Baby Bath Basics: Dos And Don'ts

Submitted by Jenifer on December 20, 2013

Bathing a baby is definitely no child’s play! Bath time for your baby can be fun or an absolutely nightmare, depending upon his initial experience. Of course, your little one’s comfort and safety are of utmost importance too.


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Soon after the baby’s birth, caregivers at the hospital or the midwife will show you the steps for bathing a newborn. Given below are the basic steps for bathing a baby –

  • Always begin by keeping the bath area ready. Gather all the bath items you may need, such as soap, washcloths, sponges, towels, clothes, cotton balls and so on and keep them close to the baby’s bathtub.

  • Check the temperature of the room; make sure that the room is not too cold for the baby.
  • Fill no more than 5cm of the tub with lukewarm or warm water. Check the temperature of the water using your elbow or wrist. It should not be more than 36 degrees C.
  • Undress your little one after the bath is completely ready. Cradle the baby’s head and shoulders in one hand and the body in the other.
  • Gently lower your baby into the bathtub in such a way that his bottom is the first to touch the water. Several parents prefer the feet-first position for placing their babies in the tub, which is also fine.
  • Once your little one is in the tub, support his upper body with one arm. With the other hand, moisten a soft ball of cotton and gently wipe your baby’s eyelid. Always wipe from the inner eye to the outer eye. Make sure that you use a different ball of cotton for each eyelid.
  • Keep pouring cupfuls of warm water over his body, so that he does not get cold.
  • Pour a small amount of bath soap on to a washcloth or sponge and rub it gently over the little one’s skin.
  • Wash out all the soap and use the washcloth to clean the baby’s face. Rinse the baby’s body by pouring a few cupfuls of clean water.
  • If you want to wash your baby’s hair, plain water is enough. Lay him down in the bathtub and splash some water on to the head gently. Be careful to ensure that the water does not go into his eyes.
  • Wraps your little one in a soft towel and pat him dry.

Many parents prefer bathing their babies every day; however, a daily bath isn’t necessary until your little one starts crawling. Given below are a few simple dos and don’ts to keep in mind while bathing your baby –


  • Try to give your baby a sponge bath till the stump of the umbilical cord falls off
  • Make sure that you test the water, before placing your little one in it
  • While easing your baby into the water, support his head and neck
  • The baby soap you use should be mild, or it will give him a rash
  • Use a soft and clean washcloth, so that it does not irritate the baby’s skin


  • Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub, not even for a few seconds
  • Avoid over-bathing your baby as it will dry his skin out
  • Never fill more than 3 to 5cm of water in the tub
  • Never bathe your baby immediately after a feed
  • Never use hot or cold water for a baby bath

It is a good idea to rub some mild lotion on the baby’s skin once you have patted him dry. In case you little one is prone to a rash or other skin problems, as the doctor to prescribe medicated creams and lotions.

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