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Bathing your newborn

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Babies only need a bath 2 to 3 times a week, but if your baby enjoys it, you can do it every day. Follow our easy guide to giving your baby a bath.

What you need

Fill a bath tub to around 10 to 13 cm. The temperature should be 37-38 degrees. Use a thermometer or your wrist to test.

  • soft wash cloth
  • towel
  • clean nappy
  • clean clothes
  • cotton wool balls
  • baby soap, lotion or shampoo

Step 1

On a change mat or on your knee, clean your baby’s face.

To clean their eyes, use a damp cotton wool ball, starting from the inner eye. Use a fresh cotton ball for each eye.

Step 2

Lower your baby into a warm bath. Support their head on your arm with your hand holding your baby’s upper arm.

Use your other arm to support their body. This is the arm you will use to wash your baby.

Step 3

Gently splash water onto your baby’s head. Keep your baby’s head clear of the water.

Step 4

Wash their body then their genitals and bottom. Shampoo their hair last. You only need to shampoo their hair once or twice a week.

Step 5

Have a towel, fresh change of clothes and a clean nappy laid out ready to dry and dress your baby.


Never leave your baby alone in the bath or on the change table.

You can call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436.

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Last reviewed: October 2021

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