New-born Bathing
(15 Jun 2018)

Baby Talk: New-born Bathing

Our new weekly segment, Baby Talk, featured Clinical Nurse Irene Damon this week to talk about the first ten days of life with your new-born! One of our viewers asked an interesting question about how regularly they should be bathing their new-born and Nurse Irene provided us with the information we needed!

Did you know that there is no urgent need to bath a new-born? New-borns are actually not born “dirty”. The waxy coating on new-borns, known as the vernix caseosa, is a natural moisturizer, cleanser and also helps to protect the baby against infections. If the caregiver takes away the baby for bathing this may interfere with skin-to-skin, mother-baby-bond and the establishing of breastfeeding. Another interesting fact to note is that new-borns are unable to regulate their body temperature and bathing them early won’t help.



The bathing of your new-born can be delayed up to a week. In that week you can give them a good towel rub if they need a clean. During the “no bathing” stage, a method called Topping and Tipping can be used. This method is to wash the face, neck, hands and baby bottom. If you are attempting to maintain the baby’s temperature, you can use this method as well. For eye cleaning, you can use damp cloths and clean from inside to outside (corners of the eyes).



*Clinical Nurse Irene Damon says that the parents’ consent plays a big role in the matter of bathing. It is the parents’ decision whether they would like the baby bathed or if they would prefer to delay it. The World Health Organization recommends bathing time for new-borns to be 24 hours after delivery.

For slightly older babies, 2 months and upwards, they can be bathed every second day and you can also use the Tipping and Topping method. Children aged 2-3 and upwards should sometimes actually sleep “dirty” (no bathing) as it is good for their immune system.

For all the baby-talk, watch Expresso on Thursday at 6:30-9am on SABC3!

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