Parent’s Guide: How To Give An Infant A Bath (Step-By-Step w/ Videos)

  • Giving your baby a bath for the first time can be a scary task 
  • We share step by step instructions for how to do this safely 
  • See exactly how this is done with the help of video tutorials 
  • Plus, safety tips for parents, caregivers when bathing infants

Congratulations! Is there a new baby in the family?

If this is your or your first time handling a newborn, bath time may seem scary. If you are looking for safety tips and ways that will make this process easier, we may have the right information for you. We’ll tell you a little bit about when to start giving baby a bath and step by step instructions on how to do so.

We’ll also share some safety tips to keep in mind during baby’s bath, so do read till the end. 

When can you start giving your baby a bath?

how to use a baby bath

After the baby’s birth, you have to wait till the umbilical cord detaches completely and falls off from baby’s navel area, before giving a bath. This usually takes about two weeks.

Before the umbilical cord falls off, you can give the baby a warm sponge so that baby is clean, and there is no dirt collecting in the umbilical cord area or other parts of the body.

How often do infants need to be bathed?

Initially, you do not really need to give your baby a bath every day, as you would give a child, or even an adult. The reason for this is that mainly, infants do not sweat the way older babies, children or grownups do.

how to bathe a baby step by step
  • You can bathe your infant about once or twice in a week, and in case the weather is really hot, or if you feel the baby has become dirty for any reason, you can also give a third bath during the week.
  • Also, for those times when you are not giving your infant a bath, it is important that you still continue to clean certain areas of your infant regularly, and in some cases, more than once a day.
  • The typical areas where you may need to clean more than once in the day include your infant’s nappy area, the skin under the rolls of fat behind the knees and near the neck.

Step-by-step tutorial about how to give an infant a bath, and items you may need: 

The way you saw the nurse bathe the infant at the hospital can be quite different from how you have to do it at home, and for this reason, it is important that you keep the following things in mind, about what you will need during bath time and how to go about it.

Things to keep in mind before the bath:

  • Make sure that the area in which you will give the infant a bath is warm and that there is no direct wind there.
  • Remove any jewellery or accessory from your person that you feel could scratch or hurt the baby, or even cause baby discomfort in any way.
  • Depending on how you are going to give the infant a bath, you will have to get a baby tub or a sink.
  • Next, you will need a receiving blanket in which you will get the infant out from the water and place comfortably, before you dry the infant.
  • You will also need a large towel that you can use to dry the infant.
  • You will also need a small towel that you can use to dry the infant’s hair.
  • In addition, you will also need a soft wash cloth that you will have to use during the bath time to clean up the infant.
  • Also, right next to the area where you are giving the infant a bath, keep a pair of clean clothes and a nappy or diaper, so that it is easy to get the infant dressed after the bath.
  • Depending on your preference, you can either simply use clean lukewarm water to give the infant a bath, or use a baby wash to do so. In case you want to use a baby wash for the bath time, place it near your hand as well.

Step-by-step guide how to prepare a bath:

  • If you are using a baby bath tub for the bath, make sure you place it on a flat and even surface.
  • Next, take a small towel and place it at the bottom of the tub. This will help to reduce any chances of the infant slipping and will also help you get a good grip.
  • Start filling up the tub with lukewarm water. Remember that you have to fill only so much water so that the water level comes up till the infant’s chest level only.
  • Once the water is filled, check the temperature by placing your elbow in the water, or placing the inner wrist area, or use a bath water thermometer.
  • Ideally, the temperature should be between 37.7 C/100F and 39.9 C/103.9F

Step-by-step guide how to give infant a bath:

  • Bring baby near the tub and hold in one arm.
  • Take a small wash cloth and dip it in the water, then use it to wipe baby’s eyes.
  • Now open the cloth and use it to wipe infant’s face.
  • Make sure to clean the ears, the nose and the mouth.
  • Use a wash cloth to clean infant’s head. If you are using baby wash, rinse it out.
  • Place baby on a dry towel and dry the head. Pick up the infant and gently place in the water, with one arm under baby’s head and neck.
  • Use the wash cloth to clean baby.
  • Gently turn baby to clean the back.
  • Place baby on the big towel and gently dry the infant, starting from the head and moving down. Wipe dry all the skin folds.

3 safety tips for parents and caregivers can follow when bathing infants:

Before you get down to bathing the infant, whether you are the parent or the caregiver, make sure to keep these safety tips in mind.

how to bathe a newborn video
  • 1
    Always fill the tub or bucket with lukewarm water and not hot or very hot water. Also, before you put the infant in the bath water, or before you pour the water on the infant, make sure you check the temperature of the water again, even if you just did so. The best way to do this is to touch the water with your elbow, and if it feels lukewarm, then use it for the bath.
  • 2
    Do not use soap or a body wash that has a scent to it, as these can irritate the very sensitive skin of infants and young babies. To make sure that the infant does not suffer from any adverse reaction to the soap, use a baby wash which is mild and is specifically made for infants.
  • 3
    Before you bring in the infant to the bath tub or to the area where you will give the infant a bath, make sure that you keep all the things around you that you may need during the bath time. This will ensure that no matter what you need while giving the infant a bath, you won’t have to get up to go and get it, but everything will be at your arms’ reach, making it safe.

No matter what happens, do not leave the infant from your grip at any moment. In case you have to go out just for a moment, pick up the infant along with you and then go out.



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