Newborn Bath Technique | CAPPA

Many of my clients are anxious about bathing their baby at home. I have a great way that is easy for them to do and doesn’t stress the baby out. I teach this to both parents (if there are 2) at the same time because it is best for them to do it together the first few baths. I have a few things that I share with them before birth and before we start the first bath.

It is best not to shower in the hospital even though most of our hospitals do not offer baths until 24 hours after birth. I explained that the vernix is ​​an anti-world protectant and lasts up to 2 weeks on the baby and does not need to be rubbed off. If the baby’s head is fuzzy from birth, wrap the baby and rinse their head in the sink.

The umbilical cord may be wet as long as it is patted dry but if parents wait 10 days to 2 weeks before bathing, the cord is usually gone by then.

Newborns do not need to be bathed more than once a week. Bathing may be needed more often for a baby who spits up a lot because sour milk can collect on the neck and behind the ears. If the baby has a sour smell on the neck and head, it’s time to bathe. Use a mild soap (I say don’t put anything on a new baby that you wouldn’t eat!). I give them some suggestions for organic, natural products that are readily available. They can also use lotion or oil if they want because this is a good time to do a little baby massage. I also let them know if bathing has become part of the night time routine, they can do it more often, just don’t use soap more than once a week because it can be drying on a baby’s sensitive skin.

Now for the bathing procedure:

First, set up everything you need on the kitchen counter…

      • Bath towel to put the baby’s towel on so it’s a softer surface
      • Soap and shampoo
      • Diapers and wipes
      • Washcloth (I just use my hands but use a washcloth to cover the boy’s genitals so he doesn’t pee all over the kitchen!)
      • Baby bath tub that fits over the sink or over the sink (I like the cheapest one with a small sling.)

Turn on the water and adjust the temperature to between 98.6 and 100 degrees, not too cold and not as hot as parents might like their bath to be. Make sure the water temperature remains constant throughout the bath…no toilets, washers or dishwashers running that could cause temperature fluctuations. Open the drain plugs in the tub to let the water flow.

The goal is for the water to flow deep into the baby as much as possible while bathing. As long as the baby stays warm, they are relatively calm and do not cry. When you first put them in the bath, they may worry a little, but you can talk to them calmly and let them know how good the water feels and they usually calm down. Continue to talk calmly to the baby during the bath.

Tell the parents that one person is in charge of the water and keeps it deep in the baby except for the soapy rinse, which always returns to the deep. The other parent is in charge of the soap, starting from the head and working down, with the other rinsing each part as they go. There is no need to wash the baby’s face, pass your hand over it and hold one hand to their forehead to reduce the amount of water running down the face. Remember, the baby holds his breath the moment the water hits his face. I mention not to use too much soap on the baby girl’s genital area because it can wash away the protective, good bacteria and to make sure they get behind the baby’s ears and in all their folds and crevices. When the baby’s front is done, turn the baby over and wash his back in the same way, always returning the water to the bottom as soon as possible.

Once all parts have been rinsed, move the water back to the core for a few seconds. Do not turn off the water until the baby is out. Immediately wrap them in a dry towel and then hold them for a while. Once they seem calmer and more relaxed, lay them out to dry, covering the top of the body while drying the lower part and then covering the bottom to make the upper parts. As long as the baby doesn’t catch a cold, they stay calm and don’t cry most of the time.

While the parents showered, I stood and taught them and did not help in the process. This helps build their confidence and helps them feel better about bathing alone.


About the Author

Carolyn is a mother, grandmother, and former elementary school teacher who grew up in a large family, raising babies from an early age. In addition to a BA in Elementary Education, she has a Masters in Applied Communication. Carolyn has many years of experience in adult education; teaching marketing, public speaking, memory strategies, and neuro linguistic programming topics. She has pursued a variety of interesting and rewarding careers in addition to teaching that include retail management, marketing, public relations, and interior design. Everything Carolyn did then led her to find her true passion in this doula work. “I see this as making a huge difference in the world of families and babies, as well as making a difference in our current and future world.” She is dedicated to sharing and teaching the experiences and information she has learned, making doula services more available to more families.

Carolyn Butler

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