This article has been medically reviewed by Heather McGowan, MD
Bathing our littlest loves timely and appropriately is a piece of the larger puzzle that helps keep their skin happy, healthy, and hydrated. Today we sat down with board-certified Pediatrician Dr. Heather McGowan to chat all things baby bath!
Q: When can I give my littlest love their first bath?
Dr. McGowan: You can begin wiping newborns down with a warm washcloth (without baby wash) right away! Once the umbilical stump falls off (around the one-month mark), you can introduce a gentle baby wash and bathe at least twice a week.
Q: What if the baby's umbilical stump falls off before the one-month mark? Can I bathe them then?
Dr. McGowan: We typically ask parents and caregivers to wait one month to give the baby time to respond to their environment before applying products to their skin. Their skin is very sensitive in general, but especially this early. Though baby isn’t quite ready for a bath, it’s important to get rid of dead skin. Babies shed skin much faster as they grow. Continue to wipe baby down with a warm washcloth at least once a day until they reach one month of age.
Q: Got it. What about baby’s hair?
Dr. McGowan: Same thing! Use a damp washcloth to gently exfoliate baby’s scalp and hair until they reach one month of age. Then, add a few drops of mild shampoo and wash hair twice weekly.
Q: What type of things and ingredients should I look for in my baby’s bath wash?
Dr. McGowan: Three things.
1. A wash formulated with a neutral pH. The higher the pH, the tighter, drier, and more subject to infection baby’s skin will be.
2. Plant-based, moisturizing ingredients like jojoba, coconut, and aloe.
3. A gentle coconut-based surfactant* that cleanses, but won't strip skin of its natural moisture. Bubbles may feel fun or seem like they are cleaning better, but the higher the later, the harsher the cleanser.
*Surfactants are what cause the wash to lather and clean
Q: Ok, I’ve given baby a bath and I want to moisturize their skin. When is it safe to start moisturizing and what should I use?
You can use a moisturizer on your baby’s skin immediately after a bath while the skin is slightly damp.
About Heather McGowan, M.D.
Heather McGowan, M.D., is a caring board-certified pediatrician serving patients in Tuckahoe, New York. She is the advising pediatrician for PROUDLY on product development, as well as children’s health, wellness, and development.
With over two decades of experience, Dr. McGowan has demonstrated her expertise in children and adolescent care and looks forward to seeing her patients grow and thrive. Her diverse interests lie in asthma and allergy, pediatric nutrition and obesity, and adolescent health.