Baby Guide, Care & Health

How to bathe a baby step by step

Water fun for the little ones – long before parents bathe their baby for the first time, there are many questions about the baby bath. The answers are partly completely individual.

When should a baby be bathed for the first time?

Many newborns receive their first bath after birth. The midwife or dad bathes it traditionally. Some midwives do not recommend bathing after birth because the so-called cheese grease has properties that protect the newborn’s skin. However, it is not present on all babies after birth on the skin. Also, the bath costs important minutes of mother-child bonding ( bonding ) in the first moments in common. 

The very first bath home should take place only when the navel has fallen off and completely healed. This minimizes the risk of germs entering the wound on the navel and causing infections. 

Especially in the first weeks after birth, bathing is a source of anxiety for many parents. However, the concerns of having the right bathing temperature or the right handle to help a baby enjoy a bath are minimizing as the baby bath becomes more routine. For the first bath, it is recommended to seek the help of a midwife.This can give you useful tips on the topic of bathing babies and toddlers. It is also often more relaxed when both parents support each other in baby bathing. 

How often are babies bathed?

Whether as a daily relaxation or a weekly feel-good bath – when and how often you bathe your baby is entirely up to you. Paediatricians, however, usually recommend one to two baths a week during the first weeks of life. If you live in a region with very hard water, too much or too long bathing can dry out the baby skin. For the cleanliness of the baby, it is usually sufficient if you regularly clean face, hands, and buttocks with a warm, damp washcloth. Bath additives are usually not necessary.

Bathe your baby when it’s dirty. This is usually only the case in the first few months of life when it has spit on milk, or the diaper could not hold everything. As soon as your baby crawls, it becomes more frequent opportunity or need to bathe it thoroughly.

Where should I bathe my baby?

A baby bath or bath bucket? Many parents already ask this question during their preparations shortly before birth. The opinions of midwives and pediatricians often diverge. As in other life situations of the baby is also true when bathing pleasure: trying is about studying. Depending on the size, sinks can also be used as a baby bath. Just use the bathing facilities that you and your baby feel comfortable. 

No matter how and where a baby is bathed, the safety aspect is never negligible. So babies and toddlers should never be left alone in the water. Just a few seconds can lead to unwanted swimming accidents.

When bathing in the sink, make sure that the baby can not accidentally operate the water lever and then hot water leads to burns. Therefore, it is best to change to cold water at the end of the water intake.

The baby bath step by step

The following steps are to be observed when bathing a baby:

  1. Prepare everything for the bath: 37 degrees warm water, soft washcloth and towels and possibly the diaper in handy proximity. For babies with lots of hair, you should have a baby brush ready. Always check the water with the thermometer. As small babies experience delayed pain, they react to water that is too hot much later than older children, which can lead to quicker, more painful, dangerous scalding.
  2. In a baby bath, this should be about 3/4 filled with water – here, however, the size of your baby is crucial.
  3. Preheat the wrapping area before. Babies feel bigger temperature differences than very uncomfortable. With a preheated winding station, you can minimize excessive temperature fluctuations and the risk of catching a cold. A bath towel with a hood also prevents a quick cooling down.
  4. Take off the baby. Make sure your baby feels comfortable enough to tackle the bathtub adventure. Babies with positive experiences in warm water can also be bathed if their mood is not so good. Often a bath, similar to adults, has a calming and relaxing effect. Even babies with bloating and abdominal pain feel a warm bath usually as pleasant.
  5. Carefully slide the baby into the water so that it does not get frightened by the water. Tell the baby what you are about to do with him, tell something merry or sing – this often has a calming effect on anxious babies. Hold the baby firmly in your crook. A midwife best shows the best handles.
  6. Gently wash your baby with a washcloth. When washing, think of the gaps in the skin and the less accessible areas, such as between the toes, behind the ears or the skin folds on the neck. Wash your hair at the end of bathing, so your baby does not cool over the head.
  7. Whether you use baby shampoo, lotion or soap is entirely up to you. If you would like to bathe your baby with some oil, for example,  to remove cradle cap on the head, remember that the skin will be particularly slippery when you take it out of the bathtub. Even a dash of breast milk in the bath water is said to have good effects on dry skin.
  8. After bathing, dry your baby as much as possible before putting it back on. To avoid sores and dermatitis in skin crevices, a thorough dry dabbing of all skin areas is very important. Many midwives also advise that the baby is blown gently. Watch out for boys but then that the small penis is covered with a washcloth or towel, so it does not come to a power accident.

The baby bathing should be about between Taking 5 to 10 minutes to keep your baby from overcooling. It’s best to have a watch in mind.

Soap and shampoo

In newborns, you can completely dispense with soap and shampoo, thorough washing with pure water is sufficient. To care for the delicate skin is after bath baby oil. If your baby is a little bigger, you can choose between two separate products and a convenient full-body wash lotion. As long as your baby does not have any wild hair, that’s a good choice. Baby skin is five times as thin as the skin of adults – so you should use a mild product that is not scented, does not burn in the eyes, and is suitable for sensitive baby skin.

Older babies and toddlers love products designed especially for children: they smell delicious (after watermelon or chewing gum), produce extra lather, color the water with harmless color – and a princess or pirate adorns the packaging.

Oam bath

Probably no baby does not like sitting in a tub with huge foam mountains and splashing. Only too! However, you should choose an unperfumed bubble bath that is suitable for sensitive skin and make sure that your baby does not drink the bathwater.

Essential oils should be avoided until infancy – these can cause dangerous seizures, especially in babies. Great fun in the bath is the way soap bubbles: Funny colorful, safe and a wonderful exercise for now gripping!

Washcloths and towels

An ordinary washcloth and a normal bath towel are of course enough. But specially designed for children washcloths and towels prepare the little ones a lot of fun. And also enjoy the parents! There are towels with funny animal ears on the hood or with embroidered fairies, fire engines or animals.

Baby washcloths are pulled over the hand and then turn into funny terry hand puppets. And if a cute little kitten wants to wash the baby’s belly, there’s no guarantee of any objections from your baby!

Bath thermometer

It is not easy at first to set the water temperature so that it is not too hot and not too cold. Therefore, you should – at least while your baby is still small – use a bath thermometer. Optimal for your baby is 35 degrees.


Now it starts with the bathing fun! The good old duck is still a faithful friend to the tub – but now there is a huge selection of cups with holes, small ships, squirt and and and. Buy bath toys that will satisfy your baby’s experimentation needs, and make sure that no small parts can be removed that your baby can swallow.

Bathing equipment that babies love:

  • Cups and other containers that your baby can fill with water and pour out again or cups with small holes on the bottom for a small rain shower in the tub
  • Ships and marine animals that can swim and do not go under
  • Washing gloves with funny figures Washing gloves with funny figures
  • Shapes, letters, and numbers that can be attached to the bathtub or the tiles
  • Waterproof dolls for petting and bathing
  • Special colors for the bath, which can be easily washed off the skin and from the tub
  • Spray Animals (Attention, these funny bathing friends mildew inside.) After bathing, carefully push the water out and replace the spray animals from time to time.)
  • Plastic cups and plates for one Coffee party in the water (as soon as your child is old enough to understand that it is not allowed to drink the water)

Storage of bath toys

At some point, even the most beautiful bath hour is over! But where to go with the water toy? For this, there are mesh bags with suction cups for the tiles or for hanging, in which the toy can dry. If you do not have such a network, you can also use one above use open plastic box.



  • As a follow-up midwife, I often see the baby bathing as a “daddy task.” It is important for the new father to have his field of work. That makes the fathers happy and makes them more self-confident.
  • For dry skin, I recommend a Cleopatra bath! That’s just mother’s milk paired with olive oil – a perfect double!
  • Therapeutically, the baby bath can be used – a so-called spa helps families after traumatic births. Ask your midwife!

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