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It's your newborn's first bath!

What do I do? What do I need? What shall I use? How long? When shall I start?

There are so many questions when a brand new little person comes in the world and questions about bath time are on the top of the lists.

In this guide I will provide you will some answers to those burning questions!

1) When shall I start bathing my newborn baby?

I first watched a video with Sonia Rochel a couple of years ago that showed her giving babies, that are days old, a spa bath. I was captivated by the way the babies were so relaxed (most fell asleep instantly) in a deep sink with running water and her soft touch moving the water over their heads and their bodies, slowly and calmly. She was whispering to them the whole time. She would then place them on a big fluffy towel, massage them and wrap then wrap them up before dressing them again.

It was simply beautiful and I realized that she was simulating the feeling & experience of being in the womb. She took her time, no rushing. The whole purpose of the bath was to bond with the baby, to gain trust and to show the baby love and support.

Certainly one to watch to see how lovely it must be for the baby.

I was a first time mum in 2015 and if I had seen this when I was pregnant, I don't think I would have felt confident enough to have tried to copied what Sonia was doing (even with over 20 years of teaching swimming experience). BUT what I did enjoy doing was using a big bath sponge and a large body rinser, to gently pour water on my son's body, arms, hands and legs and feet. Singing a song softly as we touched the body parts.

I had a small tub with a sling in to keep him up in the water on the kitchen surface so I could be eye height with him and not break my back bending over.

We started giving him countertops baths about a week after he was born. He did like them but once he was cold he would scream and let us know enough was enough.

I think I would have used a sink flower if I was able to start over again as I would have been able to keep the tap running with an attachment over the head (to form like a shower sprinkle) to try to keep the movement of water on his body more natural, consistently and therefore he would have stayed warmer for longer.

2) What to do use during bath time?

Whilst they are a newborn you don't need anything apart from a large sponge, organic cotton/bamboo wash cloth and possibly the rinsers for the sprinkles of water.

As they get older (around 3 months) and more alert and can recognise things, it's a great time to start adding some sensory bath toys. I would strongly recommend the toys that do not squirt only ones that you can clean easily. (There will be another blog coming to explain what are the best toys to use.)

A sensory teething toy is a great start as everything will go in their mouths anyway and together you can begin to explore & play in the water .

Around 6 months old you can start adding other interesting toys to enhance their experience and time in the water. Singing songs and playing soft music & dimming the lights is always beneficial.

Then adding things like light up items and bubbles are such fun!

By 12 months old start adding items to build their motor and cognitive skills.

Discovery bottles are nice to use as well.

At this age they would be in the big family bath so embrace yourself for bigger and better splashes.

Below is a Bath Box that had been purposefully designed for having an enjoyable time in the water for babies aged 6 -12 months old.

Bath Box
Angel Fish Bath box - 6-12 months old.

3) What should I wash my baby with?

I recommend handmade products that have very little ingredients in them. Find a local business that makes their own (if you fancy giving it a go - do it yourself) - they know what they have added and most are vegan and perfume free therefore gentle and kind to your babies skin.

You are also supporting a small business and being eco-friendly. Bonus in my eyes.

In the image above, you'll see a Sherbet lemon shampoo bar which I include in my bath boxes - they are made by Naomi at Kitime Creations They smell absolutely divine and so much nicer for you and your baby.

With body wash/soap/bath salt/bath bombs I would recommend to not use until they are older (around 6 months old) and only then to be as natural as you can using the same method as above.

4) Once I get them out, what do I do now?

Have a big fluffy towel or a hooded towel at the ready so you can wrap them up straight away. A warm one is a bonus!

I like the hooded towels at it helps with keeping it wrapped around them snuggly and he used to fall asleep in my arms after I fed him. Such a beautiful time together (don't forget to put a nappy on though - I did a few times and ended up with a very wet towel).

If you have given them a bath and it's not feed time then it's lovely to use a natural lotion to massage them all over. For years my son enjoyed his massages and tbh it really helped with applying sun cream on holiday or during the summer months as he was so used to me rubbing lotion in all over (even his face).

Bath time for new borns and babies is such a perfect opportunity to create such lovely memories and build such a special bond with them. Looking back at my photos of this age with my son (this time seems so long ago) but the thoughts and happiness we both felt is undeniably the most precious, remarkable and enduring intimacy ever. I certainly miss it and will never forget it.

If you are stuck for age appropriate items to add during bath time or you fancy a variation of fun and engaging toys/activities then please check out what other bath boxes we have designed for you. They are seasonal and themed to captivate and magnetise your child's senses and encourage them to explore and play creating such important and pinnacle memories.

Click here for other blogs.


Hi, I am Helen Hughes. I am the co-owner of Mini Water Adventurers and have been teaching swimming for over 25 years. I own a play-based swim school and offer online resources to parents and teachers for all your water needs. Call me Aqua Mum haha.

Click here for more details about our services and resources.

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