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Bath time is essential for baby! It keeps them healthy, clean, and can even help with teaching them independence as they get older.

But let’s be honest—bathing can also be a challenge! Baby may not want to get wet or in the tub, or may not like the sound of running water. It can be tough for parents too, as they figure out how to safely hold a slippery baby and everything that comes with bathing.

A bath time routine can help make the cleaning process a lot smoother. How can you set a bath time routine? Follow these simple steps:

  • Plan out the week: Babies need a bath about 3 times a week. You can plan to wash baby on an every-other-day schedule if it helps to keep things organized!
  • Pick a time of day: It doesn’t matter if you wash your baby in the morning or in the evening, but it may help baby to keep the same time of day. Some like the morning when baby is awake. Others prefer the evening to calm baby down before bed. This preference depends on how baby responds to bathing.
  • Wait if they ate: If you have just fed baby, wait a bit of time for their stomach to calm before you bathe them.
  • Gather what you need: Before the bath even begins, gather all the items you might need to wash baby. This includes towels, clean clothes to put on post-bath, soap, toys, etc. When your child is old enough, you can have them help with gathering items!
  • Water first, baby second: Start the water before your child is in the bath. This helps for two reasons: First, you will be able to get the temperature just right without baby being too hot or cold (the best bath temperature is around 100 degrees). But also, the sound of rushing water can be scary to some babies, so they can avoid this and focus on bath time instead!
  • boy_in_bathtubTake your time: It’s best to take your time with the bathing process, so baby feels calm and comfortable. Prepare to spend about 15-30 minutes bathing baby.
  • Bond with baby: While bathing them, speak with soft, gentle voices during bath time. You can also sing songs, smile, and use slow movements to help the experience be gentle and playful. This makes bathing a wonderful bonding experience for baby.
  • Make a wash plan: When they have a bath, the most important parts to wash are the face, neck and diaper area. While it’s best to wash all of baby, make a plan to target these areas to make sure they’re clean.
  • Have fun! While the goal is to clean up, the best way to get children excited to bathe is to engage with them. So pull out those rubber duckies or make bubbles in the bath to keep them relaxed and entertained! When playing games or using toys, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy—even a cup can be a fun bath toy. You can also have your child practice bathing something, like a plastic toy.
It’s also important to stay safe during bath time. Check out these bath time safety tips to keep children of all ages safe while they wash up.