use the other hand to pour the warm water gently.

Hot Water

How hot the water should be is an essential aspect during the baby’s first bath. The water should neither be too cold nor too hot.

An ideal water temperature should be between 35-37°C. You may check the temperature using a bath thermometer.

If you do not have the thermometer, use the wrist and the elbow to confirm that it is not hot.

Check the sides of the tub to see if there is any hot spot. If using a tub, ensure to turn on the cold before filling it with hot water.

You can then turn on the hot water but continue checking the temperature as it fills. If you can, ensure to adjust the water heater so that it does not heat the water beyond 48.8°.

At What Time Should You Administer Baby’s First Bath?

Although most people think that they should bathe the baby in the morning or evening, it is entirely upon you to decide the time.

But one thing you should avoid is bathing the baby after feeding it. Consider giving it a bit of time for the tummy to settle before bathing it.

Hold the baby with one hand and ensure it is safe and comfortable. Use the non-dominant hand to hold it while using the other hand to wash it.

Ensure you support the baby while washing it. Start washing the head and slowly move down to other dirtier parts. But ensure to rinse one part thoroughly before moving to the next part.

Note that there’s nothing wrong if you choose to wash the hair. If you feel it is dirty, wash and massage it gently.

If you have baby shampoo, add a drop to the scalp wash and rinse it. Use a cup of water to rinse the shampoo. Ensure to keep the suds out of the baby’s eyes.

Do not apply the lotion after the baby’s first bath. However, if you feel that the skin is dry, apply a small amount of unscented baby moisturizer.

It helps to soften the dry part. After washing the baby, massage it a little bit before it sleeps.

Once you finish washing the baby, you must use a soft washcloth to wipe it gently. Start with the head before moving to the other parts of the body.

Also, ensure to wipe behind the ears, under the arms, and around the neck. Besides, remember to wipe the genital area carefully.

If you do not have the baby soap, use the scent-free soap. Pediatricians recommend that you avoid using powder because the particles are likely to find their way into the baby’s lungs and cause respiratory issues.


baby massage

After washing the baby, it may be necessary that you give it some massage. A full body massage is soothing and will help to reduce the crying.

Also, it helps the baby to have a peaceful sleep. If correctly done, full-body massaging alleviates problems like colic and constipation.

Also, it is believed that regular massaging helps the baby’s immune system to be alert, and so it quickly fights germs off.

Massaging stimulates the child’s nervous system, which sets off reactions that make the brain produce serotonin.

The production of serotonin will make the baby feel good. Serotonin production means that the body will produce less cortisol, meaning that the level of stress is reduced.

It stabilizes the baby’s heart rate and makes him get more relaxed.

Giving the newborn baby a gentle rubdown will make the child feel ok and help the mother feel in control.

It also helps the mother learn to read signals and devise ways to help her respond to the child’s needs.

However, do not massage the child when it is crying or disoriented. Ensure that the baby is relaxed before you massage them.

Massaging a fussy baby may only cause them to become unhappy. So, ensure to choose the right time to massage the baby. That is why newborn first bath recommendations suggest you do it after bathing them.

To give the child a good massage, start by rubbing below the ribs and massage the tummy in clockwise circular motions. Notice that massaging in the clockwise direction aids digestion.

If you must apply oil, or some lotion, ensure to put just a little of it on your palm before rubbing the hands.

Rubbing the hands together will warm the lotion and make the child enjoy the massage. Once you are done, start by massaging the legs and the thighs first.

As you move to the toes, put a little pressure on them. It would help if you also massaged the toes in a circular motion.

Note that you may not be 100% correct in your first attempt. As such, you will need to practice bathing the little one for a while before you get it right.

So even when you don’t feel that you have done it right on the first attempt, do not be discouraged.

Things You Must Do to Make the Baby Enjoy Their First Bath

It would be best if you made the baby enjoy their first bath. That can help them to overcome fear, eliminate anxiety, and help them get used to bathing.

Here are some of the things you must do to make sure your baby enjoys their first bath.

Ensure the temperature is ok

Just like adults, children will also enjoy a warm bath. So, you will need to learn how to make them enjoy the shower.

It reduces anxiety and helps them conquer fear. But to do this, you need to deploy some tactics that include keeping the water warm.

Make the room warm and cozy

Prepare the room in which you will give the child the first bath. Heat it for at least 10 minutes before you use it.

It ensures that the baby continues to enjoy the warmth as soon as you remove them from the warm water.

Also, it makes the bathing environment welcoming; thus, the kid will always want to visit it all the time.

Water toys

Although they may not be of much value on the first bath, having a few waterproof bath toys alongside baby first bath products in the bathtub is vital.

It makes the baby get used to toys and will make them love being bathed.

Have a routine

The baby’s first bath can take place at any time. However, you must pick the most convenient time.

Remember, it will be vital to wash the baby at almost the same time in the future.

So, if you are always busy in the morning, ensure the baby’s first bath takes place in the evening or afternoon.

Don’t rush

Ensure that the baby’s first bath is not rushed. It is supposed to be friendly, and remember that it is part of the bonding process.

So, it does not matter how long a baby’s first bath takes. If you hurry up, it communicates to the baby that the exercise is not friendly.

Ensure to make the process enjoyable. If you do not know how to sing to the baby, you may need to learn some new songs to make the child enjoy the bath.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know? Share in the comments section below.

Author’s Bio:  Rachel is a therapist and a mother to 2 children, aged 1, and 8. She is passionate about raising kids, healthy lifestyles, and traveling. Rachel enjoys sharing her parenting experience through her writing.