Learn how to bathe a newborn with this guide.

Here are some tips to make time in the tub good, clean fun for both you and your baby.

Follow these steps to learn how to clean your newborn baby.


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Prepping for Bath Time with Your Newborn

  • Establish a regular bath time routine
  • Keep the room nice and toasty. A cozy 75 degrees-plus will work just fine.
  • Gather all your necessities: You’ll need two washcloths, a towel, a few cotton balls, a diaper, and a change of clothes.
  • Start in a few inches of warm water. Keep the water at about 90 degrees. Swirl your fingers through the water to make sure there are no hot spots.

Bath Time Basics for Washing Newborns

  1. Support the baby’s back, head, and neck with one arm and use the other hand to bathe.
  2. Gently cleanse eyes with a dampened, warm cotton ball, wiping from the inside corner of the eye outward.
  3. Wipe your baby’s face with a soft washcloth. Work from the middle out.
  4. If your baby has hair, use a gentle shampoo. Sprinkle hair with warm water and a little bit of shampoo. Use a warm washcloth to rinse clean
  5. For the diaper area, cleanse girls from front to back. For boys, gently wash from back to front and thoroughly dry.
  6. After bath time, dry your baby well and be sure to get in all creases — excessive moisture in these areas can lead to skin irritation.
  7. Pat skin dry to avoid skin irritation.

A Few Pointers for Baby Bath Time

  • If you bathe your baby in a sink, be sure to carefully wash it out first with hot soapy water.
  • Newborns get cold fast. Keep your towel nearby so you can warm your baby as soon as possible.

Bath Safety for Babies

  • Never leave your baby alone in a bathtub and never place your baby in a tub while water is running.
  • Do not turn your back, even for a second. If you need to leave the room, always take your baby with you.
  • Always be mindful of water temperature (you may even want to set your water heater at 120 degrees).
  • When bathing a newborn, use as little water as needed.
  • Do not use sponges to bathe your baby—pieces can break off and become choking hazards.

About UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.