5 Things You Need To Know Before Bathing Your Newborn
So, you managed to get pregnant (not always as easy as one may think, we know!), you’ve made it through 9 months of growing a human (isn’t the body incredible?), and you’ve also survived the often-traumatic experience of childbirth. In our eyes, you really are Superwoman. And now you have a perfect little squish of a newborn baby that is now (and forever) under your care.
First of all, congratulations and well done. Secondly, we know you have a lot of questions; no one is ever truly prepared for this monumental task. Everything seems new and foreign and you’re likely second-guessing most, if not all, your decisions when it comes to the little bundle of joy. We totally get it! A lot of the herd here at MooGoo HQ are parents themselves, so we know firsthand what a crazy rollercoaster the fourth (and fifth, sixth, seventh …) trimester is.
Whilst we can’t answer ALL your questions about newborns, we can give you some peace of mind when it comes to family bath-time and all things baby skincare products. Parenting is hard, maybe the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and baby skincare shouldn’t be adding to that. So, here’s what you need to know about bathing and washing a fresh baby human.
1. How long after birth do I need to wait to bath my baby?
Experts recommend waiting at least 24 hours after birth before giving your newborn any kind of bath. 48 hours is even better if you can wait that long. This is because your little human needs some time to adjust to life outside the warm, temperature-controlled womb and their system will begin to self-regulate body temperature in this first day or two.
Sponge Baths for the first two weeks
Once 48 hours have passed, the risk of your baby suffering hypothermia reduces significantly, and it’s now safe to begin bathing. Note that your baby will still have a vernix coating (a white, creamy, naturally occurring biofilm) and an umbilical cord stump, and it’s important to let those shed naturally – so very gentle, sponge bathing for baby only for the first 2 weeks.
2. How long should I bath my baby for?
As mentioned, whilst you wait for the vernix coating to shed and umbilical cord stump to fall off, you’ll need to stick with sponge bathing only. This can be done with some lukewarm water, a sponge or washcloth and some gentle baby wash. We cannot stress the ‘gentle’ part enough as baby skin is still adjusting to the outside world, so we urge you to start reading ingredient labels if it’s not something you already do on the regular. Using ingredients that are too harsh on delicate baby skin can unnecessarily cause redness and irritation, not things we recommend adding to your parenting plate.
After the umbilical stump falls off
Once the umbilical cord stump falls off, you can then move from sponge baths to bathing your baby in a baby bath in 5 to 8 cm (or 2 to 3 inches) of warm water for around 5 minutes. While all parents love a nice, long soak in the tub, baby skin doesn’t need this. In terms of frequency, 3 times a week is plenty to avoid drying their skin out. Again, we recommend using a gentle baby wash, like our 2 in 1 Bubbly Wash.
3. What temperature should a baby bath be?
The ideal bath water temperature is the same as your child’s body temperature, or around 37 to 38°C (they're yet to experience the joys of a hot tub). The easiest thing to do is fill the bath with hot water and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then check the temperature with your elbow or wrist as they are more sensitive than your hands so you will be better able to gauge the heat.
4. Can I use a body wash, or is plain water best?
Washing with water alone doesn’t remove much dirt (and any of the other things babies can get into), and for hygiene reasons we (again) recommend using a natural gentle baby wash to help keep them clean. Now that you’ve committed to reading ingredient labels, you’ll start to notice that a lot of the commercial baby wash products out there are made with cheap, synthetic, harsh detergents (like SLS and SLES to name a few) that can strip the skin (and not just baby skin) of its natural oils, leaving it high and dry. These harsh detergents can also cause other unwanted issues such as UTIs, particularly in baby girls.
Use a gentle baby wash
Since we’re passionate about this, we will shamelessly plug our 2 in 1 Bubbly Wash, made with a mixture of super gentle and naturally derived cleansing ingredients as this is milder on the skin than using one concentrated cleanser on its own. Just like the rest of our products, we stand by skipping on the sulfates, parabens, synthetic preservatives and anything else not-so-nice to baby skin. We also made sure to include some super soothing ingredients like Colloidal Rice Bran so your baby will emerge from the bath as soft as a baby’s…well you know.
Finally, we also know that babies need bubbles (and adults love them too), so our formula brings the bubbles using only natural ingredients, of course. Detrimental detergents make big bubbles, but they also bring big troubles. We’ll take the bubbles without troubles, please and thanks. This parenting gig is hard enough as it is.
5. Should I moisturise my baby’s skin after a bath?
Just like grownups, we recommend moisturising babies after bathing, not only to replenish the skin with natural oils, but also because post-bath (or shower) is when skin drinks up moisture the best. This is even more important when they’re the littlest because baby skin is still developing a healthy skin barrier and keeping skin moisturised helps keep this intact. So yes, we recommend using a gentle and healthy moisturiser not only to keep their skin hydrated which has many benefits, but also to keep it sealed and protected from the external world.
Soothing, Natural and Healthy Ingredients
Whether your baby’s skin is fussier than their moods are, or they have the skin of a heavenly cherub, keeping skin problems at bay is also a matter of prevention. Our Baby Soothing Moisturiser is made and designed for all babies, even the big ones (we mean you, adults), and just like everything else we make, we skipped on the artificial additives and stuck only to the natural and nourishing. Between cleaning up messes, wiping faces and changing the 19th diaper of the day, the last thing you need is a MOO-dy baby with irritated skin. While we think our skincare is the bee's knees, we can only help keep their skin calm, you're on your own with everything else. Sorry! Sadly, some things in life can't be solved with skincare.
Got more questions about looking after your baby’s skin? Read our 3-Step Baby Skin Care Routine blog for more skin-soothing baby tips.