Bathing can be a very pleasurable experience for you and your baby. The baby's skin is soft, and it should be treated with care. If this is your first experience in caring for a newborn, it is possible that you may have many questions regarding how to safely bathe your new bundle of joy.
How often should I bathe my baby?
Unlike older children and adults, babies don't require daily bathing. While it is important to thoroughly clean your baby after each diaper change, a bathing 2 - 3 times a week is plenty.
What is the right temperature?
Water at the right temperature should feel pleasantly warm on the inside of your wrist. This will usually be between 90°F and 100°F. The room should also be a comfortable temperature (around 75°F). Baby's first bath is a good time to be sure that your hot water heater is set no higher than 120°F (if you haven't already).
What do I need to bathe my newborn?
It is important to be cautious when bathing your baby. For the first week or two, it’s generally recommended that you give your baby sponge baths, until the umbilical cord falls off. Once the umbilical cord is gone you will need to have a sanitized kitchen sink, a basin, or an infant tub. This minimizes the risks associated with bathing an infant in a larger tub. Below is a helpful checklist for the recommended items you may need for "bath-time":
Helpful tips for bathing
Changing diapers is a skill that will get easier with time. Disposable diapers are very easy to put on; they simply fold over and attach with Velcro or tape. You will learn how to assess your baby and determine what is the most comfortable changing method. Buy diapers with a cut-out space for the cord for newborns, or keep the diaper folded down under it.
Tips for changing baby boys:
Tips for changing girls:
The choice of using cloth or disposable diapers is up to the parents, sometimes with input from the pediatrician. Both types have pros and cons, and you and your partner should decide which type is suitable for your baby.
When you first looked at your baby, you may have wondered why there was body hair (lanugo) or a slimy coating (vernix). This is completely normal and some babies have more than others.
The hair and coating protect the baby from the hard trip through the birth canal into the "new world." Within a few days, these characteristics disappear and you will have your bundle of joy with wonderfully soft skin!
How do you keep baby's sensitive skin healthy, soft, and smooth? Below are some tips:
Review Date: 12/9/2012
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.