Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

5 Steps to Bathing a Baby

Valentin Casarsa
iStockphoto/Valentin Casarsa

I believe that a baby should be exposed to water early and often: showers, bath tubs, and eventually swimming pools. All good.

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My first baby got a bath every other night and he pretty much still does. Meanwhile, my third child has been in the tub about 5 times in as many months. FIVE. That is not a typo. Rather than get all the supplies out for him, we prefer to bring him in the shower as needed.

A wise person told me that baby’s skin chemistry is pretty much perfect the way it is, so I try not to mess with it too much. I like to use a very small amount of extremely gentle baby soap. Or no soap at all. Keep in mind, I make bald babies so I don’t know how that changes things.

I like to delegate the role of infant-bathing to Daddy whenever possible. Handling a wet infant is slippery business and no boobs are required. While your partner is busy washing the baby, you can relax with a well-earned glass of wine and a stack of magazines.

Easy steps to bathing a baby:

  1. Grab the goods: wash cloth, snugly towel, baby soap, plastic cup, and of course, a tub. Optional: something to protect your knees.
  2. Lay out diaper and clean clothes.
  3. Fill tub first with partially with warm (not hot) water and second with naked baby.
  4. Start by washing the face, then dirty bits, and finally hair. Keep one hand on your baby at all times. Use cup to pour warm water on hair.
  5. Clench the baby towel in your teeth then scoop her into a warm hug.

(Overachievers with laundry in the bathroom like me will run bath towel through the dryer.)

Showering a baby (way different than a baby shower!)
Our infant shower method requires two interchangeable adults. For simplicity sake, let’s say Mommy is in the shower.

Mom does this:

  1. Step into the shower and make sure water is not too hot.
  2. Receive the naked baby and one wash cloth.
  3. Using hand and wash cloth, rinse baby from top to bottom. Hold on tight. Wet babies are especially squirmy.
  4. Pass the baby back to Daddy when you are satisfied.

In the meantime, Dad does this:

  1. Strip baby down to diaper.
  2. Walk over to shower, un-diaper the baby and pass to Mommy.
  3. Lay out pajamas.
  4. Receive the baby in a cozy towel from Mommy and pajama-fy. (Yes, that’s a word.)

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (

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