How to Bathe a Baby in 16 Simple Steps!

Giving a baby a bath is a great time, even if it is a pretty involved process. The trick is to get everything you could possibly need and have it all within arm’s reach of the tub: diapers, wipes, powder, ointment, baby wash, baby lotion, washcloths, more washcloths, towels, and (of course!) toys. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the baby…


1. Get out the tub
A baby bathtub is not only adorable but will help hold your baby in the correct position, which is helpful in case you can't grow the two to three extra arms you really need to properly bathe a baby.

2. Babyproof your own tub
If the kid’s bathtub is going inside the regular bathtub, you might want to cover the faucet with an adorable faucet cover to avoid bumping little heads. Bath time already has enough potential for crying…

3. Fill the tub (or don’t)
When filling the bathtub, proper temperature is key. Make sure it’s not too hot with a floating bathtub thermometer. Are you surprised to learn it’s also adorable?  With newborns you can skip this step, since you're mostly sponge-bathing them with a washcloth. (Hint: The washcloth can be adorable too.)

3. Undress the baby
If the baby is wearing clothes, now's the time to remove them. You might also want to take off your own shirt, since you're running a pretty high risk of getting splashed or peed on. Leave the baby's diaper on until the last possible minute, of course.

4. Break out the toys!
Bathtime is playtime, and these adorable water squirters from Munchkin are a lot of fun to squeeze. Plus, they give you an excuse to practice your barnyard animal sounds in the bathroom’s superior acoustics. When bathtime is over, this handy scoop makes cleaning up the toys a one-swoosh maneuver, then it hangs on the side of the tub to drain and dry.

5. Wash the baby
Start at the head and work your way down, using head-to-toe baby wash that doubles as shampoo. Don't forget the really stinky spots, like the fold under their chin where the stale milk likes to hide, and all the adorable folds on their chunky little thighs.

6. Rinse the baby
Getting the soap off the baby without getting water in his face can be tricky, so try to think of it as a game. These ducks make pouring water pretty precise, so you can tilt the baby’s chin up with one hand while pouring water over the back of the head. Keep more dry washcloths handy to quickly wipe his face if it gets wet and he hates that.

7. Dry the baby
Lift baby out of the tub and into an adorable towel. (Baby bathrobes are a somewhat unnecessary step but they’re so incredibly adorable that you might not be able to resist.) Pat baby dry gently, again paying attention to the adorable thigh folds because they are simply too cute for words.

8. Diaper the baby
A naked baby is a baby that could soak everything in sight with no warning, so get the diaper on first, using whatever powder and ointment combination needed. If this is all the baby ends up wearing, everything will be just fine, so when the diaper is securely fastened, gently high-five your baby to celebrate getting this far.

9. Play with the baby
With the baby laying on his back on a towel, take a few minutes to pretend to eat his toes, chomp on his tummy, or exclaim loudly and longly on the topic of his thigh folds. (You could park a truck in there!) Consider multiple rounds of This Little Piggie and some Peek-a-Boo with the towel.

10. Apply lotion to the baby
Now that the baby is dry and happy, he might try to crawl away. To give his a more sporting chance, this is when you'll apply some baby lotion to his already-soft skin. It smells great, the gentle rubbing is calming and soothing—unless the baby is really trying to squirm away, in which case you're really just greasing him up for the upcoming rodeo that is getting dressed the rest of the way.

11. Clip the teeny tiny nails
This is the hardest part—those little nails are so tiny! Make it easier on yourself with good tools, and then just stay calm and use a steady hand. If the kid is already trying to flip over and crawl away, it’s best to just give up and try again later when he’s milk-drunk and sleepy.

12. Check the diaper
Before putting on the baby’s outfit or pajamas, peek inside the diaper. Oh, baby, already?

13. Choose the baby’s outfit
Besides the obvious like dressing for the weather, what your baby wears may depend on what he’ll tolerate when you’re dressing him. My baby refused to wear socks, for example, so I dressed him in outfits with animal feet. The more intricate the ensemble, the harder it will be to not only dress the baby, but change him later too, so keep it simple: onesies and pants are fine, and there’s no shame in wearing adorable one-piece jammies (with zippers instead of snaps!) all day long.

14. Dress the baby
This part could be a cinch if the baby is lying there all blessed-out from the lotion massage he got in step 10. But if he's already trying to roll over or squirm away, you may have to hold him down with one hand while trying to aim his wiggling arms and legs into his clothing’s arm- and legholes, respectively.

15. Fix the baby’s hair
Dressing a squirmy baby usually messes up his hair, so bust out the comb and brush and give him a little sprucing up.

16. You’re done!
Ha, just kidding, you’re never done. Now that the baby is freshly cleaned and diapered (hmm, might as well check that diaper again) and dressed and looking great, cover him with kisses, take a hundred photos, and then eventually get around to cleaning up the toys, washcloths, towels, grooming tools, and baby clothes all over the bathroom.


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