One of the most significant milestones after your baby is born, is giving them their first bath. However, sometimes bath time can be accompanied by myths and uncertainties for new parents. This blog will guide you through how to give baby their first bath, debunk some common myths and recommend essential products to make bath time a safe and enjoyable experience.
Baby's first bath
When giving your baby their first bath it is recommended to wait until your baby is at least 48 hours old. This is to let the amazing vernix on their skin absorb and to stop them from getting cold too quickly after birth. Plus, the added wait time means you will be more confident in holding and caring for your baby for when you do the first bath – making it more enjoyable for everyone involved. There are a few things to consider when thinking about your baby’s first bath, such as who will do the first bath, where you will do the first bath and what products you should use.
Tips for how to give baby’s first bath:
- • Choose the right time: look for a time when your baby is calm and alert, not hungry or too sleepy. Always make sure your baby is well fed before their bath otherwise they will cry and won’t enjoy it if they are hungry. You also want to pick a time of the day that isn’t too cold for your baby to ensure that they don’t lose heat too quickly.
- • Try to keep the environment where you’ll be bathing your baby warm. Babies can't regulate their body temperature as effectively as adults, so it's crucial to keep the room comfortably warm.
- • Before you start, make sure that you have all of your supplies close by. You'll need b.box body cleanse and nourish, a soft washcloth, a towel, clean clothes, a nappy and a bath or sink of warm water (around 37-38°C).
- • Never leave your baby unattended during the bath or during the preparation for the bath, not even for a second. Always keep one hand on your baby to ensure their safety.
- • Make sure to check the temperature of the water, prior to putting your baby into the bath to make sure that it is not too hot or too cold for the baby.
- • Swaddle your baby in a towel and tuck them under your arm like a football. This will allow you to use a facecloth to gently wash their face and hair. This is because babies lose heat from their head, so by doing their face and hair first and then drying them off before putting them into the bath, you are shortening the amount of time they may lose heat from their wet hair.
- • Next dry your baby’s face and hair and unswaddle them.
- • Place baby’s neck into the crease of your wrist and grip around their arm with your thumb and index finger. You then can place your other hand under their bottom and lift them up gently.
- • You may now slowly lower your baby into the bath, making sure to always have good support of their head. When your baby is in the bath, try to make sure their chest stays under the water, this will help them to stay warm while they are in the bath.
- • While bathing your baby you can use this time to really connect with them and enjoy their company. You can do this by talking to them, singing to them, and making eye contact.
- • Sometimes, if your baby is upset when you first put them into the bath, place a washcloth on their chest. This can help them feel more secure and help them to calm down.
- • Once your baby has had enough, get them out and dry them quickly.
- • After the bath, it can be a good idea to give your baby a massage, feed your baby and get them off to sleep. Often babies sleep really well after a calm and relaxing bath.
Bonding through baby’s first bath
During the bath, this is a great time to interact and bond with your baby. While your baby is in the bath, they will be able to have beautiful skin to skin contact with you which can help both parent and baby release the hormone Oxytocin. Therefore, helping improve bonding with your baby.
Furthermore, during bath time try to focus on connecting with your baby. By this we mean lots of talking to your baby, singing to your baby and making eye contact with your baby. These are all great ways for you to enjoy the bath together but also for you to strengthen your bond with your baby.
Bath time as part of a bedtime ritual
Having a routine of bedtime activities that you complete at least 3 nights out of 7 has been shown to help your baby with their sleep. This is because the familiarity helps them to feel comfortable and secure.
Contrary to what many people may think, bedtime rituals do not have to be completed at the same time every day, but it is important that the activities are done in the same order. Bath time is the perfect addition to every bedtime ritual as it will help to calm your baby down and help them recognise it is time for sleep.
Here is an example of a calming bedtime routine:
- 1. Dinner
- 2. Bath time
- 3. Relaxing massage
- 4. Dressed into pyjamas
- 5. Read a book
- 6. Cuddle
- 7. Breastfeed or bottle feed
- 8. Bed
Baby bath time myth busters
Recommended products for baby's first bath
Soft washcloths: Choose soft, hypoallergenic washcloths to clean your baby's skin without causing irritation.
Bath thermometer: Some families love to have a thermometer so they can know the exact temperature of the bath. Other families will put their elbow into the water, and it should feel warm, not hot or cold.
Hooded towels: These towels are not only adorable but also practical. They help keep your baby warm after the bath, but reducing the amount of heat that your baby loses through their head and are gentle on their skin.
b.box body hydrate or nourish: After the bath, you can apply b.box body hydrate or nourish to help moisturise your baby's skin and prevent dryness. You can also create a really nice bedtime ritual by giving baby a loving massage after the bath.
The experience of your baby’s first bath is the start of celebrating exciting milestones in your baby’s development but also in your journey as a new parent. Whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, bathing your baby for the first time is something you’ll never forget!
While your baby’s first bath might be met with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, remember that every new parent goes through this learning process. With this helpful blog and practice, you will be able to tackle your baby’s baths with confidence and make them enjoyable experiences for you both.
Through being informed you become empowered in nurturing your baby’s wellbeing and thus, you can use this precious bath time to truly connect and bond with your baby on a deeper level. Finally, don’t forget to take lots of photos and videos of your baby having their first ever bath so that you can truly treasure these precious memories.
Written By Lauren Brenton
Endorsed Midwife and Founder of One Mama Midwife Pty Ltd
I’m Loz and I’m an Endorsed Midwife who runs Antenatal Classes in the Sutherland Shire. I have completed a Bachelor of Midwifery and a Master of Midwifery. My favourite area is in the labour ward, this is where you can find me most days. One Mama Midwife came about in the height of Covid in 2020, when so many women were missing out on the chance to have antenatal education. Aimed at empowering you with the tools you require to have the pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey that you want to have, with advice and recommendations you can trust.