Baby Bath Essentials List: What Equipment Do You Need When Bathing a Baby?

Baby Bath Essentials List: What Equipment Do You Need When Bathing a Baby?

Must have equipment & accessories for baby’s bath time

It can be a daunting task bathing your baby for the first time, but the good news is there aren’t that many items on your baby bath essentials list.

You don’t need much equipment, accessories or products to safely and comfortably bathe your newborn, but there are some baby bath supplies that make life easier.

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Firstly, you need to decide what you are going to bathe your newborn baby ‘in’, and a baby bath tub of some description should be on your list of baby bath time ‘must haves’.

You have several options to choose from.

Baby bathing essentials: Items needed for your baby's bath

1. Baby bath tub

Baby bath tubs are a popular choice and come in lots of different styles, shapes and sizes. A well chosen bath tub helps you bathe your baby safely without a second pair of hands.

Look for a bath tub that has a supportive, non-slip seat and a comfortable headrest. It should be lightweight and easy to carry, and have a plug to drain the water easily.

Check out the Nuby Newborn Baby Bath with Built in Anti-Slip Support and Soft Headrest, which is suitable from newborn.

You may wish to place an anti-slip mat or towel in the bottom of the bath, if you have a more basic bath tub.

You can use the bath tub inside your main bath or shower, which makes it easier to fill and drain. Or you can place the tub on the floor, but you may need to lift it for draining when it is full of water.

2. Baby bath support seat

Usually made from plastic, flexible mesh, sponge or soft fabric, a baby bath support seat cradles your baby in the main bath while you wash them. Suitable for newborns and babies that are unable to sit up, the contoured, chair-shaped design stops tiny infants slipping about.

Look for a bath support seat that is comfortable, sturdy and non-slip, and if you opt for a fabric sling-shaped design, make sure it is mould resistant and machine washable.

The bestselling Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support provides optimal support, comfort and safety at bath time.

3. Kitchen sink or basin

It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but the kitchen sink, bathroom basin or a washing up bowl will suffice for newborns because they are so tiny.

For comfort and to avoid slipping, line the bottom of the sink or bowl with a soft sink insert or towel. You may need to wrap a towel around the taps for safety.

Using a sink saves you leaning over, which is easier if you are sore from a C-section, and it will also be more comfortable for your back.

The downside is the kitchen sink and washing up bowl are generally used for washing up, so they may need scrubbing and disinfecting each time you bathe your baby!

4. Baby changing unit with bath tub

If you want to splash the cash, you can invest in a baby changing unit with a bath tub included, such as the Babylo Smart Changer with Bath Unit. This is a nice addition to any nursery, and the underneath storage area keeps everything you need for changing and bathing neatly organised.

Look for a lightweight changing unit on wheels with a drainage system. This makes it easier to transport the unit and drain the water.

On the downside, changing stations are relatively expensive and surplus to requirements within a couple of years, so you should ask yourself if the cost is really worth it.

5. Main family bath

You can use your main family bath without an additional bath support. But you may find it awkward leaning over the bath while trying to support and wash your slippery tiny baby. And you will probably get a sore back!

If you do use the main bath, use a soft rubber anti-slip bath mat with suction cups to help stop your baby from slipping about. 

You could try sharing a bath with your baby, but be mindful of what you add to the bathwater. For example, your usual bubble bath may not be suitable for your baby’s delicate skin.

You may wish to wait until your baby is sitting up confidently before you start using the main bath with no supportive seating. Then your little one can sit in there safely splashing about in bubbles and playing with toys.

6. Swivel bath seat

Your baby can safely use a swivel bath seat once they can sit unaided (about six months old) and before they can stand (around 12 months). Suction pads secure the seat to the bottom of the bath and the swivel design enables you to wash your baby easily.

It may be a bit of a challenge getting your baby in and out of the seat, but it will keep them secure if they want to sit and play in the bath.

7. Inflatable baby bath

An inflatable baby bath is useful once your baby can sit up well on their own. Padded and comfortable, it gives plenty of room to splash about and have fun if you’re not quite ready to use the main bath.

You can use an inflatable baby bath in the bath or in a standalone shower.

Easily deflated, this type of bath is easy to store, transportable and ideal for taking on holiday or short breaks away.

What equipment do you need when bathing a baby?

Alongside an actual baby bath, there is some equipment and a few baby bath products you need to assemble before you begin bathing your baby.

It is a good idea to ensure you have all your baby bath items within easy reach before you start the bath. You don’t want to find you are missing some important baby bath stuff when you have a slippery baby in your hands.

Before you begin, make sure the room is warm with no drafts, and ensure you have the following baby bath supplies to hand:

1. A changing mat

You will need a changing mat (or comfy towel) to lay your baby on before bathing, while you remove the nappy and clothing.

You can dry your baby on your lap after the bath, but you may prefer to lay them down on the mat.

2. Cotton wool pads and/or baby wipes

Use baby wipes, or cotton wool and warm water to clean your baby’s bottom area before the bath.

You may find large size cotton wool pads are easier to use than cotton wool balls. You need less of them and they don’t leave loose fibres behind on the skin.

3. Flannels or sponges

Buy a pack of soft cotton flannels or a couple of soft foam sponges to wash your baby’s face, body and scalp. Alternatively you can just use your hand to gently splash and rub water over them, which may be easier when your baby is very tiny.

4. Soft towels

You will need a nice soft towel to wrap the baby in after the bath. A hooded baby bath towel will keep your baby warm and cosy from head to toe while you dry.

Consider buying a pack of three towels so that you can have one in use, one in the wash, and a spare one in the cupboard.

5. Clean nappy & clothes

Make sure you have a clean nappy, a vest and a sleepsuit to hand so you can dress your baby straight after. You don’t want to to be rummaging around looking for a nappy and clothes with a baby in your arms wrapped in a towel!

6. Soap, shampoo & other bath products

When can you use bath products on a baby?

According to NHS inform, you should only use plain water for newborn babies. You can start to introduce baby bath suitable for newborns from about 4-6 weeks.

When you introduce soap, shampoo and baby bath, ensure they are mild and gentle, and specially formulated for newborn babies. Don’t be tempted to use your own regular toiletries, because they may damage your baby’s delicate skin.

You can also add a suitable emollient to the water to help soften and protect dry skin. Look for an emollient that doubles up as a bubble bath.

7. Baby lotion

You don’t have to use any special creams or oils on your baby after you have dried them. If their skin appears dry and flaky, use a gentle and mild lotion specially made for infants.

8. Barrier cream

If your baby has a nappy rash, apply a thin layer of nappy care ointment to treat it before you put the nappy on. You can also use it as a preventative measure.

Baby bathing accessories

There are some baby bath accessories that can help bath time run more safely and smoothly, but they are not strictly necessary.

These include:

1. Bath thermometer

Bath water needs to be comfortably warm, around 37 degrees C, and not too hot or too cold. Test the water temperature with your elbow or the inside of your wrist.

But if you are not confident about doing this, use a thermometer for peace of mind. The Baby Safe Floating Giraffe Bath Thermometer is cheap and cheerful and hugely popular!

2. Shampoo rinse jug

You may find it difficult to rinse soap from your baby’s body and hair with just your hand. A shampoo hair wash jug will help you get the job done easily (an ordinary jug will suffice).

3. Baby bath visor/shower cap

Save yourself the worry of accidentally getting water or shampoo in your baby’s face and eyes. Look for a flexible, comfortable cap that can be adjusted as your baby’s head grows.

4. Bathwater barrier

If you are using the main bath on its own, you may be worried about the amount of water you are using to bathe your tiny newborn.

You can solve this problem with a bathwater barrier such as the BabyDam Bath Barrier. This sections off the bath so you don’t have to fill the whole thing, saving litres of water, energy and time filling it.

5. Bath spout safety guard

Cover your bath tap with a soft spout cover to prevent painful head bumps during bath time. Look for a soft silicone spout cover that fits most spouts.

6. Bath kneeler

If you’re kneeling to bath your baby, your knees will know about it. You can buy a water-resistant anti-slip kneeling pad to support your knees and back. It’s not essential, you could just kneel on an ordinary cushion. 

7. Bath toys

Newborns have little use for bath toys, but after a while you can introduce toys to make the experience more fun. Along with traditional rubber ducks and floating plastic boats, you can get stacking cups for scooping and pouring water, toys that blow bubbles and squirt water, and wind-up swimming animals.

You will need somewhere to store the many toys you will inevitably accumulate. A wall-mountable bath toy holder keeps them out of the way when not in use.

8. Grooming kit

Grooming kits for babies contain the important miniature-sized accessories you might want to use at bath time.

A grooming kit contains grooming and healthcare accessories such as a soft hairbrush and comb, nail scissors, nail clippers, nail files, digital thermometer, nasal aspirator and other useful little items.

The Tommee Tippee Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit is insanely popular and comes neatly stored in a compact carry case.

9. Top and tail bowl

You may wish to wait until you are confident handling your baby before you give the first bath. Until then, daily ‘topping and tailing’ will suffice.

You don’t have to bathe your baby every day; a  top and tail bowl is useful for quick washes in between baths.

So how often should you bathe a baby? it’s really up to you, but generally, 2-3 times per week is enough.

Baby bath essentials checklist

Bathing a slippery little baby can be a pretty nerve wracking experience, especially in the early weeks and months before they can hold their head up or sit up by themselves. And it makes things worse if they hate their baths!

The basic supplies you need to bathe a baby, and the accessories that can make the whole process easier, include:

  • baby bath or bath seat
  • anti-slip mat or sink insert
  • thermometer
  • soft flannel or sponge
  • mild, pH-neutral all-over soap/liquid and shampoo suitable for newborns (not essential in the early weeks)
  • rinsing jug
  • bath visor
  • clean soft towel
  • padded changing mat
  • nappy cream
  • baby oil or lotion
  • clean nappy, vest and sleep suit
  • bath spout safety guard
  • bath kneeler
  • a few bath toys
  • top and tail bowl

With your list of baby bath essentials to hand, bath time with your baby will hopefully be an enjoyable one.

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Baby bath essentials all the equipment you need