Should I Bathe My Newborn Before Or After Feeding?

As moms, we get very particular about how we will run our baby’s everyday routine. We always make sure that our daily tasks are supported by books, physicians, or some baby whisperers. But, there’s one particular task by which babies get impatient a lot. Do you guess what it is? It’s definitely not getting them forced to laugh on our tickles. It’s bathing! Bathing can be a lot hard especially if you’re a first-time mom. There’s always this running question, “should I bathe him before or after feeding?”

The answer: most mothers prefer to bathe their newborn before feeding. Babies who were fed after a bath tend to puke a lot. Since you do not want your baby to bath in his own puke, and you do not want to waste milk as well, you would prefer to bathe before feeding. Also, feeding perfectly puts your baby to sleep, bathing a baby before he goes to bed would be refreshing and comfortable in his part. 

“Yet, as mothers always say, it’s always good to follow your instincts. You know the best time for your baby. Just a tip: don’t bath them straight after a feed and whenever they are hungry.”

When Should Newborns Have Their First Bath

As recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), bathing should be done 24 hours after birth. If this time frame cannot be followed due to cultural reasons, delay bathing for at least six hours. However, others suggest that it will be better to wait up for at least 48 hours to ensure that the baby has adjusted well. 

How Often Should We Bath Newborns

As soon as you get your babies home, there is no need to bathe them daily. It’s always good to stay in sponge baths until the umbilical cord completely healed. Experts also suggest that a newborn should be bath only twice to thrice a week as too much bathing may cause them dry skin. Five to ten minutes is the suggested running time for each bath. If you are worried about not having their genitals cleaned, you can always use wipe downs to it.

Steps To Safe Newborn Baths

A successful first bath is determined on how safe it was done. These steps will make your first bathing experience safe and easy:

  • 1
    Wipe eyelids with cotton wool dipped in lukewarm water. This should be done before you undress your baby. In wiping each eye, different cotton wools should be used. After which, wash your baby’s whole face while protecting his ears and mouth from the water. This first step prepares the baby for bath time.
  • 2
    Undress your baby. Take off your baby’s clothes gently. The nappy should be the last one to remove.
  • 3
    Gently submerge your baby’s body into the tub. Your one hand should always support the back of your baby’s neck. By doing so, it supports him while being submerged into the water. Start to lower him down to the water with his feet. Carefully hold them and expect a lot of juggling.
  • 4
    Gently splash water on his head and body. Be careful not to put water in his eyes, ears, and mouth. Apply a gentle cleanser and rub it gently to your baby’s skin. After which, wash his head and body to take off the cleanser. Use water only in cleaning your baby’s genitals. Also, make sure that you carefully take out some poops leftover.
  • 5
    Lift him out of the bath. Support your baby’s neck while lifting him out of the bath. Gently place him on his back in a clean, soft, and dry washcloth. Make it quick as he might feel cold with no clothes on.
  • 6
    Wrap your baby in a soft towel. This time, you can use the washcloth you use to dry him up or a new soft baby hooded towel. Pat him dry and pay attention to skin their creases. 
  • 7
    Apply mild lotion. Gently apply mild lotion to your baby’s skin. It keeps them soft and moisturized throughout the day. Here are the best moisturizers for babies that mothers recommend. 
  • 8
    Dress your baby. Put on the nappy first and then the clothes. Choose newborn clothes that are soft as bath time is always followed with nap time. His fun bath time will definitely give him pony dreams!
  • 9
    Empty and clean the bath. For your next use, make sure to clean and empty the bath tubs.

Newborn Bath Tips

The first few baths might be a little hard. You might be a little anxious, but soon enough you’ll get used to it. To help you succeed in the everyday bathing task, below are the newborn bath tips that you have to consider:

  • You should take away your distractions. Newborn stage is probably the most fragile stage of the baby. Therefore, it is vital to give your focus on the baby especially the head! Take away your distractions such as mobile phones, televisions, and loud music on the background. Your jewelry and watch should also be taken away.
  • Position the bath in a stable place and height. The most recommended place to do the bath is on top of a kitchen table or a changing table. It is neither too high nor too low. Also, when doing the bath, make sure that you always have one hand to support the baby’s neck and head.
  • Avoid using soaps with harmful chemical content. Soaps contain chemicals that are not suitable for the baby’s delicate and sensitive skin. These also cause your baby’s skin to dry out. Gentle non-soap cleanser or fragrance free-oil are the best choices.
  • The water temperature should be 37 - 38 °C. Check the water temperature before you put your baby in the tub. It would be better to use a thermometer to check it. If there is none, use your wrist or elbow to check if it’s warm enough and not hot. You are not also advised to add water from time to time especially when your baby is on the tub.
  • Ensure that everything you need is on hand. Towel, diaper, washcloth, and baby clothes are just some of the essentials you should have with you. Walking back and forth inside the room to get these essentials gives a lot of hassles.

Essential Must-haves For Newborn Baths

As part of the newborn bath tips, you have to ensure that everything you need is on hand. However, there are times that we forget to buy or bring something - even the most important things! It’s certain that you do not want to experience this same thing when it comes to your baby. To help you remember the must-haves when it comes to newborn bath essentials, we have provided you with a list below:

  • Baby bathtub - the perfect plastic bathtub for our babies must contain a seat or a sling insert on it. You can check a variety of choices here.
  • Bath thermometer - a bath thermometer if you want to be accurate on the water temperature. It ensures if the water is in perfect condition - warm and not too hot. Surely, your baby will better enjoy paddling around.
  • Baby soap - gentle soap and non-soap cleanser or fragrance-free oil are the best for babies. It gives smoothness and natural fragrance to our baby’s skin. 
  • Baby shampoo - some baby soap can be used as baby shampoo as an alternative. It keeps the baby hair soft and tangles free. Oh, the smell too can make you crave the whole day!
  • Bath toys - to add a little fun during bath time, soft and non-toxic toys are usually added up in the tub. Though they cannot play with these toys at this time, just seeing some colorful toys in the tub is also fun for the eyes of our newborns.
  • Soft hooded baby towels - these baby towels provide warmth and comfort to our baby right after a bath. Their skin will be shielded by the cool breeze coming out of the fan or air from an open space. When choosing baby towels, it is vital to check the type of material to avoid irritation. 
  • Washcloths - once lay down, our baby looks for the same softness that a bed feels like. Therefore, choosing the best washcloth is also essential in providing the best bathtime experience to our baby. It should be really soft, thick, and self-absorbent.
  • Baby clothes and diapers - post-bath is styling time! Now we get to choose the cutest and most comfortable clothes for our babies. These should keep them warm and comfortable as they sleep. Similarly, diapers should be worn to avoid poop and pee stains in bed.

Related Questions

  • Do you massage a baby before or after bath?
    You can do massage after bathe. This can also become a part of your baby's bedtime routine as well, since a massage helps him transition from play to sleep.
  • How long do you wait to put your baby down after feeding?
    Ten to fifteen minutes will be enough. You just have to always make sure that he burped before you put him down.

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