13 November 2018

Bathing a newborn: when and how to do it

How to bathe a baby, the right temperature and what to pay attention to

The first bath is a beautiful but also very delicate moment for your child. All parents are worried about this tender moment. Common questions and concerns that come up are: is the water too cold or too hot? Should I do it before or after of the umbilical cord falls off? In the following article we will give you some tips about your baby’s first bath, explaining when and how to do it.

Bathing your baby, what you need to know

The birth of a baby brings a lot of happiness to his parents, who think about his future, how will he grow up, but also looking forward to all the things they will do together: including the easiest ones, like his first bath

It is a very important and intimate moment, rich of emotions. Before being discharged from hospital, the new mums usually receive by the paediatricians some instructions about the first bath at home, but they are never enough. This article is a collection of the most important things to know about the bath of your baby, according to the best paediatric Italian hospitals.  

First of all, the bath is an intimate moment not only for mother and child, but also for the whole family: it is very important the presence of both parents, who will boost their parents-baby bond and also they will enjoy together an unforgettable experience.

The bath is very important both for the baby’s cleanliness and to create a good habit: to bathe your child always at the same time and in the same way, creates a ritual that will help the baby fall asleep.

Tips for the baby’s first bath

Don’t panic, the first bath is a beautiful experience for the baby, who will of course need attention but also tranquility: it must be a relaxing moment to live with the baby, letting him feel safe and making him happy.  

How to bathe your baby, a short step-by-step guide for all the parents.



  • When can I give my newborn a bath for the first time?

Before bathing for the first time your baby in a bath tub, you must wait that the umbilical cord stump has fallen completely. On the contrary, you have to bathe only some parts of your newborn’s body, using a sponge, without immerging him into the water, making sure he doesn’t catch cold and he doesn’t remain wet for a long time.

  • When can I bath my child?

There isn’t a right time of the day to bathe your child, but you must do it on empty stomach if you feed him with powdered milk, to not disturb his digestion; however, if you breast-feed him you can bathe him soon after the feeding time, thanks to the high digestibility of the mother’s milk.

  • What should I have during the baby's bath? 

Never leave your child unattended, so gather all your bath supplies before starting your baby’s bath. You must need a soft towel, baby wipes, a clean diaper and a change of clothes, a no foaming mild baby shampoo and soap, a moisturizing cream and emollient oil for your newborn’s body.

  • What about the water temperature?

The water temperature is fundamental: the water must feel warm, but not hot, around 98,5 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). The room must be comfortably warm, with a temperature around 71,6 to 73,4 degrees Fahrenheit ( 22-23 degrees Celsius) so your baby doesn’t get chilled.   

  • What type of baby tub is the best?

Never leave your baby unsupervised, even for a minute, any kind of distraction must be avoided, for this reason it is recommended the use of a baby bath that is also a changing mat, like Pratico by Brevi: thanks to the automatic hook, the changing mat can be opened and closed with just one hand, which allows to hold the baby during all phases of bathing and changing. Pratico simplifies all phases of use, both bathing and changing, making your baby have fun.

  • What is the best way to hold my newborn in the tub?

After filling the baby bathtub with about 3 inches of water that feels warm, gradually slip your baby into the tub, holding his neck and head with the nondominant arm and washing him with the other hand. Even if you use specific baby soaps, it is recommended to rinse your baby thoroughly with cupfuls of warm clean water, paying attention to his neck and ears.

  • How long is the baby’s bath? How often should I bathe my child?

There is no limits: the bath is a relaxing moment, so it can last until the water becomes colder and until the baby enjoys it. You can bathe your baby once a day, but if your baby doesn’t like it, you can bathe him once a week, washing only some parts of his body with a gentle sponge.

  • What should I avoid while bathing a baby?

You must pay attention to many factors, beyond those that concern setting up the baby bath. You must remove all the baby toys and anything that can attract the attention of the child, who could go back into the water without control; you must remove and keep on the top shelves any appliance or objects that can hurt the baby as blades, detergents or medicines.


After this small list, you can enjoy with your newborn his first bath, because it is very important to do it all together. It will bind together parents and child, and it will become one of the first milestone of your family.


Sources: Ospedale Pediatrico bambino Gesù, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Meyer, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Ospedale Infantile Burlo Garofolo

This article is for informative and didactic purposes only. Brevi takes no responsibility for any facts or consequences deriving from the application of the above-mentioned notions.