How Often Newborn Need a Bath

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 19, 2011

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Bathing a newborn can be a daunting task as most new mothers feel petrified to handle baby while bathing them.  Most new mothers remain baffled about how often newborns need a bath. Read to know more about the bathing requirements of a newborn.

Most mothers often bathe their newborns every day to prevent dehydration especially during summer months.  However, doctors are of the view that newborns don’t need a bath every day. Dr. Pankaj Vohra, Paeditrician, Max Healthcare, New Delhi explains, “Bathing a newborn several times a week may rob them of the natural moisture of their tender skin. Newborns should be bathed after a gap of 1-2 days depending on the tolerance of the baby towards water.”

As per the American Academy of Paediatrics, babies are born with a creamy white coating called the vernix caseosa, a collection of dead cells and mucous that protects the child during pregnancy. The vernix is the most exclusive body lotion a human ever sees and should be massaged into the skin of the baby skin immediately after birth. Since the vernix acts as an effective moisturizer in protecting the skin of the newborn, the necessity of regular bathing is considerably reduced.

Newborn’s skin is very sensitive and it takes time to develop tolerance towards external chemicals. Newborns usually do not get very dirty, so bathing them few times a week suffices.  Besides, mothers should steer clear from all sorts of body lotions, oils and shampoos at least till the baby is one month old. The area around the umbilical cord is prone to infection and till the cord falls off, a sponge bath is recommended. The most unclean parts of a newborn are the neck, hands and groin, so clean these areas gently using a soft washcloth and warm water. Once the baby is a month old, he can be bathed and shampooed three times a week on an average. Read the below mentioned guidelines to know more about bathing a newborn:


  • A newborn does not require regular baths till the stump of the umbilical cord falls off. Parents must be very cautious in treating the umbilical area and avoid water seepage into that area.
  • Vernix, the protective layer of dead cells is enough to maintain the moisture content of the baby’s skin.So, ‘newborns need a bath daily’ is  undoubtedly a myth.
  • Make sure the skin folds, the genital areas and the buttocks remain clean. Clean those areas with a soft sponge dipped in lukewarm water after the baby passes urine or stool to prevent any skin rashes.
  • Proper cleaning of  groin, under arms and behind the ears will be enough to keep the newborn clean.


So, if you are parenting a new born stop worrying about how often to give newborn a bath. Follow the above laid guidelines and stay stress free.


Read more articles on Newborn Care



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