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Bathtime with Baby
by Kelly Milano,  and 

Those first few days home with a newborn can be a scary time for any parent. You question everything and wonder if you are really capable of this job of parenting. There isnít much that is scarier than those first few baths. Wet hands, slippery baby, hard floor and an anxious new mom. But, bath time doesnít have to be scary and it will probably come to be one of babyís favorite times of the day. Here are some tips to help you relax and enjoy this special time with your new little one.

Make sure your water heater is set at 120į so that baby (or you) donít get scalded by burning water. Babies have very delicate skin and it can burn very quickly. Invest in a bathtub thermometer so that you can easily check the water temperature before putting your baby in the water. Even with a thermometer, the water may be too hot, so we recommend sticking the inside of your wrist into the water to better test. You will quickly find that your wrist has many uses, from testing formula temperature to testing the temperature on your toddlerís forehead!! 

Air temperature is also important during bath time. If it is summer and you have the air conditioning on, itís a good idea to turn it off for a few minutes to let the air warm up. You donít want baby to get too cold during his bath. After baby is dried and dressed you can turn it back on. If it is in the winter, make sure the room is warm. You may wish to turn the heat up a few degrees until bath time is over.

Buy a pair of bath gloves. Bath gloves are terry cloth gloves that will help you hold on to a slippery newborn while washing them. No need for an additional washcloth with these gloves. 

Just put the soap on and wash.

*Wash baby quickly. If you have a baby boy, make sure that you clean all areas of his penis. For a girl, get in all the crevices. This too, can be scary for a new parent but donít worry it will become more natural. Make sure to keep a washcloth over a little boyís penis so you donít get your own shower while bathing him.

As baby gets bigger and moves to a tub, make sure that you have a bathmat. You donít want baby to move and slip.

NEVER turn your back on your baby while giving a bath. Have all supplies within your reach around the tub before the bath starts. If you are taking pictures of babyís bath time, make sure your camera is there and ready. Hold onto baby until you get ready to actually snap the picture then move hand quickly and replace. An even better idea for this is to have someone else with you to take the pictures for you.

After the bath is over, quickly wrap baby in a towel, covering his head. If your baby is still a newborn, you will need to clean the cord and circumcision as recommended by the hospital or doctor. This is also a great time for an infant massage or for applying lotion to baby. Some parents enjoy cuddling with their baby while he is wrapped in a towel, but this usually is not recommended for a newborn as they need their body temperature regulated more and need to be dressed more quickly.

In the near future, this may become part of your routine.

Most of all enjoy this time. As baby gets older, splash and play with them in the water. Itís a great learning experience for them.

List of recommended bath supplies:

Following is a list of recommended bath supplies. You will modify the list to suit your needs, but make sure to have all of the following available before babyís bath so you do not have to leave baby for even a second because of forgetting something.

  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby soap
  • Washcloth or terry cloth bath gloves
  • Infant bathtub
  • Bathtub seat (for babyís who can sit on their own)
  • Hooded towels
  • Bathtub thermometer
  • Baby lotion 
  • Powder
  • Cotton balls/q-tips (for circumcision and umbilical cord care)
  • Alcohol (for circumcision and umbilical cord care)

Kelly Milano is a SAHM mom to 4. Her and her husband live in Michigan, where he is a home inspector and she owns two websites:  and

© Kelly Milano

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