newborn baby being cradled in mums hand

How To Bathe A Newborn Baby

Bathing your newborn may be a little daunting at first but it’s important to help keep their skin clean and free from irritants. Oilatum’s guide on how to bathe a newborn baby provides some useful tips to help you bathe your child.

Bathing

Ask your partner or a friend to help you with bath time, especially the first few times, until you’re more used to it.

  • In preparation for bath time heat the bathroom to 20-22°C, so the room is a comfortable temperature for your newborn.
  • You may find it easiest to use a baby bath or a clean washing-up bowl to bathe your newborn. The water temperature should be warm, not hot, as your newborn baby’s skin is very delicate. Use a bath thermometer to check the water is about 37-38°C. Alternatively, you could use your elbow to check the water temperature.
  • You can use plain water or Oilatum Soothe & Protect Junior Bath Foam which contains ultra-gentle, effective cleansers and is suitable for baby from day one.
  • Always mix the water well to ensure there are no hot patches before you put your baby in the water.
  • Once undressed, lay your baby on a changing mat and clean their face with cotton wool. Gently pat dry, then, wash their hair with plain water, carefully supporting them over the baby bath or bowl, then dry their hair gently. Ask a family member or friend to help at this point.
  • Remove their nappy and lower your newborn into the water using one hand to support their head and shoulders. Carefully swish the water over your baby.
  • Gently pat skin dry with a warm, soft towel after their bath to help prevent dryness and discomfort.

Topping and tailing

When your baby isn’t having a bath you can help keep their skin clean by topping and tailing, which will help wipe away dirt that the skin has attracted throughout the day.

  • Prepare a bowl with warm water (37-38°C). You can use plain water or Oilatum Soothe & Protect Junior Head to Toe Wash contains ultra-gentle, effective cleansers and is suitable for babies, even from day one.
  • Heat the bathroom to 20-22°C, so the room is a comfortable temperature for your newborn before laying them on a changing mat.
  • Dip some cotton wool or a clean cloth in plain, warm water and wipe gently around your baby’s eyes from the nose outwards, using fresh cotton wool for each eye.
  • Using fresh cotton wool, wash around your newborn’s ears. Cleanse the rest of their face, neck and hands in the same way, then gently pat their skin dry with a warm, soft towel.
  • Take off your baby’s nappy and wash their bottom and genital area with fresh cotton wool or a clean cloth, then gently pat dry. If you’re using cloths, instead of cotton wool, choose different colours to help you remember which one is for the face and which is for the bottom.

Drying and moisturising

Your newborn’s skin is especially delicate because the skin’s barrier is still developing throughout the first year of their life. Always dry your baby’s skin after bathing but take care not to rub it. Gently pat skin dry with a soft, warm towel and carefully dry between the skin folds and creases. Smooth on a moisturising lotion before putting on a nappy and dressing baby in a cotton sleep suit, ready for bed. Cotton is a natural fabric and can help keep your baby’s dry skin comfortable.