When should you first bathe a newborn and 4 benefits of delaying bath

When should you first bathe a newborn

Bringing a fresh bundle of joy into the world is like entering into the world cuteness and chaos! As new parents, you aim to pamper your tiny human with the finest care, including keeping them squeaky clean and bursting with health. But, I have got a burning question for you, when should you first bathe a newborn? This blog post is about to take you on an epic quest filled with the perks of delaying the sudsy adventure, mind-boggling factors to ponder, mind-blowing timing recommendations, and sneaky tips to transform your little one’s bathing routine into a wild and soapy adventure worthy of a blockbuster film. 

When should you first bathe a newborn

The World Health Organization (WHO) has spilled the soapy beans, and it’s time to rethink the timing of that first splashdown. According to the WHO, the golden rule is to hold off on the inaugural bath for a minimum of 24 hours after your newborn’s grand entrance. But hey, why stop there? Some experts are pushing the sudsy boundaries and suggesting a delay of 48 hours or even longer before diving into the soapy wonderland.This isn’t just some wild suggestion pulled out of thin air, it’s backed by a treasure trove of studies that highlight the incredible benefits of waiting before embarking on the epic bathing extravaganza.

The Benefits of Delaying the First Bath

Delaying that first bath isn’t just about postponing bubbles and rubber duckies; it’s about cherishing the unique benefits that come with embracing the natural wonders of your newborn. Here is a few benefits of delaying the first bath:

  • Skin so Soft, You’ll Want to Cuddle Forever: By postponing that inaugural dip, you allow your baby’s delicate skin to bask in its natural glory. You see, little ones are born with a protective coating called vernix, which is like their very own built-in moisturizer. Delaying the bath gives this magical elixir more time to work its wonders, leaving your baby’s skin as soft as a cloud and irresistibly cuddle-worthy.
  • Bonding Bonanza: Here’s a secret tip for all the parent-heroes out there: postponing the first bath creates the perfect opportunity for some quality bonding time. Instead of rushing into a soapy frenzy, embrace those precious moments of skin-to-skin contact and snuggle up with your little bundle of joy. It’s like sharing a warm bubble bath of love and connection.
  • Immune System Superpowers: Believe it or not, delaying that first bath can give your baby’s immune system an extra boost. As they make their grand entrance into the world, babies acquire a special coating on their skin that acts as a natural shield against potential invaders. By allowing this protective shield to work its magic a little longer, you’re giving your baby an added line of defense against the germy forces of the outside world.
  • Embracing the Zen of Newborn Life: Let’s face it, life with a newborn can sometimes feel like a whirlwind circus. By delaying the first bath, you’re giving yourself a chance to embrace the chaos and find your groove. Instead of adding another task to your never-ending to-do list, take a deep breath and savor those early moments. After all, there’s plenty of time for soapy adventures, but these early days are fleeting and oh-so-precious
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Factors to Consider

Hospital policies and practices

Depending on where you give birth, the hospital or birthing center may have specific policies regarding the timing of the first bath. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these guidelines and discuss your preferences with your healthcare provider.

Health and condition of the newborn

Babies born prematurely or with certain medical conditions may require immediate bathing for medical reasons. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if any specific circumstances necessitate an early bath.

Cultural and personal preferences

Cultural practices and personal beliefs also play a role in deciding when to bathe your newborn. Some cultures have traditions or rituals associated with the first bath, while others may prefer to delay it for a certain period. Consider your cultural background and personal preferences when making your decision.

Recommendations for the Timing of the First Bath

Immediate bath in the delivery room

In some cases, hospitals may perform an immediate bath in the delivery room as part of their routine care. This is typically done for hygiene purposes and to remove any blood or fluids from the baby’s skin.

Delayed bath after 24 hours

Delaying the first bath until after 24 hours allows time for the baby to adjust to their new environment and provides the opportunity for crucial skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding in the early hours of life.

Delayed bath after 48 hours or more

Some parents choose to wait even longer, often waiting until the umbilical cord stump falls off or until the baby’s skin has naturally started to peel and dry. This allows for maximum absorption of the vernix and further promotes skin health.

How to Prepare for the First Bath

Before giving your newborn their first bath, it’s essential to gather the necessary supplies, create a safe and comfortable bathing environment, and familiarize yourself with some helpful tips:

  • Gathering necessary supplies
  • Mild baby soap or cleanser
  • Soft washcloths or sponge
  • Baby bathtub or sink
  • Warm water
  • Hooded towels
  • Clean clothes and diapers
  • Creating a safe and comfortable bathing environment
  • Ensure the room is warm and draft-free.
  • Use non-slip mats or pads in the bathtub or sink to prevent accidents.
  • Keep all supplies within reach to avoid leaving the baby unattended.

Tips for handling the newborn during the bath

  • Support the baby’s head and neck at all times.
  • Use gentle, slow movements when washing their delicate skin.
  • Talk to your baby soothingly to provide reassurance and comfort throughout the process.

Signs That Your Newborn is Ready for a Bath

Umbilical cord stump healing – Wait until the umbilical cord stump has dried up and fallen off, or until it has been medically advised to give your baby a bath.

Drying and peeling of the skin – If your baby’s skin is starting to dry out or peel naturally, it may be an indication that they are ready for a bath. However, always consult with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

Stool consistency and frequency – Once your baby’s bowel movements have transitioned from thick, sticky meconium to more regular and manageable stools, it may be a good time to introduce bathing.

When should you first bathe a newborn
When should you first bathe a newborn

Step-by-Step Guide to Bathing a Newborn

Pre-bath preparations

  • Gather all necessary supplies.
  • Fill the bathtub or sink with warm water (around 37°C or 98.6°F).
  • Undress your baby, leaving only the diaper on.
  • Bathing techniques and best practices
  • Lower your baby gently into the water, supporting their head and neck.
  • Use your hand or a soft washcloth to clean their body, starting with the face and working your way down.
  • Pay attention to the creases and folds, but avoid excessive scrubbing.

Post-bath care and dressing the newborn

  • Lift your baby out of the water, supporting them securely.
  • Pat them dry with a soft towel, paying extra attention to skin folds.
  • Dress them in clean, dry clothes and a fresh diaper.

Additional Considerations and Safety Tips

Water temperature and depth – Always test the water temperature with your elbow or a thermometer to ensure it’s warm but not too hot. Keep the water level shallow to prevent accidental submersion.

Choosing gentle baby products – Opt for mild, hypoallergenic baby soap or cleansers to minimize the risk of skin irritation or allergies. Avoid using harsh adult products on your baby’s delicate skin.

Avoiding common hazards and accidents – Never leave your baby unattended in the bath, even for a moment. Keep electrical appliances away from water sources, and ensure the bathing area is free from sharp objects or slippery surfaces.


Deciding when to give your newborn their first bath is a personal choice that should consider various factors such as hospital policies, the baby’s health, cultural practices, and personal preferences. By understanding the benefits of delaying the first bath, preparing adequately, and following safety guidelines, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable bathing experience for your newborn. Remember, each baby is unique, so trust your instincts and consult with your healthcare provider for any specific concerns or questions you may have. Enjoy this special bonding time with your little one and cherish the precious moments of early parenthood.

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Disclaimer: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

When should you first bathe a newborn and 4 benefits of delaying bath
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