Stressed About Your Baby's First Baths? Don't Be.

A stress free baby bath. 

Baby baths aren't as easy as they may look. Babies can be soapy, slippery little guys, and they can get chilled quickly, too. Parents like you said they wanted to take the stress out of first newborn baths and infant baths. Don't be stressed. Here's everything you need to know about a stress free bath. You've got this.

Tips for your first bath experiences at home

Get your bearings. Gather all necessary supplies. Here’s a running list to start.


Prefill. Fill the bath or basin with a few inches of warm water. Do this in advance, never while baby is in the tub, as water temperatures from the faucet can be inconsistent. In the end, you want comfortably warm to the inside of your arm or elbow, and not hot or cool. For those with temperature gauges, that is between 99.9 and 103.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep it snuggly warm. Undress your baby on a warm surface like a towel. Babies lose body heat 25 times faster in water. Very quickly. Keep it stress-free by keeping them gently swaddled. Trust us. Warmer is calmer.

What about the umbilical cord? 

  • Babies are born with vernix on their skin, which hospitals don’t want to wash off, as it serves as both a barrier to infections, and helps retain heat. So, they may wait 24 hours
  • New studies show there is no increase of infection when the umbilical cord stump has not fully healed. So, after 24 hours, hospitals agree there is no increased risk of infection to having a bath and now tend to bathe fully submerged, umbilical cord.
  • As always, check with your Doctor if you have any concerns.
  • Young babies are especially sensitive to cold
  • Swaddle bathing is proven to reduce stress for the newborn and the parent.

Best Practice: Swaddle immersion bathing.

    best practice warm hug bath swaddle Who doesn't love a warm, cuddly bath? When you think of your own baths, and how uncomfortable it is when the water temperature is incorrect, you can empathize with newborns who came from a perfect warm, womb environment. It's no surprise then, that UC Poudre Valley Health reports that 93% of babies show signs of stress and cry during a sponge bath. Edna Sailer knew that they needed to update practices, so here, swaddle immersion bathing is a “new, best practice.” Why? Remember that 93 percent who cried during a sponge bath? Swaddle immersion bathing brought that number down to 38 percent. 

    Why the protocol?  

    “Most of the time with a (traditional) sponge bath, the baby will cry, and you see the parents turn away,” said PVH Women’s Care Unit RN Edna Sailer, who spearheaded a new swaddle immersion bath protocol for a healthy term newborn. “It can be a bit dramatic for both parent and baby.” That’s why the new protocol of swaddle immersion bathing was instituted.

     Image result for swaddle immersion bath edna sailer

     Easy 1-2-3 How to

    Support. Holding your baby in the loose swaddle that opens in the front, support the head and underarm with one hand and use your other hand to support the baby’s bottom. 

    Slow dip. Gently dip your swaddled baby in the water feet first, using your other hand to support the baby’s bottom.

    Let them warm up to the idea. Talk to them. Sing. Know that this by nature unplugged time together is building their connection with you. Focus on the eyes, then the face. Both with washing, and with your gaze.

      Enjoy your no stress baby bath! 

      A great gift for a new or soon to be parent. New colors!


      Sarah is a birth mom, adoptive mom, wife, working mom and optimist. She is the founder of Hummingbird Infant and shares this so parents understand the latest in newborn bathing. Sign up for our free confidence-boosting monthly Baby Buzz email for insights to help you in your parenting journey.