Bathing your baby
Most babies enjoy bathing, but not all babies will like baths right away. It may take a while for your baby (and you!) to get used to bathing and that’s okay.
You don’t have to bathe your baby every day. You can just wash their face, hands, or bottom on some days and then give them a full bath on other days.
Mind your back
A baby bath full of water can be quite heavy. If you are a new mum or you’ve had your baby by c-section, ask for help to lift the bath if you want to place it on the floor or away from the sink.
Preparing the bath
Getting organised before a bath will make things easier and more enjoyable for you and your baby. Put your baby in a safe place like their bassinet or cot, while you prepare their bath.
To get ready to bathe your baby:
- gather everything you’ll need and put it within easy reach of the bath
- place other supplies, like a nappy and clothing, next to where you’ll dry and dress your baby
- take off watches or jewellery that might scratch your baby, or be damaged in the water
- you can put a hand towel or small rubber bathmat in the bottom of the bath to make it less slippery
- always start with cold water then add hotter water. If you are using a bathtub, run the cold tap to finish so that the tap isn't hot to touch
- test the water temperature with the inside part of your wrist and make sure it's warm to touch
- when dressing or undressing your baby, make sure the room is comfortably warm
Tips if your baby is fussy
Not all babies will enjoy having a bath. If your baby is fussy while bathing, don't worry. You can try some of the suggestions below to see things improve:
- avoid bathing your baby when they are hungry or tired
- wash a little at a time, rather than giving your child a full bath
- wrap your baby in a towel and then gently lower them into the water as you unwrap them
- place a warm face cloth on top of your baby’s tummy in the bath
- gently splash water on your baby
- bathe your baby with an adult
It’s important to keep your little one safe while bathing. Children can drown quickly in only a few centimetres of water, so never leave your child alone in the bath.
Here some other safety tips:
- keep your hand on your young baby while you bathe them
- wrap your child in a towel and take them with you if you have to leave the bathroom for any reason
- make sure an adult, or a responsible teenager over 14 years old, always stays with your child when they are bathing
- watch any child in the bath until age five