When you’re a new parent, baby bathing can be surprisingly daunting. Just follow our 10 simple steps to make bath time with your baby stress-free.
1. Choose the right bath for your baby
Baby bath: Allows for baby bathing in the warmest place in your home but can be heavy and difficult to empty.
Baby bath in the big bath: Easy to empty, but can be awkward bending over to get to it.
Sink: Make sure it’s clean and remember to wrap flannels around the taps to avoid banging into them.
Big bath with a bath support: Less bulky to store than a baby bath, but you have to fill up the big bath and so use a lot more water. The advantage is it gives you hand-free bathing.
Big bath: Helps your baby get used to the big bath. Can be awkward to be bending over holding your baby constantly in the water. See tip 7 below for how to lower your baby into a big bath safely.
2. Get the timing right
Don’t bath your baby when he’s feeling tired, hungry or if he’s just had a big feed. He won’t appreciate being in water. Try to get into a routine when baby bathing.
3. Make sure the room’s warm
Your tiny baby gets cold very quickly so check that the room isn’t draughty and the temperature is already warm before you undress your baby.
4. Gather everything you need so it’s all within reach:
- Cotton wool balls
- Baby shampoo and soap (if you’re using them)
- Baby wipes
- Nappy cream
- Clean nappy and clothes
5. Fill the bath with warm water
The water needs to be warm but not hot. Test the temperature with your elbow or the inside of your wrist. Fill the bath so the water comes no higher than 12cm – that’s enough to let you hold your baby in the bath with the water just lapping over his shoulders.
6. Get him naked… but keep him warm
If your baby doesn’t seem to like having his clothes removed, undress him on a soft towel, and keep him swaddled until it’s time to pop him in the bath.
7. Support him as you lower him in
This can often feel like the scariest part of babycare, but try not to worry. This is how you do it:
- Slip one arm softly but firmly under your baby’s head and neck, so that your hand can support him under his arm.
- Hold his bottom with your other hand and gently slip your baby into the warm water.
- Once he’s safely in the bath, remove your hand from under his bottom and use this hand to wash him.
8. Wash him the right way
Wash your baby from top to bottom and from front to back. Use cotton wool dabbed in cooled, boiled water to clean his face and remove any bits of mucus crusted around his nose and eyes. Pay attention to the creases behind his ears and the folds in his neck.
9. Remember to have fun
Once you relax, bathing your baby is a fabulous time for bonding and fun. Show your baby how he can splash his hands in the water, or squirt him with a squeezy bath toy.
10. Carefully dry him off
Lift your baby out of the bath with one arm behind his shoulders and neck and the other under his bottom, gripping his legs lightly as you wrap him in a towel. Always keep one hand on your baby. Pat him gently as you dry him, not forgetting to dry his folds of skin.
“I always share a bath with my baby”
“I bought a baby bath but never used it. I found it easier to get in with Joshua, lying him across my knee. Afterwards, my partner would get him out so I could relax. He’s 1 now and we still share a bath each night.”
Charie, 27, mum to James, 1