Baby is finally here (yay!), but he didn’t come with an instruction booklet (oof) — everything needs to be figured out. From feeding, to dressing, to bathing, some things can be learned from trial and error, and others, like bathing, require a bit more research. A newborn’s skin is sensitive and delicate but so is newborn’s hair. Can you use baby shampoo on your newborn? Here’s some info to get you started.
According to the Mayo Clinic, for the first week or two, or until the stump of the umbilical cord falls off, it’s best to give your your newborn sponge baths every three days. Why sponge baths? Avoiding full immersion in water will help to avoid infecting the sensitive area surrounding the stump.
- Ready a bowl of clean, warm water (cool trick: place your elbow under the water to check temperature), two clean washcloths, and mild baby soap (like Erbaviva’s super gentle Baby Body Wash), and gather all within reach before you begin.
- Lay baby down on a safe, padded surface in a warm room — a changing pad covered in a towel on a changing table or on the floor is perfect.
- Keeping baby wrapped in a towel, expose only the parts of his body you are actively washing. Wash your baby’s head last so that his head does not get too cold during the bath. Pay special attention to all of his creases: neck, belly, underarms, ears, and the genital area (which should be washed with its own washcloth in order to avoid any potential cross-contamination).
- When washing the belly, take extra care to keep baby’s umbilical cord dry.
- Baby born with a headful of hair? A mild baby shampoo is entirely safe for use from day one, just stick to an ultra gentle mild baby shampoo like Erbaviva’s Baby Shampoo, which is formulated with an ultra-mild blend of organic essential oils of lavender, chamomile and Oregon grape extract and is completely free of laurel sulfates and unwanted chemicals.
Once the umbilical cord stump has fallen off, it is safe to immerse baby in the tub, sink, baby tub, or basin. Keep baths to a max of three baths a week until he turns one to avoid drying out his sensitive skin, and stick to mild baby soaps, as regular soap contains heavy surfactants, deodorants, and fragrances, all of which will dry out baby’s silky skin.
- Gather a few clean washcloths, a cup to pour water over baby’s body, mild baby soap like Erbaviva’s Baby Soap, handcrafted with pure milk, honey and nutrient-rich oils or Erbaviva’s super gentle Baby Body Wash, and a mild baby shampoo and have all within reach before you begin.
- Fill the basin with 2 inches of water that feels warm to your elbow.
- Undress baby and place him in the water feet first using one of your hands to support his head and the other to guide him in. To be safe, most of his body and face should be kept well above water level, so you’ll need to pour warm water over his body frequently to keep him warm.
- Stick to using soap on the areas that actually get dirty (bottom, genitals, armpits, kneepits), and rinse the rest of him with warm water.
- Shampoo once or twice a week by gently massaging baby’s scalp, including the area over his fontanelles (soft spots). When you rinse the shampoo from his head, cup your hand across his forehead so the suds run off the sides of his head and not into his eyes. Bravo!