How To Bathe A Newborn Baby At Home With Or Without An Umbilical Cord

Your baby’s skin is still sensitive, so you must be careful and gentle during bath time. Here’s a quick lesson on how to bathe a newborn baby!

Bathing a newborn can be daunting and scary, especially for first-time mamas. The approach can differ, especially between babies who haven’t lost their umbilical cords yet and those who have already lost them. In this article, we’re focusing on everything you need to know about bathing a newborn babyfrom why they need them in the first place to how to choose a safe baby soap.

Table of Contents

Why do babies need a bath?
How often should I bathe my baby and what time?
How to bathe a newborn baby with an umbilical cord?
How to bathe a newborn baby without an umbilical cord?
What baby bath safety tips should I remember?
How do I choose a safe baby wash?

Skip ahead to any section you find the most interesting!

Why Do Babies Need A Bath?

Giving babies a bath is a way to help protect their healths. A good bath helps keep your baby clean and prevent rashes. Baths can also control excess oil on their hairs. According to experts, babies whose hair aren’t cleaned are more prone to cradle cap, which causes flaky skin on the hairand the eyebrows, too. 

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio also highlight that bath time is a great bonding experience between mamas and babies. “It’s a good time to talk to your baby and let him learn to make sounds and make eye contact,” they add.


How Often To Bathe Your Baby and What Time?

For newborns, a daily bath is not necessary because it can dry out their skin. Most recommended three times a week to be the optimal frequency for newborns. But once your baby is mobile and active, you can opt to bathe them daily.

The time you bathe your baby is up to you, Mama. Some parents prefer to bath in the mornings, while others prefer at night as part of a bedtime routine to help their babies sleep. When choosing a bath time, it’s best to go for hours where you are not rushing.


How to Bathe A Newborn With An Umbilical Cord

A sponge bath is usually the first method for Mamas to clean their little ones. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP_ recommends a sponge bath until the umbilical cord falls off.

It takes approximately two weeks for the stump to fall off, but of course, it isn’t always consistent. In some babies, the stump falls as early as five days after birth. However, if the stump has not dried up and fallen off by three weeks old, it’s recommended to consult a doctor to assess the umbilical cord.

Here’s how to properly bathe your baby if the umbilical cord is still attached! Save this on your mobile phone, so you can easily remember it, too. 🙂

How to bathe a newborn baby with umbilical cord

How to Bathe A Newborn Whose Umbilicard Cord Has Fallen Off

Once the umbilical stump is gone, it’s safe to use a bathtub to bathe your newborn baby. Initially, you may face some resistance because they’re not used to it. If your baby is crying and refusing, gently ease him/her into the bathtub. Do this by holding their head in your hands and soaking their feet in the tub.

Here’s a visual guide to help you, Mamas! Save this on your mobile phone, so you can easily remember it, too. 🙂

How to bathe a newborn baby once the umbilical cord has fallen off

Baby Bath Safety Tips: 8 Important Things To Remember

Bathing a newborn baby seems easy enough, right? With a bit of practice and guidance, you’d be bathing your baby with ease. In the meantime, here are essential safety tips for cleaning newborn babies:

  1. Never ever leave your baby unattended, even for a second.
  2. Don’t fill a bathtub with too much water. The AAP recommends just 2 inches of water.
  3. Make sure the bath water is warm. The ideal bath water temperature is 98.6°F (between 37°C and 38°C). You can also use a quick test using the inside of your wrist or elbow.
  4. Make sure the room temperature is also warm. Babies can get cold quickly, especially when they’re naked. Keep them away from drafts, too. 
  5. Keep a firm hold on your baby. Their bodies can be slippery, mainly when you apply baby wash or soap. 
  6. Make sure everything you need is within your reach. Doing this prevents you from stepping out of the room in the middle of bathtime, too.
  7. In the first year, babies only need to bathe three times a week as long as the diaper area is kept clean. But if the weather is hot and the baby is sweating a lot, bathing once a day is okay as long as the soap is safe for sensitive skin.
  8. Test whether the baby soap and shampoo you are using are suitable for your little one’s skin. Do this by applying a small amount to the baby’s arm and waiting a few hours. If there is no reaction, then the soap is suitable for your little one’s skin. This skin test is essential because choosing the wrong soap can trigger allergies and make your baby uncomfortable.


How to Choose a Safe Hair & Body Wash for Babies

Besides knowing how to bathe a newborn baby, it’s essential to understand how to choose a safe baby soap, too. Although there are many options available in the market, not all of them are safe.

When shopping for baby soap, watch out for the following harmful ingredients: 

  • Preservatives like parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) foam maker
  • Dye
  • Chemical antibacterials, such as triclosan
  • Fragrances
  • Niacinamide
  • Glycerin
  • Ceramides
  • Alcohol

According to dermatologist Rina Allwah, MD, “sulfates may cause skin irritation and strip the natural essential oils from the top layer of the skin, causing peeling and dry skin.” She adds that parabens should not be used for babies, too. This is because “they may cause skin irritation, itching, skin allergic rashes, and worsen eczema.”

Aren’t these tips on how to bathe a newborn baby easy to remember? We hope you find these helpful, Mama!

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Author Mama's Choice Team

Mama's Choice Team

A team of passionate writers, young mamas, and creative superheroes who help mamas face motherhood one educational article at a time!


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