How Do I Give Baby's First Bath?

As postpartum doulas, “how do I bathe my baby” is a question we get all the time.

Giving your baby their first bath can be a very intimidating task.

Babies don’t need much cleaning when they are first born (we recommend delaying the first bath until baby comes home). When babies are born, they come out with a creamy white substance covering their bodies called “Vernix”, which helps protect their skin from bacteria, meconium (first bowel movement), and helps keep them warm. Rub the vernix in, instead of wiping it off, to help protect your babies skin.

baby in bath

When you get home from the hospital and are ready to give you baby a bath, you can’t submerge them into water until their umbilical cord falls off, so you have start with a sponge bath:

  1. Fill a bowl or basin with warm water and squirt your favorite baby bath soap into the water (we love Aveeno baby!) then mix with your hand to make soapy water.

  2. Lay baby on a towel or rubber changing pad such as the Keekaroo ( on a flat stable surface.

  3. Put washcloth in soapy water and wipe baby down; don’t forget to wipe behind their ears!

  4. Tip: Wash babies hair and face first before washing their bottom, to save from having to use two washcloths!

  5. Dry baby and cuddle as normal ☺

Once your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, you can begin to bathe them in their infant tub or in the sink, and as baby gets older and more “dirty”, putting soap directly on the washcloth can help better remove the built up milk from those cute neck rolls!

Looking for more newborn tips or want to feel more confident about bringing baby home? Contact us to learn more about our Newborn Care classes and/or our Newborn Care Specialists!  

Jacquelin Knighton