A Step by Step Guide on How to Give a Baby a Bath

As you read this, you might be thinking, “I really thought bathing a baby would seem like a given, a lot U.Nmysterious task” or “Why do I have to Not do you know how to bathe my newborn?” but guess what? It’s okay to be a newbie. It’s okay to realize midway through the task that you actually have no idea if you’re doing this correctly. It’s okay to be so madly tired as a new parent that before you engage in a single activity with your baby, you want to double-check that you’re doing it in a meaningful, safe, and easy way. Here are expert tips and a step-by-step guide on how to bathe a baby.

Bathe a baby in 5 steps, according to a pediatrician

Who doesn’t love a simple guide? Neela Sethi, MD, a MAM Baby ambassador and practicing pediatrician, shares the following simple tips for giving your baby their first, second or 100th bath.

1. Keep them cozy

To begin with, Dr. Sethi to undress the baby in a comfortable place somewhere near the bathtub.

2. Wash your face first

Before putting the baby in the bath, cover them with a towel to keep them nice and warm and pre-wash the baby’s face to avoid water on their face during bathing. To do this, use a soft, warm cloth.

Related: 11 Best Baby Bathtubs That Don’t Need A Second Pair Of Hands

3. Put her feet first in the bathtub

You know that classic baby hold with the baby’s head in the crook of your arm and your hand free to hold the little hand or arm furthest from your body? Adjust this slightly to slowly place baby feet first in the tub. Rest the baby’s head on your forearm, with the hand of the same arm gently but firmly holding the baby’s arm to one side. Your other arm can support baby’s bottom and legs while you gently adjust them to the feel of the water.

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4. Skip the soap

For young babies (even as young as 6 months), clean, warm water is all you need – no soap or bubbles needed. dr Sethi recommends gently cleaning the baby’s head and hair, and then going to the tummy and back, armpits, genital area and bottom. Cute little baby rolls are prone to inflammation and rashes if not kept clean, so don’t forget to focus on the creases!

Related: 3 Brilliant Products That Make Bathing With Baby *so* Much Easier

5. Gently but firmly lift them up

When bath time is over, using a gentle but firm grip on one arm and legs/feet, slowly lift baby out of the tub and place them on a fresh, fluffy towel.

The best baby bathtubs

Blooming bath lotus baby bath seat

Best suited for infant washbasins


Sink bathrooms have never been so cozy or adorable! The Blooming Bath Lotus fits comfortably in most sinks and offers a cozy, spa-like bath time for babies up to six months. It’s made from antimicrobial foam that won’t mold or mildew and is covered in a luxurious minky fabric that’s so gentle on baby’s skin. When bath time is over, ring it off and pop it in the dryer before storing it for next time.

Reviewers say: “This article should be a must read for all baby registries. This is our sixth child and we’ve done everything from the carrycot to the mesh lounge seat…this is by far the most amazing bath item…our son climbs in and relaxes immediately, it’s so soft he just sink into it . We can use it from the smallest sink in our bathroom to the biggest sink in our kitchen! absolutely the best purchase!!!“—Stephanie

Blessing Soak 3 Tier Bathtub

Best non-slip baby bath


Boon makes some of the most innovative and ingenious baby products on the market. Their simple design and modern aesthetic make everything from mealtime to bathing easier and more enjoyable, so it’s no surprise that their Soak 3-Stage Bathtub made the list. This durable style grows with your little one from newborn to toddler by flipping (and eventually removing) the center insert. A contoured backing and non-slip spongy pad keeps slippery babies happy and upright with a depth that allows them to be comfortably submerged and warm. It’s made from a durable but lightweight plastic that’s super easy to keep clean, while the overall footprint is streamlined enough to fit in some sinks in addition to the regular bathtub. And if you’re concerned about the right water temperature, check out the color-changing drain plug, which changes from dark to light gray when the ideal temperature is reached.

Reviewers say: “We can highly recommend this bathtub. This was without a doubt one of the best purchases we have ever made for our baby. It’s versatile, adjustable, safe, easy to clean and very durable. A big selling point for us is that this tub is also free of hazardous plastics/plasticizers. We’ve been using this tub since our child was about 1 month old and it seems like it will probably work until she is at least 1.5 years old.

Primo Eurobad

Best bath for bathing baby solo


Board-certified nurse and midwife Diana Spalding swears by this brilliantly innovative carrycot that makes it easy to bathe your baby safely without worrying about them slipping underneath or needing an extra pair of hands to handle them. The anatomical ribs keep them in a comfortable reclining position with support under their arms and between their legs and once they can sit up they can use the other end and hold on to the middle for support. Roomier (and larger overall) than the others on this list, both positions allow little ones to be warm and submerged, making for happier bath time for all.

Reviewers say: “This bath changed our bath time! Our first kid hated baths – and we were on our way to having the same experience with our second until we got this! Our baby loves baths now! This is easy to fill, he has a nice place to sit, we can have it on the counter so as not to have our backs… and his sister can even get in and join him for a bath if she wants. It is great! It’s big – I was apprehensive when we first got it, but we use it every day and I would recommend it to any new parent.” – Joan H.

Accessories for bathing babies

We want to emphasize that baby bath time doesn’t have to be complicated. So what do you really need?

  • A safe place to bathe your baby. Sometimes this looks like a sling style bath seat to put in the kitchen sink when your baby is little. To others, this looks like a separate tub that can stand on the bathroom floor or in the larger tub in their bathroom and be filled to a level just deep enough to keep baby warm while propped up in the water lies.
  • A few soft, clean towels and washcloths. These may or may not be made specifically for babies, but the key is that they are extra soft as babies can have sensitive skin.
  • Finally, a gentle, unscented baby soap. However, keep in mind that the use of soap for bathing is not necessary for the first few months. When babies are small and essentially immobile, soaps and detergents are an unnecessary step that can irritate or overly dry baby’s skin by stripping away natural oils.

A few of our favorite baby bath essentials

5 baby bath time safety tips to keep in mind

As a pediatric nurse, I am a big supporter of Safety First. Here’s what else you need to know to make bath time safe and easy for everyone involved.

1. Gather what you need before taking the baby to the bathing area

The temptation to leave the baby unattended while you “just grab one thing” will be real. Make sure you have everything you need before you start bathing to resist this temptation altogether as it is unsafe to leave babies or young children unattended in water of any depth.

2. Test the water first

While as adults we love a nice hot bath, our skin is thicker and stronger, my friends, and can easily endure temperatures that would burn our babies. Lukewarm water is fine for babies, and it’s best to test the water on a sensitive area of ​​your own skin. Think of the inside of your wrist, not a finger or some other weathered area of ​​your skin.

Related: How often do kids *really* need to take a bath?

3. Be brief

Small babies aren’t good at regulating their body temperature, so it’s best to keep baths short. Five minutes is enough and gives the baby a chance to get used to the water and maybe even relax a little.

4. Always hold your baby in your hand

Countless newborns have surprised their parents with a sudden jerky movement that resulted in an otherwise avoidable fall, and the slippery nature of bathtime increases that risk a bit.

5. Don’t leave the baby alone

Because it’s the cardinal rule of watertime, I’ll say it again. Never leave your baby alone in the bath.

bottom line? Bath time doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple supplies and a little prep is all you need. You are doing well, my friends.

Selected experts

Neela Sethi, MD, is a Mom baby Ambassador and practicing pediatrician.

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