Skip to main content

Health library

Back to health library

Bath time for baby

You don't need to give your baby a bath every day. Too much moisture can damage an infant's sensitive skin.

Bathing your baby can be fun—and a little scary.

Some babies think bath time is loads of fun—others hate it. But, with a little practice, both you and your baby will get comfortable and enjoy bath time.

Until your baby's umbilical cord falls off, stick with sponge baths. When you're ready for the real thing, follow these suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Bathe your baby about three times a week. More frequent washing can dry out the skin and isn't needed as long as the diaper area is cleaned well during diaper changes.
  • Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Gather the supplies you'll need, and place them within reach. This includes baby soap and shampoo (if you use them), a washcloth, a towel, diapering supplies and clean clothes for the baby.
  • Fill the tub, sink or basin with 2 inches of warm (not hot) water. Turn the water off, and test the bath water with your wrist or elbow.
  • Support the baby's head with one hand and ease his or her body into the water with the other hand.
  • Start by wiping your baby's face and hair with a wet washcloth, then wash the body from the neck down. Using plain water is fine, but if you choose to use a cleanser, avoid getting it in your baby's eyes.
  • If you get soap on your baby's hands, try to rinse them quickly, before your baby touches his or her eyes or mouth
  • When you rinse shampoo, cup your hand across your baby's forehead so the suds don't run into his or her eyes.
  • Lift your baby out of the water, and wrap him or her immediately in a soft, dry towel.
  • During the entire bath, give your baby your undivided attention. That means one hand and both eyes all the time. Babies can drown quickly, even in very small amounts of water. Never leave your baby unattended in the water, even for a moment. If you must answer the phone or door, take your baby with you.

Reviewed 11/29/2021

Related stories