Water alone is not an effective cleanser
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’s skin irritated or red.
A gentle baby specific cleanser like JOHNSON’S® BABY TOP-TO-TOE® is recommended to help cleanse effectively.
Bathing Your Newborn
Most midwives and other health care 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.
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.
Start with only a few inches of warm water — the ideal water temperature is 37 degrees C. Check the water temperature with the inside of your wrist and swirl the water with your hand to make sure there are no hot spots.
Using one arm to gently support your baby's back, head and neck, gently place them in the baby bath. Continue to support your baby using one arm while bathing them with the other.
Gently wash your baby's eyes with a cotton ball dampened with clean, warm water. Use a new cotton ball 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 outward. Wipe the creases in their neck and don't forget behind the ears!
For younger babies, wet a baby washcloth with warm water and use a gentle cleanser formulated for babies, like JOHNSON'S® TOP-TO-TOE® baby 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.
Wash the nappy area last. For a baby girl, cleanse the genital area washing from front to back. For an uncircumcised boy, gently wash the penis and genital area, also washing from front to back, and dry thoroughly. Avoid pulling back the foreskin.
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.
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.
Dry your baby well in all the creases, as excessive moisture could lead to skin irritation. Pat skin to avoid skin damage. Before dressing them, apply a gentle baby moisturiser. JOHNSON'S® baby lotion 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 bathe 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 cozy, in a blanket — just in time for a lullaby.
*The skin barrier is the upper layer of the skin that acts as a vital barrier to outside irritants, bacteria and allergens, helping to protect the body from disease. Babies' skin barrier is more delicate than adults’ because it is still developing.
Learn more about when and how you should bathe your baby.
We make it our responsibility to know as much as possible about your baby's precious eyes.
Over 50 years ago we developed a new set of standards to mark the quality and gentleness of our JOHNSON'S® baby mild-cleansing soap-free shampoo.
Mums then and now could trust Johnson’s baby NO MORE TEARS helps prevent stinging their baby's eyes. Ever since, has meant products that are mild and gentle to use for your baby's delicate skin and eyes.