The new baby grooming guide
Bathtime with baby is a lot of fun – here’s how to do it right
Here’s the thing: babies don’t really get dirty (that’ll come later, believe us). But they do need to be bathed, and what’s more, bathtime can be a brilliant way to cue the end of the day for your little one. But before you get started, here are a few things to know about bathing and grooming your newborn.
First up, your new newborn doesn’t really need to be bathed – most babies can go up to a week without being washed. Yep, even though you might think they “need” a wash after birth, babies are actually coated in a substance called vernix, which protects them from the amniotic fluid in utero. This coating, which looks a little like waxy white cheese, has immune-boosting properties, so leaving it on your baby’s skin for as long as possible is a great way to ensure they stay protected. If you can, try to delay your baby’s bath for at least a few days, if not a full week.
When you are ready to bathe your baby, do a sponge bath first – at least until their umbilical cord stump has fallen off. Remember to get that sponge inside the folds of their skin (gently, of course!), and then dry these areas properly afterwards. Your baby only needs to be bathed 2-3 times a week, but if your baby enjoys the bath (and most do!), feel free to do it nightly. It can be a great way to signal that the day is over and that it’s time for bed.
A few things to keep in mind when bathing your tot:
- Keep your supplies close at hand. Have a towel, diaper and a set of pyjamas ready for the end of the bath, and a washcloth and baby wash close by in the bath.
- Ensure the water temperature is warm. Babies lose heat quickly, so you want the water to be around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a water thermometer if you’re unsure.
- Babies love company in the bath. Feel free to hop in when you can and get some extra skin-on-skin time. You can even breastfeed in the bath, which many babies (and their moms) find relaxing. If you do get in with your baby, make sure someone else is there to get them out to avoid slips.
- Never leave your baby alone in the bath – not even for a second.
- Wash your baby’s face first, with a warm wet washcloth. (You can use a little soap if necessary, but avoid the eyes and nostrils.) Then wash the rest of their body, making sure to get into their nooks and crannies with a small amount of gentle baby body wash (using too much can irritate your tot’s skin and leave it dry). Wash little girls’ bottoms front-to-back and clean the outside folds of their vulva – but don’t clean inside the labia unless there’s a real need. If your little boy’s penis is uncircumcised, wipe it clean (there’s no need to fold the skin back). If he is circumcised, simply wash the penis.
- You don’t really need to shampoo your baby’s hair, unless she has a lot of it. If your baby does need her hair washed, use a small amount of gentle baby shampoo (that’s free of nasties and sulphates) and massage it all over your baby’s head, taking care of the soft spot in the middle known as the fontenelle.
- Use products that are gentle on your baby’s skin. Your baby’s skin is so pure, delicate and sensitive. To protect it, choose products with natural, organic ingredients free of nasties like synthetic fragrances and alcohol.
For more on your baby’s grooming needs, check out our hand guides to:
- Diaper rash
- Choosing a safe moisturizer
- Caring for your baby’s teeth
- Lotions and creams for sensitive skin.
The Tot’s Baby Grooming Edit
- FridaBaby NailFrida Snipper Clipper Set: The thought of clipping your baby’s teeny little nails can be terrifying! Nix the fear with this nifty clipper set – it features a safety “spy hole” so you can see exactly what you’re doing. Phew! Keeping your baby’s nails clipped will ensure they won’t do themselves damage when they scratch their face (as little ones often do). Try not to use mittens for this, as they can fall off and become a choking hazard.
- Green Sprouts Baby Nail Brush: With natural bristles, this brush eases away any dirt that may be trapped under your baby’s nails.
- FridaBaby NoseFrida with Carrycase: Does your tot have a cold? Help them ease their congested nose with the NoseFrida. You suck the snot out, and a handy valve catches it for you (and ensures none winds up in your mouth!!). Yes, it’s a tiny bit gross but incredibly clever – and useful.
- Erbaviva Baby Body Wash: With comforting ingredients like aloe, oat and calendula extracts, this body wash cleans while nourishing your tot’s skin.
- Erbaviva Baby Shampoo: When your baby is ready, treat them to this ultra-gentle shampoo, made with lavender, chamomile and Oregon grape extract oils.
- Erbaviva Baby Lotion: Once your baby is dry, apply this lotion, which is specially formulated for their sensitive skin, using organic ingredients like mandarin and chamomile oils and cocoa and shea butters.
- Erbaviva Cradle Cap Oil: Cradle cap is one of the inevitabilities of life with a baby – it’s just going to happen. When it does, apply this luxurious oil, made with lemon, eucalyptus, vitamin E and rosemary.
- Boon Soak Newborn to Toddler Bathtub: Boon’s products are always versatile, and this bathtub – which can be used for newborns, then babies and toddlers – is no different. It has an in-built non-slip mat (essential!) and a plug that changes color according to the water temperature.
- Little Unicorn Cotton Wash Cloth Set: Made of muslin and terry cloth, this washcloth set will make bathtime comfortable for your tot.
- Milkbarn Hooded Towel: When bathtime is over, wrap them up in this gorgeous, soft, 100 per cent organic cotton towel – with a hood for extra warmth.