16 Tips for a Safer, Less Stressful Baby Bath Time

When you bring home your delicate, tiny newborn baby, you are cautious about everything you do with him/her. One area that may make you incredibly nervous is bath time. This can be even more challenging when your baby really doesn’t like it.

Even parents with older babies may still feel the stress when it’s time for baby bath time. What are some things that can be done, regardless of your baby’s age?

Here are 16 tips to make your baby’s bath time easier, safer, and less stressful.

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Prepare Before Your Baby’s Bath Time

1.) Have your baby’s clean clothes and diaper laid out and ready to change them into. If you use baby lotion or oil after on his/her skin, have this ready as well.

2.) Have your baby shampoo, baby wash, and baby washcloth ready. If you use bath toys, have these ready too.

3.) Have 2 baby bath towels ready. I would highly recommend at least one of them be a hooded bath towel like this one. This way after the bath, you place the hood over the back of baby’s head, and this first towel covers the whole back of their body. Then place the second towel (doesn’t need to be hooded) over the front of your little one. This blocks too much cold air from getting to them and keeps them warmer.

3.) Fill up the bath tub to the appropriate level before you undress your baby. You don’t want it to be too shallow or too deep. Make sure you don’t fill a baby bath tub beyond the max limit (if it’s marked).

Be careful if you have other young children/toddlers or even pets in the house that could drown; watch they don’t go near the water unattended.

Note- there are different types of baby bath tubs/bathing seats you can use.

Personally, when my daughter was younger I used a Summer infant baby bather seat like this one that I placed in the regular tub itself that she could lay back on.

Then when she got older, I started using a bigger baby bath tub- this PRIMO Eurobath, (mine is partly pictured in the top picture of my ‘pinnable’ pic below tip #7- keep reading or scroll to see- ) which accommodates babies from 0-24 months with 2 different bathing positions.

Note- someone gave us this bath tub when she was older, so I can’t say from my own experience how it works with young babies, but I do like using it now. It is a little bit bigger than the average baby tub, probably due to it accommodating bigger babies as well, but I think it’s well worth the space.

UPDATE as of 8/13/18: I have now used this PRIMO Eurobath bath tub with my littlest baby starting from when he was a newborn, and so I can honestly say that I enjoy using both bathing positions, having used this both for a newborn and older baby.

What you use doesn’t matter too much though, as long as it’s safe and works well for you and your baby.

4.) Test the water with your elbow and adjust accordingly. You can also use a baby bath thermometer, such as this one. According to nationwidechildrens.org “the temperature of the bath water should be just above 100 F to prevent chilling or burning the baby.  If you do not have a bath thermometer, test the water with your elbow. When you put your elbow in the water, it should feel warm, not hot.”

It’s important to note that the bath water temperature does feel different to your elbow than other parts of your body- including your wrist. I have had water feel fine to my wrist, but hot to my elbow, so it’s important to follow this rule.  You want it to be comfortable and feel warm to your elbow, not hot or lukewarm.

5.) Make sure there are no items in the shower/bath area that could fall on your baby. I always take anything on the shelves in the bath area down just to be safe. You don’t want a metal bottle of shaving cream falling on your newborn- or child of any age. Don’t assume that it’s balanced and fine- things fall and you could also knock stuff over on accident. Anything I’m using to bathe my baby- such as her shampoo bottle- I will keep outside of the tub next to me.

6.) Ensure there is nothing your baby can grab in the tub area that could be of harm. Soap could go in the mouth or eyes, a razor can cut baby- please move these things. This becomes even more important as your baby gets older and has a farther reach.

7.) Be CALM. Children are very perceptive and even newborns can to a degree mimic moods and breathing patterns. Your baby needs to know you feel calm, confident, and secure about bath time. If mommy or daddy is worried, they will be too. Even if your baby is freaking out during bath time, you need stay calm and composed.

16 Tips for a Safe Stress-free Baby Bathtime
How to Make Baby’s Bath Safer and Less Stressful

Tips on the Process of Bathing Your Baby

8.) Undress your baby and briefly test the water temperature again, right before placing them in the tub.

9.) Keep the bathroom door closed. You want to avoid cool breezes from other parts of your home. Even if your house is a warm temperature, this can still be an issue.

10.) Don’t leave your baby unattended in the bath tub/around water EVER. It’s best to keep one hand on baby at all times during the bath. Make sure your little one doesn’t slide down too far into the water. They like to move around!

11.) Gently wash your baby. You can do so relatively quickly. The whole process of bath time generally takes me 10 minutes or less.

12.) When washing your baby’s hair, use a small cup or container to gently pour water on their hair to wet/rinse it. IMPORTANT: Cup your hand over the top of their forehead/hairline to keep water out of baby’s eyes. You also want to make sure their head is tipped back far enough (I noticed this is more of an issue with older babies who can sit up/forward by themselves.)

BONUS TIP: Keep a dry towel or baby washcloth within reach just in case water/shampoo does get in your baby’s eyes, so you can quickly and gently dry it off.

REMEMBER: If your baby starts fussing, it’s alright. Calmly hold her (or him) and finish bathing them. You can sing or speak soothingly.

When Baby’s Bath Time is Over

13.) When your baby is all washed up, drain the tub (this includes the big people tub and/or the baby bath tub if it has a drain) and place your baby in the towels as quickly as possible.

14.) Dry off your baby with the towels, apply baby lotion/oil if you use it, and get baby dressed. Try to get the diaper on asap– I don’t think I need to go into a detailed explanation as to why.. 🙂

15.) Sometimes babies feel cold/shiver for several minutes following their bath, so you may want to put an extra layer/blanket on them, until they feel warm again. This may especially be the case when the weather is colder or while your baby is younger.

16.) Be ready to nurse (if you’re a nursing mama) or to comfort your baby in some other form. My daughter is always calm for bath time, but once I get her out and it’s time to get her dressed, she’s unhappy. I’ve found nursing her right after I get her dressed is soothing to her. Plus she sometimes falls asleep, so that’s a perk!

JUST A REMINDER– Most doctors will tell you only to sponge-bathe your newborn until the umbilical cord is completely off, so it doesn’t get wet. You can check with your child’s pediatrician if there is any question on this or other medical concerns/tips regarding bathing.

So those are my 16 tips (I think I threw a couple bonus tips in as well 😉 for a safer and less stressful baby bath time. Is it bath time for your baby? As long as you’re prepared and calm, you got this!

Thanks for reading!

Do you get stressed out whenever it's bath time for your newborn / baby? You can relax now. Here are 16 helpful baby bath time tips that will make things easier.

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