You can give a newborn baby a bath from the moment the umbilical cord stump drops off. Before then, you should "top and tail" your baby using a sponge, without submerging them in water.
A newborn baby does not need to be bathed every day, provided the nappy area is kept clean every time you change it. For the first year, you can even give them a bath every other day and just keep them clean between baths (especially face, hands and bottom).
Bathing, step by step
If sufficient care is taken, bath time can be a wonderful moment, when parents and baby have the chance to get to know each other better and to play and love each other. Let's take a look at how to bathe a baby.
- Put the cold water in first, then fill it with hot water and test the temperature using a special thermometer for the bath. The water must be warm, but not hot (between 29 and 37ºC).
- Take your baby's clothes off, wrap them in a towel and hold them on your lap to clean their eyes, mouth and face using cotton wool wetted with previously boiled warm water.
- Put your baby in the water, cradling their head in the crook of your arm while you support the outside of their shoulder with your hand. Put your other arm under their bottom and hold them by the leg. Slide them into the bath feet first.
- To wash your baby's head, keep them in an upright position, resting their head on your arm. Then very carefully apply soap.
- Wash the rest of the body using a bath mitt or a natural sponge. Carefully clean their "folds" of skin.
- To wash the baby's back, take them by the outside of their shoulder and pass your arm over their chest.
- Lastly, take the baby out of the bath. A trick: it is easier if mummy or daddy spreads the towel over their chest, holding it under their chin.