Newborn hygiene is an important concern for new and experienced San Francisco parents alike. One of the most common newborn baby care questions the doctors at GetzWell Pediatrics get is how often newborn babies should be bathed. The short answer is that it depends on what’s right for you and your family. Below are a few suggestions and safety tips for keeping your baby clean.
Newborns Don’t Need a Bath Every Day
San Francisco newborns don’t need a bath every day. We recommend that as part of your newborn baby care routine, you bathe your baby 2 to 3 times a week after the umbilical stump has fallen off. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bathe your baby daily if that’s your preference. For some, a warm bath can soothe a fussy baby or work as a natural sleep-inducing technique in preparation for bed- and naptime. Bathtime is also a bonding experience for parents and their babies. For all these reasons, the frequency with which you bathe your newborn is entirely up to you. There’s really no right or wrong as long as it’s a helpful tool and enjoyable for all.
How Should I Bathe My Newborn Baby?
The most important thing to know when bathing your newborn baby is to never, ever leave your baby unattended in the bath–not even for a second. A newborn baby can drown even in the shallowest amount of water. If you must step away during a bath, take your baby with you, always.
We find that it’s easiest to bathe newborns in the kitchen sink or in a baby tub. Fill the sink or tub up with no more than 5 inches of warm – not hot or cold – water. Use a sparing amount of gentle baby wash or soap – preferably a natural or organic cleanser approved by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) – and a warm, wet cloth or sponge to clean baby’s skin. If you choose to bathe your baby in your bathtub, the doctors at GetzWell Pediatrics recommend using a bathing seat, a rubber mat, or a sponge bath base for extra support. Or you may also want to get into the tub to bathe along with your infant – many San Francisco parents love this approach.
What Can I Do to Keep My Newborn Clean In Between Baths?
If you choose not to bathe your baby every day, you’ll likely still have little messes to clean up on non-bath days. The San Francisco doctors at GetzWell Pediatrics recommend that in between baths you use a warm, wet washcloth to gently wipe your baby’s face and body (in particular you’ll want to pay attention to creases in the neck, armpits, and groin). You might also consider using this warm washcloth approach to clean your baby’s genitals during diaper changes at home, thus cutting down on landfill and not exposing baby’s skin to the potential irritants in baby wipes.
Call Us With Any Newborn Baby Care Questions
As always, the doctors at San Francisco’s GetzWell Pediatrics are available to answer your questions at any time.
If you have any additional questions about bathing your baby or other aspects of newborn baby care, call us anytime at (415) 826-1701.