Whether you’re a first time parent or bringing another bundle of joy into the world, how on earth are you meant to know how often you should give your baby a bath? It’s a well known fact that newborn skin in particular is much more delicate and sensitive, but at the same time, with nappy explosions galore, is once every 2 days or once a day even enough?
Firstly, don’t panic! There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer, like everything in parenting, it’s what works best for you and your baby. The newborn days are the days you need to be more mindful about how often you are washing baby. Here’s some of our top tips to help you create a bath time routine that is relevant to your baby’s age.
Bathing A Newborn
When a baby is 0-3 months old this is when their skin is at their most delicate and frequent baths will dry out their skin. When they are a newborn and they still have their umbilical stump, one to two times per week is more than enough. Until the stump falls off experts recommend a ‘top and tail’ wash so their body is not fully submerged in water. Just use a warm cloth and give them a gentle sponge bath from their head working downwards to their body.
Once their umbilical stump has fallen off you can start giving baby a traditional bath. Be careful to keep babies temperature lukewarm, they can get cold quite quickly during bath time so these baths should be less than 10 minutes long and you can keep their body warmer by placing damp washcloths on their body. Check the temperature with your elbow to ensure it’s not too hot. Never leave your baby alone in the bath.
If you are looking more information on washing your baby check out our blog on bathing your newborn!
3 to 6 Months Old
Should much really change in how often you’re bathing baby at the 3-6 months stage? Baby will be getting to that stage that they’re hopefully now loving bath time. Continuing to bath baby one to two times per week is more than enough with sponge baths in between, but if baby particularly loves bath time then you might want to try bathing them a little more often. As we mentioned at the start, just do what you think is appropriate for baby.
Babies skin is still quite delicate during this time and their skin will dry out from frequent baths so be mindful of this and slather them in a lovely, baby friendly body moisturiser after bath time to keep their skin nice and supple.
6 to 12 Months Old
You can start to increase the frequency of baby’s bath time between 6 and 12 months. They’ll probably be eating solids by now and you can imagine how messy some meal times can get! Whilst they still only need around 1-2 baths a week, they may need more frequent bath times to clean up any explosions or food messes.
Bath time as part of a daily routine can also help to calm and soothe baby before their bed time, if this is something that really helps your little one then there is nothing wrong with making bath time a daily fixture during this age.
The presumption is that one to two baths a week is not enough for baby. But unlike adults, babies don’t sweat or get dirty in the same way as adults and their skin is much more sensitive when they are young. If your baby has a skin condition, to avoid their skin drying out even more then you may want to bathe them even less based on a plan with your doctor to help baby stay comfortable.
If baby loves bath time then have a short bath time routine each day, if baby doesn’t then one to two baths per week is also enough. Just do what works best for you and your baby!