Baby Bath Time

When it’s time for a baby’s bath, it understandable that some new parents get a bit nervous about holding a slippery, squirming baby.  Try not to worry, you’ll get the hang of it in no time, and baby bath time will soon become a enjoyable bonding experience for you, your partner and your little babe.

In the first few blissful days after baby arrives you may find a sponge bath is all that is needed. 

You can bath baby at anytime of the day, if bathing relaxes your baby you can use it as a way to settle your baby for sleep in the evening.


Bathing Your Baby

Being prepared can make baby bath time more enjoyable for you both as everything will be at hand ready.  Set up an cosy area with a soft towel on the floor or change table in a warm room.  

Lay out the following items so they are easily within reach after bathing 

  • Towel
  • New Nappy
  • Fresh Outfit
  • Balms or lotions

Prepare the bath or bowl of water for a Sponge Bath, the water temperature should be 37-38 degrees. Any higher may burn your babies sensitive skin so take care to test your water temperature.

Remove your jewelry before bathing to avoid any accidental scratches on their soft skin.

Hungry babies will likely be fussy, if bub is hungry give them a feed to help calm them before starting to undress for bathing.

Before undressing your baby, wipe their eyelids (from inner eye to outer eye) with clean washcloth dipped in lukewarm water. Squeeze out extra water. Use a new area of the cloth for each wipe. Then wash the whole face. Be careful not to put anything into your baby’s ears or nose.

Now undress your baby, taking the nappy off last.

A muslin cloth in the bath under babies bottom may help prevent slipping and assist you to hold your baby securely. 

Have another muslin cloth handy to lay over babies tummy, this will help soothe baby if they are fussy. Use a small cup or your palm to occasionally scope water and pour onto babies tummy.

Newborns skin is sensitive, if using a baby body wash opt for a fragrance free wash to avoid causing any irritation.  

Clean the folds and creases of your babies skin starting with the neck and underarms.  Cleaning your babies genitals last using water only.

Supporting your baby’s head and neck, lift your baby out of the bath then place them on their back on a towel area you have prepared.

Wrap your baby in a soft towel and pat baby dry.  Take extra care to dry baby’s skin creases, including armpits, groin, under the chin, around the neck and behind the ears.

If your baby’s skin is dry, apply a non-perfumed cream or ointment to your baby’s skin.  If bub's is settled, this can be a lovely time to for skin to skin contact with mum or dad.

Emptying the bath water can wait until bubs is dressed, settled and safely in the bassinet or cot.  Take care and avoid lifting a bath full of water while you are postpartum and recovering from the birth of your baby.  



If you would like any further information please contact your Midwife for advice.

Some other websites to check out are:


Water Safety New Zealand



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