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How to Bath a Newborn and How Often

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Bath time is bonding time.

Bath time is bonding time. It’s the moment in the day when you get to take a little time out and introduce your little one to the water. Let us help you set up your bathroom with all the clean and caring essentials that you'll come to rely on time and again with every baby bath. This is our no-nonsense guide to everything you need (and nothing you don’t) to help make bath time relaxing, calming and fun.

Best ways to bathe a baby?

This all depends on your home set up. If you have a bath tub you can bathe your baby in it from day one using your hands, or a bath seat as support. If you don't have a bath or are more comfortable standing to bathe them, you can use a newborn baby bath. These allow you more freedom to use baby face wash and baby bath wash with a baby wash mit to clean your baby while they they are supported in the newborn baby bath.

Do you feed a baby before or after a bath?

"Bath, bottle, bed", is the go-to evening routine recommended for babies. It means you give them a bath, dress them ready for bed, give them a milk feed (either a breastfeed of from a bottle) and then pop them to bed for the evening. This nightly routine is designed to encourage a calming wind-down from the day and to encourage life-long relaxation techniques. Feeding while their warm from the bath will also encourage sleep and make sure they are nice a full, and able to sleep for longer. Once they have started eating solids, give them dinner before the bath, because they get pretty messy trying to eat, and follow with the routine as above.

When should I bathe a baby?

There is no rule, and if your baby has vomited, wet through their clothes or had a nappy blow-out, you may want to bath them ASAP. A night-time bath routine, as previously outlined has additional benefits of contributing to a nighttime wind down and relaxing your baby, but you should do it when works for you.

How often to bathe a newborn?

Before you launch into bathing routine, you don’t actually need to give them a proper bath until their umbilical cord stump heals. This often takes around a month, so during this time you can keep them clean with a little sponge bath rather than getting them into the tub. Once their skin has healed, you will generally only need to bathe them around 2-3 times a week. This is because they rarely sweat and aren’t playing outside and getting dirty. If they enjoy it, you can bathe them daily. Any more often than this can dry out their delicate skin.

What is the right newborn baby bath temperature?

Okay so you know how to bathe them and how often, but the missing piece is what temperature to do it in. A baby bath should be between 37°C and 38°C, allowing you to keep them warm but not too hot. It’s important to check the temperature of their bath before submerging them into the water and to make sure the temperature stays warm throughout their bath.

How do I bathe a baby?

Let’s talk about the number one question we’re sure you’re do you actually bathe a baby? Start by preparing the bathroom and make sure it’s nice and warm. Turn your phone off to minimise distraction and make sure you have everything you need in the room.

Here are basic steps for giving your baby a bath:

  1. Put a non-slip bath mat on the bathroom floor and one in the bath or a baby bath support if using a standard bath. If using a baby bath, place it on a secure, flat surface.
  2. Fill the bath with warm water (37°C or 38°C), filling the tub just enough water to wash your baby. For babies who can sit up, fill the bath to the depth of their belly buttons. Turn off the tap and test the water with your wrist or a thermometer (way more specific).
  3. Gently lower your baby into the bath, keeping a hand on your baby at all times.
  4. If bathing your baby in the big tub, kneel down or sit on a low stool so that you don’t hurt your back.
  5. Use a soft washcloth or mit to gently clean your baby’s face, then their neck and body, leaving the bits and bottom until last (always wipe front to back for baby girls).
  6. Shampoo your baby’s hair last (you need to do this only once or twice a week). To do this, lie baby on their back and gently rinse their hair. Using a rinser with a soft spout can make this easier and stop water and shampoo going into their eyes.
  7. Gently lift your baby out of the bath and wrap them in a soft dry towel to keep them warm.
  8. Pat dry instead of rubbing them as their skin is super sensitive.

What bath products do I need for a newborn bath?

These are the essentials you need to help you when it comes time to bathing your little one. No long lists in sight, just the absolute need-to-haves to make it as relaxing as possible for both of you.

1. Baby Bath Tub

Whether you've got a normal bathtub or just a shower, a Shnuggle baby bath as it’s portable, comes with its own plug, is comfy with a foam back, and safe with a bum bump and rubber feet to help stop your little one slipping. For more advice on how to choose a baby bath, we have a whole article on what to look for here.


2. Baby bath jug

Next up, you’re going to want to invest in a bath jug to help you wash your little one’s hair without getting water all in their face. Keep it practical with the Shnuggle bath jug. They’ve thought of everything with even a soft contoured edge to rest gently against their face. If you’re trying to minimise on ‘stuff’, double-up bath toys with your jug and go for these super cute Skip Hop bath buckets.


3. Baby Bath Thermometer

One of the most searched questions on Google when it comes to bathing babies is what temperature should their bath be? Eliminate the guesswork and just invest in a little bath thermometer. Oricom has nailed it with this nifty little crocodile bath toy that also measures the temperature.


4. Baby Bath Towels

Sometimes it’s the little things that are the ones you end up forgetting, so make sure you stock up on some baby sized bath towels. We always recommend hooded bath towels, as you lose most of your body heat through your head. Keep your newborn warm when you take them out of their bath and put them into an adorable jersey face cloths from Nature Baby. They’re made from 100% organic cotton and are ultra fast drying. You can even use them when feeding your bub to wipe up any accidents.


5. Body Wash

Baby skin is really sensitive, so don’t go using your normal body wash on them. Stock up on some body wash specifically designed for little ones to keep their skin soft and nourished. Bunjie makes natural based skin care for bubs including body wash, shampoo and more. Try their Born to be Mild wash formulated with with soothing Aloe Vera and nourishing Moringa Oil.


6. Baby Bath Toys

Okay, they’re not strictly essentially, but they sure help to make bath time fun. You can ditch them if you’ve got a newborn, but as soon as your baby is able to sit up by themselves (around the 6 month mark), we recommend investing in a few little toys. Stimulate your baby’s imagination with Boon’s bath fleet and let them play with water with their bath pipes.


Did you know lists are totally our thing? That’s right, we make downloadable, printable lists for you to check off each item as you go and help make this whole having a baby thing that little bit easier. Download our bathing list now. You can also discover our full bathing collection. Liked this article? Take a read of how to choose a baby bath now.

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