For many new parents, bathing their newborn baby is one of the most stressful parts of parenting.
You know you have to do it, but what water temperature should it be? What if they start crying? There’s so much to think about when caring for a newborn baby.
And while there isn’t one right way to bathe your baby, some best practices and tips can help you feel more confident and comfortable with this routine.
When should I bathe my newborn? You should cleanse your newborn just after birth, and you may also want to wash your baby before leaving the hospital if they are not born with the attached cord.
It’s best to avoid taking baths for the first week or two because of the risk of infection during this period. Bathing more often than once a day will dry your baby’s skin and may irritate the baby.
If you need to wash your baby, use only lukewarm water and mild soap.
Avoid products that contain fragrances, dyes, and other additives that may be irritating to your baby’s sensitive skin.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until at least two weeks after delivery before giving your baby a full bathtub. For now, sponge baths are fine, but if you need help with these instructions, please ask one of our nurses or doctors on staff.
When to give a newborn a bath
Most newborns should be bathed every day. If a baby is not bathed regularly, it may lead to infection, rashes, and dry skin. Bathing a baby helps eliminate dirt and germs that might get trapped in the folds of their skin between baths.
There are three main reasons why bathing your newborn is important:
- Immune System Development – Babies have fragile immune systems at birth, so it’s important to keep them clean, so they don’t get sick as often as adults do when exposed to germs or viruses around them;
- Prevention of Infections (like cradle cap) – This means that if you let things sit on your baby’s body without washing them off, then they will become infected with either fungus or bacteria, which can cause psoriasis later in life if left untreated long enough;
- Avoiding Dry Skin Conditions – If you don’t wash off all the sweat from being born from their skin, then eventually it will build up, causing irritation which might lead to something worse like eczema or even cancer down the road.
How to give a newborn a bath
There are a few different ways to bathe your newborn baby.
The first is the sponge bath method, which involves placing your baby in a tub or sink with water that’s about three inches deep.
You can then use a sponge and washcloth to clean their skin, hair, and face. When washing the baby’s skin, it’s best to use warm or lukewarm water because cold water can make them shiver—and babies don’t like being startled.
If you’d rather wash them in the sink, place them on their back with their head tilted slightly back, so they don’t choke on any water that goes down their throat while washing.
For both methods of bathing your newborn (i.e., full-body immersion or sink), ensure their entire body gets wet before you start cleaning them off with soap (if you choose).
Can I wait for weeks to bathe newborn?
The answer to that question is yes and no. You can wait a few weeks or months before giving your baby their first bath. And no, you don’t want to wait too long.
The first bath is important because it helps introduce your newborn to the water world, and it also helps eliminate all the vernix — that white, waxy substance that covers your baby’s skin at birth.
Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will fall off on its own within ten days after birth — usually sooner — so if you want to give your newborn a gentle sponge bath before then, go ahead.
But don’t bathe them in a tub until after the stump has fallen off (and even then, only use lukewarm water on a clean surface). Otherwise, there’s a chance that water could get into the tiny wound at the base of the cord and cause an infection called omphalitis.
What happens if I don’t bathe my baby?
Avoid bathing your newborn is not a good idea, as babies can get sick and develop infections.
They can develop diaper rashes, leading to jaundice if left untreated. These problems are common in newborns who aren’t bathed regularly and cause skin irritation; the short answer is that it’s not good.
Bathing your baby is good for several reasons, including promoting healthy skin and rashes and reducing the risk of infections.
Babies are very sensitive to their environment, so bathing them will help keep them clean and comfortable if they get dirty or sweaty. Babies also have a lot of body hair, which can trap dirt and make them dirty. Bathing your baby can help remove this dirt from their bodies.
Bathing your baby will also help prevent rashes from developing on the skin. Many different things can cause rashes, but one of the most common causes is bacteria building up in areas where skin comes into contact with other body parts.
This can happen when a baby wears diapers all day without changing them or when a child isn’t bathed often enough.
They are making it more susceptible to infection.
Should you delay the baby’s first bath? Some parents wonder if they should delay the baby’s first bath, and the answer is yes; you should delay the baby’s first bath for a few days or weeks.
While you might be tempted to start bathing your newborn immediately after giving birth, keep in mind that there are several reasons why it’s best to wait on this important milestone:
- Newborns’ skin is sensitive. A new mom may have noticed that their body has changed dramatically since becoming pregnant and giving birth. In addition, their hormones are still adjusting from all of the changes in their body during pregnancy and birth—hormones responsible for regulating skin function and oil production (called sebum). Because of these factors combined, it makes sense not to expose your newborn’s delicate little self until they have time to adjust.
- The immune system isn’t fully developed yet. Another reason waiting until at least six weeks after birth before bathing your child might seem like a good idea is because their immune systems aren’t fully developed yet when they’re born. Therefore, exposing them too soon could make them sick more easily than they would later down the road when their bodies have had enough time to develop properly.”
Should newborns bathe in hospital? You don’t need to bathe your newborn in the hospital; if you do, the nurses will show you how.
Hospital staff members can help with all aspects of bathing, from getting ready to what to expect after the bath. They may also be able to recommend local baby-friendly practices if you want more information about how best to care for your baby at home.
When can I sponge bathe my newborn? Your baby is ready for sponge bathing when they are no longer a newborn and has no skin infections. You can usually begin the process around two weeks of age, but this varies depending on the individual child. You can also start earlier if your baby looks healthy and isn’t too young to be exposed to water/soap.
When should I bathe my newborn? Bathing newborns is a personal choice, but if you feel like it, you can bathe your baby as soon as possible after birth. It would be best if you also washed your hands before handling your newborn.
Newborns don’t need to be bathed every day, which may dry out their skin, leading to irritation and rashes.
It’s best to bathe your baby once a week until they are about two months old (or older). After that point, you can cut back to bathing once a month — or whenever they get dirty.