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How to Bathe Your Baby

Between the bubbles, splashing, coos and giggles — bathtime may quickly become your favourite time of day. Follow our simple step-by-step guide to learn the basics or some new tips.

Baths can not only relax your baby, but they can also give you a chance to bond and play after a hectic day. And like baby massage, a warm bath can be an excellent way to help prepare your baby for bed.

Water Isn’t Enough for Your Baby’s Bath

Water as a cleanser doesn't remove the fat-soluble impurities left behind under nappies and clothes, and if they remain, they can cause the delicate skin barrier to break down. And water alone can actually dry your baby’s skin. Repeated use of water only, especially when hard or chlorinated, has been shown to cause moisture loss from the skin cells, which can leave baby skin irritated or red.

A gentle baby specific cleanser like JOHNSON'S® TOP-TO-TOE® Wash is recommended to help cleanse effectively.

Ideal Baby Cleanser:

  • Effectively removes impurities including fats and oils
  • Respects baby's sensitive skin barrier by maintaining skin pH
  • Formulated to be mild to avoid irritation

Bathing Your Newborn

Most healthcare professionals recommend bathing newborns 2 or 3 times per week, increasing the frequency as your baby gets older. Even though you may not give your baby a bath every day, a sponge bath is an alternative many mums choose for their very young babies.

Learn how to keep your baby fresh between baths.

How to Bathe Your Baby

The kitchen sink can be a great place to bathe your baby (with the tap turned away and soft towels or a foam insert on the bottom) or you could use a small plastic baby bath placed in the full size bath to make it easier to hold your baby.

  1. Start with only a few inches of warm water. Baby’s bath water should be around 37 centigrade. After filling the basin or tub, be sure to swirl the water with your hands so there are no hot spots. Before you put your baby in the bath water, test the water’s temperature on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot.
  2. Using one arm to gently support your baby's back, head and neck, gently place them in the baby bath. Continue to support them using one arm while bathing them with the other hand.
  3. Gently cleanse around your baby's eyes with a cotton pad dampened with clean, warm water. Use a new cotton pad for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye outward. Then, using a soft washcloth, wipe around your baby's mouth, nose and whole face, working from the middle outwards. Wipe the creases in their neck and don't forget behind their ears!
  4. For younger babies, wet a baby washcloth with warm water and use a gentle cleanser formulated for babies, like JOHNSON'S® TOP-TO-TOE® Wash. If your baby has more hair, you might try a gentle shampoo, like JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo. Don’t be afraid to gently wash the soft spots (called fontanels) on your baby's head.
  5. Wash the nappy area last. For a baby girl, cleanse the genital area washing from front to back. For boys, gently wash the penis and genital area, also washing from front to back. For an uncircumcised boy, avoid pulling back the foreskin.
  6. Let your baby take a few moments in the bath to enjoy the warm water. Pour cupfuls of water over their body to keep them warm. Be mindful of running water directly from the tap as water temperature can sometimes change suddenly.
  7. Wrap both hands around your baby's chest under their arms, support their head, and lift them out of the bath and quickly wrap them in a towel.
  8. Dry your baby well in all the creases, as excessive moisture could lead to skin irritation. Pat skin to avoid skin damage.
  9. Before dressing them, apply a gentle baby moisturiser, such as hypoallergenic JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion which is clinically proven to be gentle and mild.

Baby Bathing Tips

Clean only what you can see; avoid putting anything deep into your baby's ear canal or nose.

Every baby is different, but some don’t like to be bathed too soon after feeding. Many mums find it’s best to bath baby before they eat.

And remember, NEVER leave baby alone in the bath.

A bath is a perfect way to create separation between "busy time" and "sleep time", while giving you the chance to bond with your baby. Even tough days can feel a little easier when you end the night by wrapping your beautiful clean baby, snug and cosy, in  their blanket — just in time for a lullaby.


washcloth packshot

Gently clean without needing to rinse with water. They are larger than a traditional baby wipe, and are made from a soft thick cloth. The NO MORE TEARS® formula is as mild to the eyes as pure water, which means the wipes are suitable to use even on  baby's face.They provide a quick and easy bath anytime, anywhere.

JOHNSON'S® Pioneering Safety and Science in Baby Care

We are committed to working with Parents, Healthcare Professionals and Scientists to ensure our baby products continue to deliver high standards of safety and care.

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