How often should you bathe your baby?
As your baby grows, giving her a bath can become a treasured part of your routine together, but it’s normal to find bathing your newborn baby a little daunting at first.
When can my newborn baby have their first bath?
If your baby is full-term and healthy, you can bathe her as little as a few hours after birth. However, there’s no rush, and most mums will be busy feeding, cuddling and resting after their newborn’s arrival.
For the first 7 days, many parents choose to top and tail their little one, which means just washing their baby’s face, neck, hands, feet and bottom. It’s entirely your choice, and you can give your newborn her first bath whenever you prefer.
How regularly should I bathe my baby?
There’s no need to give your baby a bath every day as she certainly won’t be mucky from rolling around in the mud. (At least, not until she starts crawling or walking!) Bathing your baby 2 or 3 times a week is fine and you can top and tail in between, which can be helpful for gently cleaning away any dried milk from under her chin, and ensuring her nappy area is properly cleaned.
Can I give my baby a bath every day?
Some parents want to bathe their baby every day as part of their routine together, and this is absolutely fine too. There’s no reason your baby shouldn’t have a bath every day, so do what’s right for you.
If you live in a hard water area, there is a small chance daily baths can cause your newborn baby’s skin to become dry, but if this happens you can switch to topping and tailing and reduce the regularity of her baths for a couple of weeks.
In the early weeks, your baby will sleep a lot and when they’re not sleeping they’ll spend a fair amount of time feeding. You shouldn’t bathe your baby when they are hungry, tired or straight after a feed, so the window for giving your newborn baby a bath is often quite small!
For this reason, and because you’ll be recovering from birth and tired yourself, it’s best to be flexible about things like bathing your baby. If you want to give daily baths and it works, go for it, but don’t put yourself under pressure. Your baby won’t miss anything without a daily bath and having one as part of a routine when she’s newborn isn’t necessary.
As she grows, her bath can become part of a daily ritual if you wish it to and, as she spends longer periods of time awake, giving your baby a bath will become easier and fun for you both. Many babies love bath time, even if they’re a little unsure about it in the early weeks.
Safely bathing your baby
You can bathe your newborn baby in a baby bath, by holding her in the main bath or even in the sink at first. Bending over may be difficult after giving birth, so be sure to bathe your baby in a way that’s comfortable and won’t hurt your stomach or back.
- The water temperature for your baby’s bath should be around 37 to 38 degrees C, which is warm but not hot. You can use a bath thermometer to check or test the temperature with your elbow.
- Bathe your baby in a warm room and have a towel and clothes ready so that you can wrap her back up, dry and dress her straight afterwards.
- You can use a bath support cradle to help when bathing your baby, but you must never leave her alone in the bath, even for a second.
- Your baby will probably only want a short bath at first, so read her cues and let her lead the way.
You might also find this guide to topping and tailing and bathing your baby useful. Just remember, as with most areas of parenting, there’s no one size fits all with babies. When it comes to bathing your baby, you’ll soon find a groove that’s right for you both.
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