Surviving The First Few Weeks: Bathing Your Newborn Baby

Your baby is the most vulnerable in the first 28 days of life, and it is crucial that you know the ins and outs of newborn care. In particular, bathing your newborn may seem like a challenging task, especially if you don't know what to expect, and what to do. 

Be As Gentle As Possible

Stick to sponge baths using soft and wet sponges or washcloths in the first few weeks in order to be as gentle as possible. You want to keep the room clean and warm for a more comfortable environment, and use a clean towel afterwards to dry your baby off as quickly as possible. Make sure that heat loss is minimal. You want to pay particular attention to washing the face and the hands, and to also the genital area, especially after the diaper has been changed.

Contrary to belief, you do not need to wait for the umbilical cord to completely dry off and fall off before bathing your newborn baby. In fact, bathing your baby, at this point of time, will not increase their risk to infections as long as you allow the stump to dry afterward. 

Differences Between Hard Water and Soft Water

Using water only is highly recommended; however, it is important that you understand what type of water runs through your plumbing. Hard water is chalked full with minerals and ions that can accumulate on the skin of your newborn. On the other hand, using strong cleaners can damage your newborn's developing skin, which is most sensitive at this point., so you need to be really careful with your decision. 

If your house has soft water, simply using the tap water will be sufficient since there are not a lot of minerals present in the water. Consider adding a drop or two of a gentle pH neutral cleanser or using mild soap if you are dealing with hard water.

Safety Concerns to Be Aware Of

After determining which water and cleaners are best, you also want to make sure that you diligently check the temperature of the water. The water heater should be set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit can give your child third-degree burns within a matter of seconds. Check the water with your wrist to ensure it's comfortable. 

In addition, make sure that you fill the tub with only several inches of water to prevent your baby from drowning. You want to turn off the tap before placing your newborn in the tub, and remember that you should never leave your baby unattended.


Bathing your newborn once or twice a week will be more than sufficient. Anything more than that and you will be simply wasting your time and harming your baby, especially since most experts have suggested that daily baths can actually end up damaging your baby's skin. The rule of thumb is to be as gentle as possible. That's all that your newborn needs!