Bath time is a fun time for you to bond with your baby. They get to splash around and be unencumbered by a diaper or clothes, and it’s the perfect time for you to connect with your little one by engaging with them, talking with them, and making eye contact. It’s also a great way to establish a routine and teach your baby the difference between “busy time” and “sleep time,” while at the same time providing them with a yummy way of relaxing and winding down before bed. But bathing a newborn, especially for the first time, can be nerve-racking. Your baby might not love being bathed at first, and you might need some practice with it too. Newborn babies can be a bit slippery! Then there’s the logistics of the bath. How long should it be? What is the perfect baby bath temperature? You want your baby to be comfortable, of course. Not too cold, not too hot, but just right.
In other words, it’s only natural to have some motherhood anxiety before your little cutie gets clean. So, if you need some help figuring out your baby’s bath temperature and how to test it, we’ve got you. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
What is the best baby bath temperature?
You want to find the perfect medium for your baby’s safety and comfort when it comes to their bath water temperature. You want the water more warm than cold since a baby can get cold easily. Aim for the bath water’s temperature to be around 100 F, maybe a few degrees above, but definitely below 120 degrees. It’s also important that the room is at a nice and toasty temp, too. To prevent scalding, it’s recommended to set the thermostat on your home’s water heater to below 120 F — just in case!
You might need to hire a plumber to install a valve or thermostatic mixing valve at your water heater or on the hot water supply. You might also want to consider installing anti-scalding devices to place on taps and shower outlets to reduce the risk of scalding.
How to check for the bath temperature
There are a couple of methods to best check your baby’s bath temperature. One of the simplest ways is to use a thermometer. There are many cute digital waterproof thermometers on the market. There are even baby tubs with built-in thermometers! However, that’s not totally necessary — you can even test the water with your wrist or elbow. Swirl the water around first to break up any hot spots (just as you would before drawing your own bubble bath). It’s also a good idea to run the cold water first and then turn on the hot water to warm up the bath.
How much water should you fill the tub with?
Whether you’re using your bathtub, a baby bathtub, or a sink, it’s important to keep the water level at a minimum to ensure your little one’s safety. A common recommendation is about two inches of water. There has been some research that indicates having enough water to cover your baby’s shoulders helps keep them warm and calm. You might also consider periodically (and gently) pouring water over your baby’s body to keep them warm during bathtime.
No matter how much water you use, it’s important to keep a secure yet comfortable hold on your baby throughout their splish splash. And never leave your baby alone in the tub — not even for a split second. Babies can quickly drown in as little as one inch of water.
How long should a bath be for your baby?
Unlike yourself, who might enjoy a nice hour-long bath, your baby only requires a quick five- to ten- minute bath at first. Warm water can easily irritate a baby’s skin, so you want to make bath time a short and sweet activity for them.