Inside: Tips and advice on how to bathe baby from the newborn stage through the first year of life. It will also recommend baby bath products that will make bathing your baby easier.
Bathing a baby was one of my biggest fears before becoming a mom, but once I was past the fright, I found ways that made bathtime fun for Lennox and the whole family.
Today I want to shed some tips on how to bathe your baby throughout their first 12 months, all while making it enjoyable at the same time!
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Warning: Extreme cuteness ahead
How to bathe baby in an entertaining, yet safe way.
In these tips, I will share tips on how to make bathtime entertaining for your baby.
However, entertaining should not be misinterpreted as careless, because bathtime is a serious responsibility.
According to the Consumer Product Saftey Comission, “drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4-years-old and it only takes a few inches of water for a young child to drown”.
Please make sure to follow CPSC’s advice regarding baby bathing. They are the following:
- “Never leave young children alone near any water or tub or basin with fluid. Young children can drown in even small amounts of liquid.
- Always keep a young child within arm’s reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.
- Don’t leave a baby or young child in a bathtub under the care of another child.
- Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers are top heavy and they can fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children cannot reach it. Don’t leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.
- Consider placing locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom.
- Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.”
Please take note that during all of our bath time experiences, there was always an adult present and at arm’s reach.
It is crucial to always be by your baby side, or in your child’s sight. You never know what what-ifs could happen if you step away, even for a second, so please stay at arms reach.
Now, onto the tips!
Baby’s first bath: A sponge bath
Once you bring your baby home, there is no specific time to give his first sponge-bath. Newborns do not get very dirty, so as long as you are wiping your baby well after each diaper change, especially the crevices, you do not need to give a bath very often.
Also, babies have sensitive skin. Wetting it too much and over-applying soap will cause the babies skin to dry out.
Until your baby’s umbilical cord detaches, you should only give your baby a sponge bath. Never submerge your baby in the water if his umbilical cord is still attached.
Read more: Tips for treating infant and toddler eczema
For Lennox’s first sponge bath on day 10, we took our changing pad, placed a towel over it, and laid them on the floor.
Then, we filled up a bowl full of lukewarm water (no soap), and with a baby washcloth, we dabbed water on his genitals, behind, and neck crevices from his frequent spit-up. Lastly, we then patted him dry as to not irritate his soft skin.
This blooming bath lotus is great for baby’s first sponge bath, as well as future sink baths!
Make sure to have all your bathing essentials within reaching distant, that way you don’t have to scramble for them with a wiggly, probably unhappy, wet newborn.
How to bathe baby from 0-4 months
In the sink:
Once Lennox’s umbilical cord fell off after about 2.5 weeks, Lennox got his first real bath. I wish I had pictures of his sponge, and the first bath, but I was too scared to multitask, even though Carlos was with me. I am sad I don’t have the documentation but glad I didn’t attempt to take pictures for Lennox’s safety.
For his first and subsequent baths, we use the Boon Soak 3-Stage Infant Tub in our sink. This bathtub is great because it has a drain. Therefore, you can fill it up first to make sure the temperature is perfect, put your baby in the seat, and have great control over the bathing experience at waist height.
We also used the Boon bath tub in the actual tub once Lennox became less fragile.
From his first real bath on, we would always drizzle lukewarm water down Lennox’s head to get him used to the sensation. Once we started using baby shampoo, I made sure to cup his forehead to ensure that the soapy water did not flow down towards his face or body. Even though baby shampoo is tear-free, the soap can still irritate and dry out the skin.
Make favorite baby shampoos are:
Ideally, I would have only bathed Lennox once a week due to the reasons mentioned above, but Lennox suffered from infant reflux. Therefore we bathed him two to three times a week. Over-bathing him triggered his eczema, so we had to find a middle ground and do sponge baths after he spit up to prevent further irritation to his Eczema.
With infant reflux, colic and eczema, we had an absolute blast during the newborn stage. Can you feel the sarcasm? I won’t even put the icing on the cake and share how wonderful of a sleeper Lennox was as an infant :-P.
Read more: Understanding Colic. Tips on How to Survive the Fourth Trimester
Bathe with your baby.
Another great way to clean your bundle of joy is to bathe with him. Taking a bath with Lennox gave me a reason to relax and soak my sleep-deprived-self while stimulating Lennox at the same time. Not to mention, the skin-to-skin connection is reassuring for your baby.
If you breastfeed, you can easily breastfeed while you are bathing and knock two birds out with one stone. Now your baby will be ready for a luxurious nap, long stretch of sleep. Not that that happened in my case.
I bathed with Lennox a lot during his daunting witching hours. It really worked to calm him down.
In the bathtub
If you don’t feel like getting wet, you can fill up your bathtub with an inch of water and lay your baby on his back. He will enjoy kicking and splashing the water. Again, never leave your newborn’s side, especially with this method where he could quickly turn his head to the side and intake water.
How to bathe baby from 4-12 months
Bath seats WITH CAUTION
Once Lennox got reasonable head control and was showing signs of sitting up unsupported at four-months, we used and loved the Keter bath seat, but we always exercised caution.
We used this seat with NO WATER in the tub, that way the suction cups would suction properly onto the bathtub. We would run water from the faucet and let Lennox play and get sensory stimulation with the water.
This seat has been discontinued due to safety reasons, keep reading, but there are alternatives like this one on Amazon.
** Kid’s In Danger recommends not using bath seats because they can be mistaken as safety devices, when in all actuality, they are bathing aids.
“Bath seats give parents a false sense of security Children can slip out of the seats or tip forward or sideways into the water and become submerged The suction cups on the bottom of a seat can detach from the tub, and the baby can tip over and become trapped underwater by the seat”.
In the bath tub with a bath mat
Once Lennox was crawling around at six-months (every baby is different, so I wouldn’t recommend putting your baby in the tub by himself until he can fully crawl) we would fill up the water two to three inches and let him have free range in the bathtub. This was when we started introducing toys and when Lennox really started loving the bathtub.
It is essential to have a bath mat because bathtubs are incredibly slippery, and your baby can slip and intake water in the blink of an eye. The bath mat adds extra support and friction so that your baby doesn’t slip. This was the bath mat we used.
Along with the bathmat, I recommend getting a faucet cover, because if your baby accidentally hits his head— which is more common than you imagine, even for adults—it can be fatal. We use this whale cover.
Here are some toys Lennox loves in the bath:
- The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys
- Munchkin Little Boat Train
- Infantino 12 Piece Tub O’ Toys
- Disney Junior Music Lullabies Bath Toy Set
- Baby Bath Books
Bathe/shower with your baby
Again, you can still bathe with your baby at any age. It’s exciting and encourages confidence in your baby.
To this day, we still bathe with Lennox, and it is an authentic family bonding experience. On many occasions, we would turn the shower on and expose Lennox to the feel of the water falling on him. I believe this early exposure contributed to his love for water.
If you can exercise caution, you can exercise creativity
One day I came home from work to find Carlos bathing Lennox. I heard nonstop Lennox giggles coming from the bathtub. I walked in to find Lennox in a big pot. WTF? There goes creative Carlos at it again.
I asked him what he was doing. He has always been grossed out by bathtubs, especially since we were living in an apartment at the time. He never thought it was clean enough, even if we scrubbed it until the enamel came off.. He said he didn’t like the idea of bathing Lennox in the dirty tub.
At first, I was really concerned, but once I saw how much fun Lennox was having, I relaxed a bit.
From then on, Lennox bathed in this pot until he no longer could squeeze his thick thighs into it anymore.
See Carlos’ baby snow hack here
So the trick to this hack is only to fill up the pot with water, and not the bathtub. If you fill-up the bath, the pot can tip over. Once the pot is filled, we would turn the faucet or the shower on for Lennox to play with. Boy, did he enjoy himself! I am going to post a video of his fun bath times as soon as I figure out how to cover up his privates!! Stay tuned.
We hope you enjoyed our bath tips and hacks. Needless to say, Lennox is a water and bath fanatic. Now we have started implementing the Loose Parts movement in our household, so here is a bonus picture of Lennox today playing in the bath with his loose parts =)
Related posts you might find useful:
- 5 Tips to Keep Your Baby Warm at Night During the Cold Winter Months
- 9 Hacks To Alleviate Infant and Toddler Teething Pain
- 5 Ways I Helped My Baby Who Did Not Sleep, Sleep Through the Night
Monday 6th of December 2021
I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.
Wednesday 30th of October 2019
What a comprehensive post! This is so helpful at every stage!
Wednesday 30th of October 2019
This is really helpul! I love the stages of each bathtime.
Tuesday 29th of October 2019
What a CUTE post!! I feel like I've deprived my little guy because we don't have a tub only a shower. I hate that he/we have missed out on all the bath time fun!
Monday 28th of October 2019
My baby is such a water boy as well! Im always trying to add some new and interesting components but this gives me a lot of ideas!