How to Give Your Newborn a Bath: The Swaddle Bath Method

This is undoubtedly one of the best tricks I learned during my preemie’s 4 month stay in the NICU. My older 3 children hated getting a bath when they were infants. Why? Because it’s cold! I could kick myself for not thinking to wrap them in a blanket during bath time. Harper just loves her baths and has from day 1 when we were able to unplug her cords, wrap her up, and dip her into a small bin of warm water. In the NICU she was also on a heated table for extra warmth. It was always very important for her to stay warm so that her body didn’t use up more calories than necessary. Every ounce matters when it comes to a preemie!

how to give your newborn a bath

A swaddle bath is essentially a normal bath, but given with the newborn (or in this case preemie) wrapped in a thin blanket. The blanket allows the warm water to travel up the blanket and warm the parts of the body that are not submerged. You can also pour some water over them periodically to keep the blanket warm.

Preemie Swaddle Bath

This is Harper’s first swaddle bath. The black, green, and white cords are leads to her monitors but they were unplugged for bath time!
Preemie Swaddle Bath

The blanket also makes a great washcloth! Simply use the loose ends of the blanket to wipe the baby’s face (be sure to use different parts of the blanket to wipe each eye in order to avoid transferring a possible infection from one eye to the other), hands, feet, and legs. I’m not sure where the swaddle blankets used in the NICU are from, but they were great!

We were blessed that in this particular NICU they used all-natural bath products. The baby wash, bottom balm, baby oil, and even the nipple butter that they provided was zero toxin, organic herbal products by Earth Mama Angel Baby.

I loved the whole Earth Mama Angel Baby line, but since being home I have signed up for automatic shipment of diapers & wipes from The Honest Co, and they also sell some really fantastic chemical-free bath products.

One more tip to keeping baby warm during bath time is to wash their hair AFTER they are dried, diapered, dressed, and swaddled in a dry blanket. Simply hold the baby over a small bowl of warm water or the sink.

Preemie Swaddle Bath

It was one thing to bathe Harper in the NICU with help from the nurses and the warming table, but bringing her home was an entirely different adventure. Especially with three siblings eager to help!

Preemie Swaddle Bath

We have this infant bath seat and I love it because it’s light weight, dries fast, and folds up easily for storage. And instead of filling up a whole bath tub for a 6lb baby we just used this bin for a few weeks 🙂 We also love our Aden + Anais swaddle blankets for bath time! They are perfectly thin, and large enough to use the corners for washing.

Preemie Swaddle Bath

Thankfully, Harper is now big enough to take a bath with her big sister and we still do a loose version of the swaddle bath. This way she can enjoy her time in the tub longer! She absolutely loves bath time!

I hope you were able to glean some bathing tips for your new little one. If you’re a seasoned mama, what are some of your favorite bath tips? Also, have you heard of a swaddle bath before?

Linking up at The Evolution of Mom

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About Laurie

I'm a Child of God, wife, mother of 4, wellness advocate and writer. This blog is a journal of my days, a collection of my recipes and crafts, and hopefully, a platform for all families to share their ideas, encouragement, inspiration and advice! I'm striving to "bloom where I am planted". Don't wait until things are "perfect" to begin sharing your gifts. We are all part of one giant puzzle—don't be a missing piece!

4 comments on “How to Give Your Newborn a Bath: The Swaddle Bath Method

  1. Stopping by from Momma Told Me. I had never heard of a swaddle bath. Now I have learned 2 new things about babies in the last few days. My niece had a emergency c section a few days ago when her baby was transverse.
    The swaddle bath seems like we should have all thought about that a long time ago! Adorable children!

  2. I've never heard of the swaddle bath either. Great tips! Thanks for stopping by our Momma Told Me Link Party. We hope you'll share more!

    ~Jen
    The Evolution of Mom

  3. I hope your niece and her baby are doing well. I'd love to hear if she tries out the swaddle bath! It's such a simple idea, I was starting to think I was the only one who had never thought of it!

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