What about water temperature?
Warm water is best. To prevent scalding, set the thermostat on your water heater to below 120 F (49 C). Always check the water temperature with your hand before bathing your baby. Aim for bath water around 100 F (38 C). Be sure the room is comfortably warm, too. A wet baby can be easily chilled.
What's the best way to hold my newborn in the tub?
A secure hold will help your baby feel comfortable — and stay safe — in the tub. Use your nondominant arm to support your baby's head and neck and the other to hold and guide your baby's body into the water, feet first. Continue supporting your baby's head and back as needed. You might reach behind your baby and hold on to his or her opposite arm throughout the bath.
What should I wash first?
Most parents start with the baby's face and move down to dirtier parts of the body. This keeps rinsed areas from getting soapy again.
Should I wash my newborn's hair?
If your newborn has hair and you think it needs washing, go ahead. With your free hand gently massage a drop of mild baby shampoo into your baby's scalp. Rinse the shampoo with a cup of water or a damp washcloth, cupping one hand across your baby's forehead to keep suds out of his or her eyes.
Will lotion after a baby bath help prevent rashes?
Most newborns don't need lotion after a bath. If his or her skin is very dry, apply a small amount of unscented baby moisturizer to the dry areas. The massage might make your baby feel good. If dryness continues, you might be bathing your baby too often.
Oct. 25, 2016
See more In-depth
- Shelov SP, et al. Basic infant care. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.
- Ness MJ, et al. Neonatal skin care: A concise review. International Journal of Dermatology. 2013;52:14.
- Jana LA, et al. Baby bath basics. In: Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. 3rd ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2015.