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How to bathe a newborn

How to Bathe a Newborn 101

When bathing a newborn there are several things to keep in mind. I go over when, how, and helpful products. I also include 3 tips that will help make bathtime fun and stress-free from Day 1!  

When to Bathe a Newborn

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You don’t need to bathe your newborn every day. They aren’t getting dirty crawling around on the ground! However they might be getting a bit stinky due to spit up, diaper blowouts, and the crumbs you are dropping on their head when you snack while breastfeeding. You can bathe newborn 2-3 times a week. Any more than that can dry out their skin so you want to be very careful.

How to Bathe a Newborn

You can bathe a newborn two different ways: you can do a traditional baby bath setup where baby is almost completely submerged (keeping their head above water at all times) or by doing a sponge bath.

Sponge Bath Method

I personally didn’t prefer the sponge bath method because it never really seemed to fully take care of the sour breast milk smell that my daughter would get around her neck. However, it’s important to note that my daughter’s umbilical cord fell off extremely early. Before the first week was over. I think around 4 days. If your baby’s umbilical cord has not fallen off you need to be careful not to submerge their belly in the water.

How to Give a Sponge Bath

Gather together your supplies. Fill a bowl with clean lukewarm water. Using a clean washcloth with a little water and soap on it start washing your newborn from their head down to their nose, saving their bottom and genitals for the end. You can then wipe your newborn down with another clean, wet washcloth to remove any soap. Make sure not to wash the umbilical cord and try to keep it dry.

How to give a regular Newborn Bath

I found that using this sink insert was the easiest way to bathe my daughter when she was a newborn. It allowed me to stand at the sink to bathe her which was a welcome relief from bending over the bathtub. I also really loved the flower cushion because she always looked so sweet and cozy when taking a bath. It also held her in place really well and I didn’t have to worry about her slipping under water every 5 seconds. Find it on Amazon here!

After about 2 months I moved onto using this baby bathtub. I really liked that it had three positions. The first is the newborn sling which I used once or twice. Another position allowed for a nice recline and the other allowed her to sit up with support. I started with the recline position and then eventually moved her to the sitting side. The other benefit with this type of bathtub is that you are not wasting precious water filling up the bottom of your bathtub. Now I live in Southern California and we have been suffering from a drought for years and years. Water is a precious resource around here so I liked that I wasn’t wasting lots of water when giving her a bath a few times a week.

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How to Bathe a newborn Tip 1: Warm up the room

Newborn babies cannot regulate their body temperature. Since you are going to be getting them wet be sure to warm up the room first. If you have central heating this should be easy to do. We don’t have central heating so we used a space heater in the kitchen on bath days.

For reference, our daughter was also born in January which made things a bit chilly. If you have a summer baby you might not have to worry about this at all!

How to Bathe a Newborn Baby Tip 2: Gather all your supplies together first

You will want to gather all your supplies before you begin the bath so that you aren’t frantically running around with a crying wet baby. Gather together

How to Bathe a Newborn Baby Tip 3: Start creating bedtime associations early

I rave about the bedtime routine I started with my daughter around 3 months. I only wish I had started it sooner. It doesn’t hurt to start sleep associations early on. A bath is a great sleep associate because it is warm and soothing.

Tips on how to bathe a newborn
Newborn Bath Time Tips
Tips and tricks for bath time
Tips and tricks for bath time with newborn
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