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Bathing your newborn

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New babies are so small and wriggly, all new parents can get a little nervous when it comes to bath time. But once you’ve got the hang of it and your baby is used to it, a bath can be really fun!

The main thing is to go slowly, and keep a close watch on your wee one. They might be a champion swimmer one day, but for now it’s best to play it safe. As long as the bath water stays warm, your baby will be fine - so take your time.

Top tips from parents

Tip #1: Be prepared

Tip #1: Be prepared

Tip #1: Be prepared

Make sure you have everything you need within easy reach before you start: towels, cotton wool, a fresh nappy and clean clothes.

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Tip #2: Test the water

Check that the temperature of the water is lukewarm with your elbow or bath thermometer, and give it a stir to even out the hot patches before your baby goes in the water. This will protect your wee one and give you peace of mind too.

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Tip #3: Babies are wee

Tip #3: Babies are wee

Tip #3: Babies are wee

Your baby doesn’t need a proper bath tub - a basin or a small baby bath will work just as well.

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Tip #4: Belly buttons

The umbilical cord will fall off around 10 days after your baby is born. Just wash around it gently until this happens.

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What the professionals say

Don't put your baby in the bath while the water is still running, as the water temperature can change very quickly and become too hot or cold. You also want to make sure they don’t get too cold once they’re out of the bath – wrap your baby in a dry towel and give them a cuddle for about 10 minutes before dressing them. And never take your eyes off them once they’re in the bath – even for just a second.

Common bath time questions

How often do I need to bathe my newborn?

There’s no need to give them a bath every day – a ‘top and tail’ wash will do to clean your baby’s face, neck and bottom.

Check here for more information.

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How do I bathe my baby?

You don’t need a bath - a basin or small baby bath works, and will be easier for you too. Make sure the water is lukewarm (by testing it with your elbow or bath thermometer) and the water is no more than 5 inches deep for babies under 6 months old. Take a look at Ready Steady Baby for some pointers.

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More information

To find out more about bathing your baby, speak to your midwife or health visitor or get lots of advice at Ready Steady Baby.

Last updated: 26 Oct, 2018

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