health and care

How to bathe your baby safely

The lowdown on keeping your baby safe during bathtime

Bathing your baby safely

Bathtime is the perfect bonding time of the day for you and baby, but can also be a little stressful with ensuring baby is safe, water temperature is right and you keep baby warm afterwards, but don’t worry, we have the lowdown on it all right here.

At a glance

  • It's best to only bathe your baby a few times a week
  • The water temperature should be comfortably warm

How often should I bathe my baby?

Bath time can be a lovely, fun part of the evening routine, but when your baby’s very young it’s advisable to bathe just a few times a week. A ‘top and tail’ wash every day will do just fine.

Can I leave them for a second?

It's crucial you watch your baby the entire time he’s in the bath - even if you’re using a special bath, support or seat, or have an older sibling to help. It takes just seconds for babies to slip under and they can drown in less than 3cm of water. They won’t struggle or make a noise, so you won’t be alerted by splashing. If you have to leave the room, just scoop him up in a towel and take him with you.

What’s the ideal baby bath temperature? 

Make sure the water’s comfortably warm - not too hot or cold. Pop cold water in the bath first, and then add the hot water so it’s never too hot. Give the water a quick swirl to avoid any hot spots. It’s best to avoid putting your baby into a bath when the water is still running - the temperature and depth can change surprisingly quickly. If you want to play it safe, you can buy a thermometer to check the water – many double up as fun bath toys or bath mats. Or just drop in your elbow or wrist to find out how the water will feel to your baby.

How deep should the water be?

For newborns and babies up to six months old, make sure there's enough water for your baby to settle in the water, with their shoulders well covered. 

How can I choose a baby bath support?

Baby tubs, buckets and baths come in all shapes and sizes and are great for washing your baby easily anywhere. If you're using your big bath, just pop a rubber bathmat on the bottom to avoid slipping. Make sure you empty the bath as soon as bath time is over, just in case cheeky toddlers climb back in unnoticed.

How can I safely support my baby in the water?

As babies are super slippery and often wriggling with excitement during bath time, you’ll need to keep a firm hold. As you lower your baby into the bath, hold him firmly under his bottom with one hand and place your other arm under the back of his neck and shoulders, holding his head above the water. Once he’s in, you can use the hand that was supporting his bottom to wash them and swish the water around. 

Do I need a baby support?

If you want to free up your hands, bath supports are a huge help. A bath cradle is great for supporting newborns, and when he’s old enough to sit, you can graduate to a bath seat. 

Keep him warm!

Before you start, make sure you’ve got everything you need close at hand - two towels, cotton wool or wipes, a clean nappy, vest and a sleep suit. Your baby can quickly lose body heat when you take him out of the water, so keep the room warm, wrap him in a hooded towel and pat him dry, paying special attention to the creases in his skin. If the room is cosy and warm, this is a good time to massage your baby, helping him to relax and sleep. Just avoid using any oils or lotions until your baby is at least one month old. 

Can I share a bath with my baby?

It's safe – and very bonding - for you or your partner to have a bath with your baby once he’s about two months old. If possible, it’s safer to have someone there to hold your baby while you clamber in and out.

For our top tips and equipment guide see the Bump To Baby Product Guide

At a glance

  • It's best to only bathe your baby a few times a week
  • The water temperature should be comfortably warm

How to bathe your baby