Newborn babies don't get very dirty, so as long as you clean your
baby's bottom thoroughly at each diaperchange, you probably won't need to bathe her
more than two or three times a week. And the bath only has to be long
enough to wipe off any debris and peeling skin that's collected.
Likewise, your baby's hair (if she has any) won't need to be shampooed
at every bath; just do it whenever it seems necessary. While most
babies will quickly learn to love bath time, don't be surprised if
yours squirms or cries at first — all that water takes some getting
Here are a few more tips to make bath time safe and pleasant for
both of you:
- While your baby still
has her umbilical cord attached, quick sponge baths (with your baby lying securely on a soft
padded surface) let you avoid submerging the cord stump, which needs
to stay dry.
- When your baby's cord has fallen off, she'll be ready for a
true bath: Use a bathinette, sink, or plastic tub lined with a towel
and filled with about two inches of water.
- Always bathe your baby in a warm, draft-free room, and have a dry towel handy to wrap her in
immediately following her bath. Placing a warm, wet washcloth over
your baby's stomach during her bath may help prevent her from becoming
- To clean your baby, use
a soft washcloth or sponge. Rinse each part of your baby in turn, gently sponging off
any visible flakes of skin. Be sure to check behind her ears, between
her fingers and toes, under her arms, and in the folds of her neck and
thighs, where debris often collects.
- Keep one hand on your baby
at all times — she could slip into the water in a heartbeat — and never
leave your baby alone in the
bath, even for a moment. If you have to leave the room, take her with
- After your baby's bath, gently pat her dry. You may want to
moisturize her skin to help maintain its natural strength and
Get more bathing
basics from Dr. Anthony Mancini.