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How to Bathe Your Baby

Feb 21, 2022 | 1 minute Read

Establishing bath time as a time of fun and relaxation is important for both baby and parents. Bath time can signal the end of the day, be part of a bedtime routine, and lead to a restful night’s sleep.

Babies and toddlers love having your full attention and the sensory pleasure of being in a warm bath. For a sleepy newborn, it may be the only wakeful time of the day. Follow bath time with a baby massage as a relaxing and nurturing way to teach your baby how to unwind. A warm and relaxing bath is a great way to help promote sleep.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when bathing your children.

Bathing a newborn

For newborns, a bath is a great way to soothe and relax before sleep. Most newborns love the sensory feeling of being in a warm bath, while for others, it may take a few tries before they love it. Take care to not let your newborn become cold by keeping the room warm and wrapping the baby in a towel.

Bathing a newborn for the first time can seem a little daunting. While submerging your newborn in a tub of water is safe and appropriate for most babies, a simple alternative is a  sponge bath. Bathing very young babies every few days is all that is needed. This can also help protect fragile baby skin from drying out.

Bathing your growing baby

Bathing an older baby is a lot of fun but be prepared to get splashed! Add some toys and watch your baby’s playtime fun. It's a great time for babies to learn about water as they pour, splash, and play with the toys provided. Look at bathing your growing baby for more advice and suggestions on bathing your bigger baby.

Bathing your toddler

With growing independence and mobility most toddlers love taking charge of their bath. At times it might be a challenge to get them into the bath, but once there, it can be a challenge to get them out! You can start to teach your toddler  to wash themselves as they splash and play with their bath toys.

Baby bath safety

Having everything ready and within arms-reach is the key to a successful and safe bath time. Take care with hot water and never ever leave any child, no matter their age, unattended in the bath.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.