There’s nothing like a good splash, lots of bubbles and laughter at bath time. However, with a newborn the thought of bath time might seem like a huge task – don’t worry it’ll soon become easy and another routine you’ve cracked.
All babies and mums are different, so you can be relaxed about your routine, you can bath your baby two or three times a week, or it’s okay to bath them daily if they need it. Similarly it’s up to you when you feel comfortable to move baby into the big bath – it could be at a few months or later.
Newborns (from 1 month) up to 1 year old
- It’s best to bath when baby is awake and happy – so not after feeding and not if they’re hungry or overly tired. For newborns it might be best to bath during the day, then after a few months make it part of the bedtime routine.
- Before you start get together everything you’ll need – sponge, cotton wool, mild baby bath that won’t irritate your baby’s delicate skin, clothes, warm towels and clean nappy.
- Prepare the room too so it’s nice and warm.
- Before you bath your baby, wash his face – it’s easier than trying to do it while he’s in the water – it’s also a good idea to clean his bottom first if he’s had a dirty nappy.
- To begin with it will be easier to use the kitchen sink or a baby bath.
If you’ve got a bath thermometer, test the water temperature is at about 37 degrees C, or use your elbow to gauge the temperature, it should feel neither hot nor cold.
- You’ll need enough water to allow your baby to settle with his shoulders well covered.
- Make sure you support baby well whilst in the bath – use one arm to support his neck and head, and slip your hand round to hold his arm. With your other hand, support his bottom and gently splash water to clean.
- For very young babies limit bath time to a few minutes so there is no chance of getting too cold.
- Lift your baby out of the bath, wrap and cuddle him in a warm towel and gently pat him dry.
- Once your baby is a couple of months old, you or your partner could share a bath with him – it’s lovely for skin-to-skin contact.
Bath time for 1 year olds +
- Bath time becomes an important part of the bedtime routine, to relax your little one before a good night’s sleep.
- Give him some warning that bath time is coming so it’s not a surprise.
- If dad’s home bath time is a great opportunity to get him involved.
- Water should be about waist-high (in sitting position).
- As baby gets more confident you can gently splash water over his body, start pouring water over him and lie baby on his back and move him gently through the water.
- If baby doesn’t like the water try and make it fun with some games.
Toddler bath time
- Some children naturally enjoy bath time, but others may resist it and bath time may turn into a battle.
- You can bring back the fun with bath time games.
- Bath time is a good opportunity for learning too – practice the alphabet and numbers and start to put some words together.
- It’s a good idea to refresh toys and make sure they’re age appropriate.
- Encourage children to wash themselves.
**Never leave your baby unattended in the bath**
Where to next
- Read more about caring for your baby