Parenting / 12 February, 2023 / Ellie Thompson

Baby’s First Bath: Everything You Need To Know

Probably one of the scariest things about bringing your newborn home is the prospect of bathing them. There are so many frequently asked questions surrounding this topic, from when to give a newborn their very first bath, what to do about the umbilical cord, to the tips and tricks on bathing your little one. We’ve teamed up with Angelcare to create this must-read guide on baby’s first bath so you can ensure it’s an experience you’ll both enjoy!

When should my newborn have his first bath?

It’s best to wait until after your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off before you bathe your newborn in a bath or a baby bathtub. And even then, there’s really no rush. Wait until you feel confident before taking the plunge. In the meantime, you’ll need to know about topping and tailing – or as they call it in America, a sponge bath.


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What is topping and tailing?

The truth is, unless you both really enjoy it and have the time to, you don’t have to bathe your baby every day. You can simply wash their face, neck, hands and bottom instead, known as topping and tailing.

Choose a warm room and have everything ready. You’ll need a bowl of warm water, a towel, cotton wool, a fresh nappy and clean clothes.

To top and tail, we recommend lying your baby on their changing mat, wrapped in a towel. Your newborn’s skin is sensitive and delicate, so avoid using bath products or medicated baby wipes on your newborn. Water and cotton wool will be absolutely fine for those early days. Start with the eyes, and use separate pieces of cotton wool for each, wiping outwards to avoid spreading any stickiness. Keep your baby’s nappy on until the end, and wash their bottom area last, ensuring you’ve got a clean nappy to hand.

How do I give my newborn a bath for the first time?

Pick your moment carefully. Your baby shouldn’t be bathed right after a feed or when they’re hungry or tired. Make sure the room is warm. Babies tend to get cold very quickly, so you’ll need to have towels and fresh nappies and clothes on hand. We recommend investing in a hooded towel, as babies quickly lose heat through their heads.

Get a baby bath

Wet babies are like slippery fish, and bathing a newborn can be a terrifying prospect. Don’t worry. It’s completely normal to feel nervous. To make things easier, consider investing in a good baby bath – you’ll also save money on your water bill! We recommend Angelcare’s NEW 2-in-1 bathtub which offers safe support for newborns and infants. Made from lightweight, durable plastic, it’s excellent for smaller spaces, homes without baths, or for added support and ease in an existing tub. At £39.99, it’s totally affordable, too.

One of the most important rules of bathing a newborn is to ALWAYS check the water temperature with your hand first to prevent scalding, and use a bath thermometer, to be sure the bath is not too hot and not too cold. Fill the bathtub with just two to three inches of water, and ensure the temperature is around 37 and 38c. Top tip: make sure you swirl the water around to avoid any hot patches.

EDITOR’S PICK: NEW 2 in 1 Baby Bath Tub, Angelcare

Angelcare’s 2-in-1 tub is ergonomically designed to cradle small babies from 0 – 6 months in a gentle reclined position. The tub offers a safe and warm seat in a soft-touch, non-slip material that’s both gloriously comfy and reassuringly secure, leaving you hands-free to wash your little one without feeling as though you need to hold onto them for dear life. With anti-slip base legs, you can use the bath in an adult bath, shower, or directly on the floor.

From around six months, your baby will be able to sit up independently, and the Angelcare 2-in-1 bathtub provides a safe and comfortable upright support to keep them safe.

A safe and secure baby bath allows you to bond with your baby and enjoy waterplay entirely stress-free, so you can savour the moment – and believe us, those first baby baths are memories you’ll treasure forever.

Shop now

Angelcare has a range of really useful bathtime products suitable for newborn all the way up to toddler age. The range is available in calming pastels; choose from grey, blue or pink.

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