How Often To Bathe Newborn: 3 Times

Babies are very cute, but it will be a few years before they’re able to do some things by themselves. Parents need to change diapers, feed them, change their clothes, and give them baths.

If you and your partner have a newborn, you might be wondering how often you need to give them a bath. Do they need a bath every day? Or is once a week better? After all, most of the messes that newborns make can be cleaned with wipes. They don’t really sweat or get dirty, so they don’t need to be washed very often, right?

Fortunately, The Mommy Care Kit has the answers that you need. Baths can be intimidating for parents, especially if it’s your first time. However, with a little help and knowledge, you and your baby can have a great time in the bath.

When Should I Start Bathing My Newborn?

There are two types of baths that you should give your newborn: sponge baths and full baths. After your little one is born, it’s best to avoid giving them a full bath until they are about two weeks old. Usually, your newborn’s umbilical cord falls off after one to three weeks — they shouldn’t be bathed until the umbilical cord falls off. 

Sponge baths are great for babies. It helps them get clean while avoiding immersing them in water. Sponge baths can also be a little easier to give, so it’s an excellent way for new parents to start keeping their newborns clean.

However, your baby's first sponge bath shouldn’t be given until at least 24 hours after your baby’s birth. If necessary, you can bathe them after six hours, but generally, it’s best to wait until the next day. Sometimes, if the mother has a health condition that could be transferred to the baby, doctors may wash the little one immediately.

Why Should I Wait a Little Bit?

Waiting to give your newborn a bath actually has a lot of benefits for your baby. When your little one is first born, their environment changes dramatically, and they need time to adjust to everything. 

When you give birth, your baby will be covered in a white, waxy substance called vernix caseosa. Your first instinct might be to clean it off, but it actually helps moisturize your baby’s skin. It may also potentially have antibacterial properties.

Many pediatricians and global health organizations say that leaving vernix on a baby’s skin for the first few hours of their life can prevent their skin from drying out.

Delaying your baby’s first bath can also help your little one with their body temperature and blood sugar levels. After all, they just left a super warm and wet environment, so it will take some time for their body to adjust. Giving your baby a bath too early can cause them to feel too cold.

Baths are also a big event for a baby that was just born. The stress could cause a baby’s blood sugar to drop a little bit.

Waiting to give your baby their first bath can also benefit breastfeeding. If you and your partner decide to breastfeed, waiting for that 24-hour period can increase the amount of time you can do skin-to-skin contact, which facilitates bonding. It also means that your baby will be less irritable since they weren’t put in a cold and stressful situation.

After 24 hours, you can give your baby their first sponge bath.

How Many Times a Week Does My Baby Need a Bath?

Newborns don’t need baths very often. They don’t have much of an opportunity to get dirty, and bathing too often can cause your little one’s skin to dry out. Usually, three times a week should be often enough to keep your baby clean, but not so often that their skin will dry out.

However, if you want to make daily baths a part of your newborn bath routine, it shouldn’t affect your child’s health. As long as your doctor says it’s okay, you’re applying lotion, and you're continuing to clean your baby after each diaper change, daily baths should be okay.

In between baths, be thorough when you're cleaning your baby in other ways, like when you’re changing their diaper or cleaning up spit up. You might also want to check all the little folds that your baby has to make sure there isn’t a build-up of dirt.

When you bathe your little one, it doesn’t really matter what time of day you do it. Baths at night can be a wonderful part of a bedtime routine, but if your little one is more of a morning baby, a morning bath may work better.

It’s best to give your baby a bath when you don’t need to rush, or you won’t be interrupted. That way, you can keep your baby safe and clean them thoroughly. If your baby just ate, you should wait a bit for their stomach to settle down before you give them a bath.

How Often To Bathe Newborn: 3 Times

How Should I Bathe My Baby?

Giving your baby a bath is fairly easy, but your methods should vary depending on how old your baby is and what type of bath you’re giving them. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

Newborn babies don’t have the ability to self-regulate their temperature, so when you do give them a bath, you should make sure that your baby stays warm. The room needs to be warm, and the water temperature should be less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You may even want to purchase a water heater to help make sure the water stays at the right temperature.

It’s also important to get all your supplies ready before you give your little one a bath. That way, you won’t need to take your eyes or your hand off your baby as you’re washing them. We want to practice safe bathing, so you and your baby can enjoy bath time without stress.

When you wash your newborn, you should be very gentle. Their skin is very sensitive, and you want to avoid putting pressure on the soft spots on their heads. You should also make sure you clean out all the creases in their skin, especially in the diaper area. 

Sponge Baths

Sponge baths are best for the first couple of weeks until the umbilical cord falls off. If the cord gets wet, it may take longer for it to fall off, and it may develop an infection. By using a damp washcloth, you can wash in all the areas that your baby needs cleaned while avoiding the umbilical cord stump.

When bathing an infant, start by washing your baby’s face and then finish with the diaper area. You’ll want a flat surface that’s padded if it’s hard, a dry towel, clean, soap-free water, and any materials you might need.

To help your baby stay warm, you should wrap them in a dry towel and uncover areas as you clean them. That can keep your baby warm and covered.

Full Baths

For a full baby bath, you’ll be partially immersing your little one in lukewarm water. After their umbilical cord falls off, you can try giving your baby short baths. Once your baby gets used to them, you can start giving them longer baths.

Giving your baby a full bath will be easier if you use a sink or a baby bathtub. Bath seats don’t really work for newborns since they can’t support their heads, and they aren’t advisable for older babies either, even.

It’s important to remember to support your newborn’s back. You’ll only want your baby to have their legs and part of their tummy and back in the bath water. When you fill the tub, you’ll only need two inches of water. Your newborn is still small, and it should be sufficient to clean your baby with. (Babies aren’t the only ones; moms need back support too.)

Since part of your baby’s body will be above water, you can pour warm water over their back and stomach to keep them from getting too cold. You could use a small cup or pitcher to do so, and it can also be used for rinsing your baby off after you wash them with soap, being sure to avoid your baby’s eyes. Your baby should go into the water feet first and keep a firm hold on them.

Your newborn won’t really need any bath toys since they aren’t really coordinated yet. 

What Kind of Soap/Shampoo Should I Use?

When you buy baby soap, you may want to find soap that is fragrance-free, moisturizing, and mild. This is the same for baby shampoo. Babies will have delicate skin, and soap with fragrances can cause rashes. If you notice a rash, you might need to switch soaps to a different brand or consult with your baby’s doctor.

After you dry your baby off, you might also want to consider using a fragrance-free moisturizer. If your little one has especially sensitive skin, you might want to use a hypoallergenic lotion. It can help prevent dry skin or eczema.

Happy, Clean, and Healthy

Babies are adorable, and while they can make messes, usually, you won’t need to give your newborn a bath more than three days a week. They can stay clean without drying out their skin. With a little fragrance-free soap and some moisturizer, you can keep your baby’s skin soft, clean, and smooth.

Bathing your baby may seem intimidating at first, but you can start slowly with sponge baths, and once your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, you can move on to full baby baths. 

We know that being a new parent can be challenging, so we want to offer you all the support we can.

If you want to learn more about caring for your new little one, you can check out our pregnancy blog.


Baby bath basics: A parent's guide | Mayo Clinic

Bathing Your Baby |

How often should you bathe your baby, from birth through early childhood? | Pediatrics | Your Pregnancy Matters | UT Southwestern Medical Center

Is There a Preventive Role for Vernix Caseosa?: An Invitro Study | PMC