Baby Bath time The New Parent Company

How do I bath my baby?

Bathing your baby for the first time can be a little daunting!

It can feel as if you need 3 pairs of hands and they don’t always enjoy it either! So let us try and take the stress away with our quick guide to bathing your baby in those first few weeks!

Baby’s first bath usually happens after the umbilical cord has fallen off. This tends to be anywhere between 7-14 days after birth.

Depending on your home set up will depend on where you bath your baby!

Take a look around at the space you have and where would be the most appropriate place to bathe your newborn.

You may be thinking ‘in the bath!’ But newborns are quite slippery, need additional support due to their head control, and leaning over a bath can really hurt your back and knees. So for the 4th trimester at least, it’s handy to think of how you can make it easier on your body and a simple process to set up too. 

I would recommend a plastic tub that you can have on a dining table. This way you don’t need to lean over, helping support your back, and your baby will be supported too. You can place it on the floor too if you find this ok on your knees and back. The down side of these are that they are quite large to store. We ended up keeping ours inside our bathtub when we weren’t using it.

Baby Bath time The New Parent Company

A great alternative is the kitchen sink! It’s at the perfect height and is a great size for bathing your baby! Just remove any objects nearby that are not baby friendly!

Bath Time Set-Up

Before bathing your baby, it’s great to go through a little checklist to make sure you have all your equipment ready before you start! 

Here’s our handy guide to bathing your baby:

  • Room temperature to be 23-24 degrees (so at cooler times of the year, make this step 1 of your set up so the room can warm up whilst you prepare everything else)
  • Prepare 2-3 towels (one can be placed under the plastic tub bath to avoid slipping, and one can be placed inside the tub/kitchen sink to avoid the baby slipping, then one of drying your baby!)
  • Gather your bathing equipment – face clothes, cotton pads, cotton buds, a comb and an empty cup and place next to your tub (preferably your dominant hand side where you can reach whilst also holding your baby)
  • Gather your after bath items and lay them next to a changing mat (either next to your tub or in your normal changing area) – you’ll need a nappy, clothing for after the bath, any oils, creams & moisturisers.

Now your tub is ready to be filled! 

  • It’s easier to fill a jug or bowl and then pour that into the tub
  • Water needs to be 37 degrees (body temperature) and test the temperature with your elbow (or use a bath thermometer!)
  • Fill the tub between 2-3 inches with water
  • Use your spare cup to take a little of the water out

When bathing your newborn, it’s best to start from the top and end with the bottom!


The temperature for a babies bath should be 37 degrees (body temperature)


When bathing your newborn, it’s best to start from the top and end with the bottom! 

Eyes: You should use that cup of water to clean your baby’s eyes first. This way it is fresh water. Take a cotton pad, squeeze out excess water and clean your baby’s eye from inner to outer eye. Dispose of the cotton pad and use a different one for the second eye. This way you avoid infections. 

Ears: Ears should be cleaned around the top and back. You can use a cotton bud, but you must not clean inside the ear (drum area).

Face/Body: Use a flannel/washcloth to clean around your baby’s face (avoiding their eyes), under their chin, and the rest of their body. Remember to get between the rolls and the fingers and toes! 

Genitals: Leave this area until last and use the flannel to wash from front to back to avoid any urinary infections.

You can take your baby out of the bath if they are becoming tired, overstimulated or if they are not enjoying it! Wrap them in the towel and then hold them in a football clutch hold to wash their hair

Hair/Scalp: Even babies without hair need a little scalp stimulation to help with cradle cap! Use your cup to pour a little water on their head. Gently massage the scalp and comb for stimulation. Doing it this way avoids water going in the baby’s eyes and helping avoid infections. 

Your baby is now ready to be dried and dressed!

When drying, pat the skin dry as rubbing may cause irritation. Remember to get in between those rolls, under that neck and between their fingers and toes!  

Additional tips!


  • You only need to bathe your baby 2-3 times a week! Bathing them every day can dry out their skin. Alternate between bathing and top and tailing (where you clean the main baby areas while they lie naked on a towel, rather than in a bath)
  • Moisturisers shouldn’t be needed during the first 12 weeks. Try using oils such as coconut or sunflower on any dry patches of skin
  • The same with nappy cream. It’s great to provide a barrier after bath time, but you don’t need to use it on every nappy change
  • If your baby dislikes the bath, it could be down to being cold. Place a washcloth on their tummy whilst in the tub and keep pouring water on it to keep them warm.
  • If they still don’t enjoy it, keep Bath times short!
  • Let them have some ‘nappy off’ time before the bath (lay them on a towel or open nappy to catch any accidents!)
  • Cutting your baby’s nails can be easier after a bath as they are softer!

Enjoy! Bath time can be fun! And as they get older, you can take them in the bath with you (much easier with another adult present to help when it’s time to come out!) and introduce some toys!