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How to Bath your Baby

Bathing your baby needn’t be daunting. Just watch our how-to video, or follow this simple step-by-step guide.


Your baby's bath time should be an uninterrupted and enjoyable part of your day. Like baby massage, it can be an excellent way to relax your baby, to help prepare her for bedtime. You don't really need to bathe your baby everyday – your Midwife may recommend bathing your newborn just two to three times per week, increasing frequency as baby gets older.

However, you should wash her face and hands at least twice a day with a gentle baby cleanser like soap-free, hypoallergenic JOHNSON'S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash, and keep her nappy area clean and protected with a barrier cream after every nappy change. Your baby's bath time should be uninterrupted and enjoyable, so if you've had a busy, hectic day, sit down for a few minutes and relax first. It's always best to bathe your baby before a feed, as long as she's not too hungry. Bathing your baby too soon after a feed may make her uncomfortable.

And remember, it’s important that you never leave your baby alone in the bath! 

How To Bath Your Baby

You may want to bathe your infant in either the kitchen sink (with the tap turned away and soft towels or a foam insert on the bottom) or in a small plastic baby bath placed in the full size bath to make it easier to hold your baby. Now, let the splashing fun begin!

Start with only a few inches of warm (not hot) water – the ideal water temperature is 37 degrees C. Swirl water with your hand to make sure there are no hot spots, and always double check the water temperature with the inside of your wrist before you place your baby in the water.

Using one arm to gently support your baby's back, head and neck, gently place her in the baby bath. Continue to support her using one arm while bathing her with the other.

Start by gently washing your baby's eyes with a cotton pad dampened with clean, warm water. Use a new cotton pad for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye outward. Then, using a soft washcloth, wipe around your baby's mouth, nose and whole face, working from the middle outward. Wipe the creases in her neck and don't forget behind her ears!

You can use JOHNSON'S® Baby Cotton Buds to clean hard-to-reach places. Clean only what you can see; never put anything deep into your baby's ear canal or nose.

For younger babies, wet a baby washcloth with warm water and use a gentle cleanser formulated for babies, like JOHNSON'S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash. If your baby has more hair, you may need to use a gentle shampoo, like JOHNSON'S® Baby NO MORE TEARS® Shampoo. To wash your baby's hair, wet the washcloth and apply a small amount of baby shampoo or JOHNSON'S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash. Massage over your baby's entire head. Don’t be afraid to gently wash the soft spots (called fontanels) on your baby's head. Rinse the cloth well with warm water. Add more water to the washcloth and use it to remove the shampoo from your baby's head.

Wash the nappy area last. For a baby girl, cleanse the genital area washing from front to back. For an uncircumcised boy, gently wash the penis and genital area, also washing from front to back, and dry thoroughly. Avoid pulling back the foreskin.

Now let your baby take a few moments in the bath to enjoy the warm water. Generally, newborns love this moment. Pour cupfuls of water over your baby's body to keep her warm. Don't run water directly from the tap as water temperature can change suddenly.

Be careful lifting your baby out of the bath. Wrap both hands around your baby's chest under her arms, and taking care to support your baby's head, lift her out of the bath and quickly wrap her in a towel. Take a moment to cuddle with her. This is another nice moment for your baby: she'll feel warm, protected and cosy wrapped in the towel.

Dry your baby well in all the creases, as excessive moisture could lead to skin irritation. Before dressing her, apply a gentle baby moisturiser to help keep her skin moisturised. Hypoallergenic  JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil is clinically proven to be gentle and mild. Or you may also like to use JOHNSON'S® Baby Lotion. Take a moment to massage the lotion or oil into your baby's limbs, back and tummy, to help her relax.

Apply a thin layer of nappy cream to help protect against the causes of nappy rash.

Wrap your baby in a receiving blanket to keep her warm. Fold it up over her feet and across her middle. Now you can brush her hair with a soft brush.

A bath is a perfect way to create a separation between "busy time" and "bedtime", while giving you the chance to bond with your baby. And now your beautiful clean baby is snug and cosy, wrapped in her blanket. Just in time for a lullaby. Enjoy!