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Washing newborn babies: Aboriginal parents

0-3 months

Preparing a bath for a newborn baby

Have everything you need close by. Use a clean bucket, sink or baby bath to wash your baby. You also need cotton wool or a soft cloth, towels, a clean nappy and clean clothes.

Fill the container with warm water to 10-13cm deep. Use a bath thermometer, your wrist or elbow to check that the water is not too hot. It should be about 37-38°C.

When the bath is ready, undress your baby. Cradle baby’s head and shoulders with your arm and support his body with the other. Gently lower baby into the water. Use one arm to hold your baby and the other hand to wash.

Bathing your baby

Wet a cotton wool ball or soft cloth. Gently wipe your baby’s eyes from inside to out. Use a new cotton wool ball or clean part of the cloth for each eye.

Gently wash your baby’s hair and head with water. Avoid using soap.  

Gently finish washing your baby.

Bathing your baby safely

Never leave your baby alone in the bath. Babies can drown quickly even in shallow water. Always finish the bath first before doing something else.

Be careful when taking your baby out of the bath because baby might be slippery.

Wash your baby at least twice a week in a bath. Clean babies are happy and healthy babies.

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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