How to Bath a New Born Baby – Hints & Tips

Hints & Tips to Help You Bath Like a Pro

Bathing a new born baby can seem like a daunting prospect for the very first time, but just like riding a bike, once you’ve mastered it, there’ll be no stopping you!

Bathing a new born baby is a vital way to not only keep the little one clean, but also a way for mother and baby to strengthen a bond and attachment. Whether you’re teaching a new mum how to bath a new born baby as a healthcare professional, or you’re bathing your own new bundle of joy, there are a few things you need to bear in mind, to make the process not only enjoyable for you both, but also to ensure safety.


A new born baby can have a bath any time after birth, but it’s best to wait until at least an hour afterwards, and for the first bath to be relatively short;usually no more than 10 minutes. This is because some babies don’t like the feeling of being in warm water, and may need a bit of time to get used to it. It can also be a bit of a shock to the baby, and in the aftermath of actually being born, you don’t want to upset them any further! Over time however, bath time will become a soothing and relaxing experience for your baby, and hopefully for you too.

Tips to Remember When Bathing a Baby

It’s entirely normal to be a little apprehensive the first time, but by staying calm and keeping as firm a grip as you can, you’ll soon feel much more confident. If you feel you need help the first time, don’t be afraid to ask.

In terms of how often to bath a new born baby, this depends on the baby, but around two or three times per week is usually enough. In-between that time, topping and tailing is advised. In addition, incorporating bath time into the evening, can help to relax and bring about deeper sleep. This is usually done with infants and older children too, and often results in less bouts of interrupted sleep.

A tip you probably don’t need to be told, but we have to mention it anyway – never leave a baby unattended in the bath, not even for a split second

Step by Step Guide to Bathing

  • Make sure the room you are bathing in is warm and that windows and doors are closed – you don’t want any draughts getting in and making your baby cold whilst they are in or out of the water
  • Wash your hands
  • Make sure you have everything you need next to you, including a towel, clothes, nappies, flannel, sponge, cleanser.  You cannot leave your baby for a second when you are bathing him or her, so having everything you need to hand is vital. Other than that, have someone close who you can ask to pass you things!
  • Add cold water into the bath first, before slowly adding the hot water, keeping an eye on the temperature – you want it warm, not hot. It is best to use a thermometer until you get used to how the water feels at the right temperature – this should be 37-38 degrees C. If you’re feeling the temperature yourself, use your elbow, which is more sensitive than your hand
  • Fill the water to around 5” depth, so your baby’s shoulders will be covered
  • Undress your baby and wrap him or her in a towel to keep them warm
  • Wash their face first, and then their hair, before you place them in the bath – it is much easier to do this beforehand, as this is the part when a baby is most likely to wriggle
  • Now you can take off your baby’s nappy, cleaning any mess away before putting him or her in the bath
  • Supporting your baby’s neck and head, slowly slip his or her feet into the bath first, so they get used to the feeling, slowly lowering him or her down so that the water is covering their shoulders
  • Gently wash your baby with water, or use a gentle cleanser, massaging it into the skin and making sure that all remnants are removed and washed away. Use your hand to was your baby, and don’t forget to clean from top to bottom and on the back, as well as the front
  • Make sure you rinse your baby well before removing him or her from the bath slowly. Do this by supporting the head and neck, and with the other hand under their bottom
  • Wrap him or her in a towel with a hood and pat them dry immediately, so they don’t get cold
  • Put their nappy on and wrap them in a warm, dry towel
  • It’s a good idea to give your baby a cuddle for a few minutes, to warm them up and calm them down if they didn’t particularly enjoy the bathing experience
  • Dress him or her, and you’re all done!

Bathing a baby for the first time can be nerve wracking, especially if the baby is a wriggler. Dealing with a wriggling baby, who also happens to be wet, is daunting, but once you’ve bathed him or her once, you’ll feel much more confident with every time after that it. The key is to take it slowly, but always remember to make sure that your baby isn’t cold.

Some babies love bath time, some babies don’t like it so much, but by staying calm yourself and calming your baby was much as possible, you can help them learn to enjoy it as part of their evening routine.  You are a midwife or nurse who is learning baby handling skills as part as their studies, perhaps in London or another main training location, rest assured that bathing a new born baby is a process that becomes easier every single time, and after a while, you’ll be skilled enough to be able to instruct new mothers on how to bath their own child, without worries or nerves.