Your Newborn Bathing Questions Answered

Newborn babies are a lot of things: precious, beautiful, amazing, and … stinky? Before your little one was born you probably heard other mothers talking about the newborn smell, the milky mix of sweetness that leaves a smile on their face every time they take a whiff. But, as amazing as newborn babies can smell, from time to time the odor of spit up and dirty diapers can overpower that sweet smell you were hoping for. When that happens, you’ll know it’s time for a bath, but you might have some questions about just how to go about bathing your little one. Check out the questions and answers about how to bathe your newborn below.

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How soon should I give my newborn a bath? As soon as your little one’s umbilical cord stump falls off, they’re ready for a bath. Before that, you should make sure to wipe them down with a warm washcloth several times per week and each time they get dirty.

How often should I give my newborn a bath? Most newborns do best when they’re bathed 1-3 times per week. Though grown-ups should bathe more frequently, newborns are pretty clean and don’t need to wash with quite this frequency. 

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What sort of soap should I use on my newborn? Newborn babies usually get perfectly clean using just warm water but, if you do choose to use soap, make sure it’s free of dyes, perfumes, or any other “extras.” The baby aisle at any supermarket usually has a good selection of baby friendly soaps and shampoos to choose from.

What if my baby doesn’t like taking a bath? If your little one doesn’t like bathing in a tub, don’t worry, a sponge bath will usually suffice. Make sure you use a warm, clean washcloth and wipe your baby down completely, starting with their face and moving downward. When you give a sponge bath, make sure you get in all your babies crevices (neck creases and wrist rolls anyone?) and that you keep trying regular baths every few weeks. Eventually, your little one will get the hang of being in the water.

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Your Newborn Bathing Questions Answered

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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