If you’re a first time mom, bath time for baby may seem a bit intimidating. You’ll have to get baby clean while keeping them safe and warm. And, that includes washing baby’s hair.
Luckily, there are lots of great tools and resources to aid with baby bath time.
Here are all the best tips for how to wash newborn hair and advice to keep them safe and happy.
The Best Method to Wash Newborn Hair
Newborns with an umbilical stump
For newborns who have not yet lost their umbilical cord, you’ll need to avoid submerging them in water. You can give them a bath by laying them on a towel and wiping them down one part of the body at a time with a warm wash cloth.
Start with baby’s face and move downward (avoid introducing soap until after this step). You can even leave some articles of clothing on as you go or reintroduce them to ensure baby stays as warm as possible.
Pat baby dry when done and follow the steps for washing hair below.
Newborns without an umbilical stump
For babies who have lost their umbilical cord, it is safe to submerge them in water (for boys, you’ll also need to ensure their circumcision is fully healed before allowing them to get wet).
Place baby in a shallow tub (2-3 inches of water). Add a small amount of soap (gentle and tear-free) to your washcloth and give them a gentle wipe down from top to bottom and front to back and rinse.
It’s important to wash your baby’s body first and leave their hair for last. According to these newborn baby hacks, babies lose most of their heat through their head. Leaving this step for last will ensure they stay as warm as possible.
Steps to washing baby’s hair according to WebMD:
- Use a small cup or cup your hand under warm bath water and carefully pour it over baby’s head to wet their hair. Tilt baby’s head back if possible to ensure the water spills backward, away from their face.
- Place a pea size amount of baby shampoo on baby’s head and gently rub in a circular motion. (You can also use an infant hair brush to help clear away cradle cap).
- Then, rinse with your hand or cup, keeping the water from running into baby’s eyes.
Newborn Bath Tips and Hacks
Here are some additional tips and hacks to make bath time better while you wash your newborn’s hair.
- Add lavender to your baby’s bath to help soothe and calm them before it’s time to sleep. This will help them adjust to their newborn sleep schedule and encourage them to self-soothe.
- Make sure you have everything you need for your baby’s bath before you begin. If you need to, you can keep a checklist near your baby’s bath. You don’t want to leave baby unattended to round up missing bath items or have to start and stop.
- Lay a warm washcloth over baby’s body to keep them warm while you wash their hair.
Here are some items to add to your baby registry checklist and to keep on hand for baby bath time.
- A baby bath seat to use until baby can sit up on their own.
- Hooded towels to keep baby warm once out of the tub.
- A baby grooming kit for their hair, nails, and body.
Baby Bath Safety and Frequency
How often do you bathe a newborn? It’s not as often as you may think.
Baby’s only need a bath a couple times a week and 3 at the most. Washing your baby too frequently can dry out their skin.
- Never leave your baby unattended even if you if place them in a bath seat. It doesn’t take much or long for dangerous situations to occur around water. Be vigilant to keep your baby safe.
- Make sure you avoid harsh soaps and lotions. Baby’s have very delicate skin. Use bath products recommended for their age and stage.
- Remember to keep baby’s head well supported throughout your bath routine. For newborns, you can keep them well supported by laying them over one arm on their belly while cradling their neck or keeping them propped back in a bath seat or baby bathtub.
- Babies are slippery when wet. When lifting them out of the water, be sure to support their bottom with one hand and their head and neck with the other. Wrap them in a towel as soon as you can and pat them dry.