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Beginners Guide To Your Baby's First Bath

Beginners Guide To Your Baby's First Bath
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While it's true that babies are born with their built-in soap (called vernix caseosa), that doesn't mean they don't need help washing off some other things too! So let's skip the drama and get down to what matters here: how do I get my baby clean for the first time without making us both crazy?

When to Give Your Baby a Full Bath for the First Time

After the umbilical cord stump falls off, usually within a week or two, you can take your baby into the bathtub with you. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that while using soap is not necessary to clean your baby’s skin and hair, it can help remove dirt and oil. But it cautions against using products besides mild soap on the newborn’s face or scalp until the umbilical cord stump falls off (usually within two weeks).

When your baby reacts positively to his first bath, follow the same steps the next time you bathe him. If he resists, try again a few days later. You may have to remind yourself that you're not forcing your baby into anything and giving him an excellent opportunity to learn about the world around him. Your efforts will pay off when he grows up and realizes how much fun bathing is!

What you'll Need For Your Baby's First Bath

When you're about to have a baby, the thought of giving them their first bath might fill you with dread. It's understandable; after all, how on earth do you know how much water is too or not enough? And what if they scream while they're in there? Will they drown? Is it safe? Well, we're here to tell you that bathing your newborn is one of the most magical things ever. But before we get ahead, let's discuss what items will be helpful when that time comes.

Soft Hand Towels

Please use soft hand towels for drying your baby. Avoid drying their bodies with heavily-patterned bath towels or washcloths that could scratch their skin.

Baby Bath

The baby bath should be large enough to hold your baby securely. It should also have a safety belt or strap to keep them secure, as well as a raised edge that will help prevent them from slipping out when you put them in the tub.

Baby Bath Support

This product keeps your newborn's head out of the way, helping them have a good time during their first bath. 

Rubber Bath Mat

A must-have! The bath mat will not only help you keep your baby safe, but it can also protect the floor from water and prevent slipping. 

How to Bathe Your Newborn

Make sure the room is warm before you undress the baby.

You can even put a towel over their feet and legs to keep them warm. If this isn't enough to keep your little one comfortable, you may also want to wrap them in a blanket or put a heating pad under the towel. If none of these measures work for you, consider using something like a hot water bottle instead of a heating pad (to avoid burns).

Bathe, bathe, bathe!

Gently lower your baby into the water, supporting his head and neck with one hand. Wash your little one's face and body with warm soapy water; careful not to get soap in his eyes. Pour clean water over his body with a cup.

Pat his body dry.

You can use a soft, clean washcloth to pat your baby dry after the bath gently. To blot them dry, wrap the towel around their body and use gentle pressure to absorb moisture. Be careful not to rub or pat too hard — it's best for babies' skin if you never rub or scrub them with anything rough.

Oils, lotions, and powders…

Before changing your baby with cute newborn baby boy clothes, some caregivers also like to finish up their bath by using oils and powders on their newborns' skin. Many parents will apply some oil or lotion right after the bathtub session has ended—this is more common for babies who are going through that "baby acne" stage where they have these tiny red pimples all over their faces (you may have noticed this during your first few months). 

Keep in mind that no scientific studies are proving that applying lotion after bathing improves skin health any better than just letting it air-dry would do; however, many people still prefer doing so as an additional layer of protection against eczema flare-ups or other problems with sensitive skin types.


Depending on when you decide to have the first bath, you will either have a calm, alert experience working with an awake baby, or you could be dealing with a lethargic or fussy little person who wants nothing to do with the water.


It's natural for new parents to want to get their baby's first bath over, but remember that it's a process. Bathing a newborn is an intimate activity, and there's nothing better than getting them clean.

Luke Jordon

Luke Jordon, author

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