Top tips for bathing your baby

Doctor and Daughter provide their top tips on how to bath your newborn baby

“Bathing your baby for the first time can be nerve-wracking for new parents,” reassures Rebecca Maberly, co-founder of trusted parenting website “Your baby may seem tiny and fragile and you may be concerned about not doing it correctly, however it should be a lovely experience for all involved.”

If your baby is full term and healthy then you may bath her as soon as you feel ready. “Do not feel rushed to bath your baby on her first day, or even her second, third, or fourth. Bear in mind that a baby does not sweat and get smelly like an adult, so do not worry about anyone thinking your unwashed baby is unclean,” explains Rebecca.

Your baby may have traces of vernix on her skin (the waxy or cheese-like white substance found coating the skin of newborns), but this doesn’t need removing as it acts as your baby’s natural moisturiser. For the first week try topping and tailing your baby with some warm water and cotton wool starting from head to toe. All babies are different, some may love bathtime and some may take a while to get used to it. Check out Doctor and Daughter’s guide to get you started, over the page, and create happy splashing with our product edit.

Top tips for bathing your baby
Doctor and Daughter share their step-by-step guide to bathing a newborn baby.

Time: Choose a time when you are feeling relaxed and your baby is not too hungry or
too tired. Your baby’s bathtime only needs to last a few minutes; water is very dehydrating on the skin.

Place: It is fine to bathe your baby in your normal bath, but some people feel more comfortable using a small baby bath or tub.

Temperature: Make sure that the room is warm and draft-free. The bath water should be about 37˚C. When testing it, this should feel warm, not hot.

Frequency: You do not need to bath a newborn baby every day, but lots of people like to incorporate bathtime into their bedtime routine.


1. Run the bath to about 15cm deep. We suggest cleaning her face and bottom before you put her in the bath. Lay a towel on the bath mat then lay the baby on top and take all her clothes off except her nappy and vest.

2. Remove her nappy and then wash her bottom and genitals with clean cotton wool. Watch out for wee and poo, babies often wee when they are cold or when their nappies have been removed.

3. Next remove her vest and then gently lower her into the bath using your hand to support her head and neck. The water should cover all of her body up to her neck so that she stays nice and warm.

4. Use your other hand to move the water around over her body, taking care not to splash her in the face. Do not scrub or rub your baby, just use your hand to gently swish water over her skin.

5. Lift her out of the bath after a few minutes, or earlier if she starts to cry. It is probably easiest to place her on the towel on the floor and then wrap her up quickly so she does not get cold. Carefully dry her all over, especially in her little creases and then put a clean nappy on before she wees on you.