Update on Newborn Bathing

Joanne McManus Kuller, RN, MS


NAINR. 2014;14(4):166-170. 

In This Article


Meticulous care of the skin is important in maintaining good hygiene and a healthy skin barrier but should not alter the skin's own resident flora and microbial defense.[56] To recap, the available evidence can be summarized as: Bathing seem generally superior to washing, some evidence exists that the first bath can safely take place within the first few hours after birth if thermal and cardiorespiratory stability exists but maternal–infant bonding should be the priority, and cleansing with mild liquid baby cleansers seems comparable with or even superior to water alone.[57]

There is wide variation in bathing practices as well as an increasing number of products that are available for infant skin care. Hopefully with more research & the incorporation of evidence-based practices into skin care of the infant, we will see improved skin health and a decrease in skin disease in infancy and childhood (Figs 1–4).[58–64]

Figure 1.

Vernix Caseosa

Figure 2.

Routine Bathing

Figure 3.

Bathing Options

Figure 4.

First Bath