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New Balance Sneakers for the entire family!

* This post is sponsored by Superbalist. It's the beginning of a new school year and the start of all kinds of extra-murals and sports for our crew... That means shoe shopping. More specifically, sneaker shopping! Growing feet need new trainers for netball, hockey,...

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#Momming101: Bath time with baby

by | Jun 20, 2018 | Baby's First Year, Just Motherhood | 30 comments

Remember when you were pregnant (maybe you are) and you went to prenatal classes… They would have that one class – demonstration day. The nurse would show you how to hold baby, nurse baby, sooth baby, change a diaper and even how to bath and dress baby. Viola! You know it all because obviously figuring out the basics would be the hardest part of parenting… What if we left the demos to YouTube and rather focused on the more challenging bits? Like what bath time with baby really looks like and how to go about establishing a good routine?

Let’s start in the hospital

Skin isn’t just skin. It’s our biggest (yet most neglected organ) and a baby’s skin differs a lot from our own. A baby’s skin actually continues to develop after birth, specifically it’s ability to act as a water barrier.

The inside of mom’s belly was pretty much a hydro spa and vernix came in handy, covering and insulating baby.bath time with baby

In case you were wondering: Vernix is the the waxy substance on baby’s skin after birth. Meant to protect and boost immunity.
Don’t be in a rush

We bathed Eliana 2 days after she was born. With Lia and Ava we waited for their skin to absorb every last bit of vernix massaging excess blobs into every inch of their perfect little bodies. So far both of them have far less skin issues than big sis Eli. It may just be luck of genes but we’ll never know… Your baby has nothing to loose by waiting a week or so for that first bath.

Tend to the belly button

One part that needs some extra care from day one… Baby’s umbilical cord. Don’t be scared. Baby can bath and go about being cute and adorable, just be sure to apply some surgical spirits to the wound after every nappy change. Also give it a minute to dry after bath time, once again applying surgical spirits.

Modern newborn disposable nappies have a little cut-out making sure not to let anything irritate the umbilical cord but if you’re using cloth or bamboo disposables; simply fold down the front making sure the umbilical cord is exposed. Never tuck or pull at the cord and don’t try removing dry blood. In time (usually 10 days) the cord will fall off on its own.

Eliana’s cord stuck around for a month, while Ava’s was gone by week 1. All normal and okay.

At home

Newborn babies don’t need to bath every, single day. Every other or third day will do. A simple top-and-tail, face-and-bum wash is all that’s needed for the 1st couple of weeks.

bath time with baby

Making things a little easier:
  • Find a time of day that works for YOU. If mornings are easier than evenings then it’s perfect. Just be sure your baby isn’t tired or hungry.
TOP TIP: At first we bathed our girls late at night, 9pm. Afterwards we’d have a quick cuddle and feed. Then we’d put them down by 10pm and enjoy at least 6 hours of sleep.
  • Have everything you’ll need set out and handy. You don’t want to rush off in the middle of bath time to fetch lotion or socks, leaving baby alone and potentially at risk.
  • Make sure the room or bathroom is warm and comfortable for baby closing windows and doors.
  • Bath water should be lukewarm (around 38-40°C). Use your elbow to feel or a bath thermometer. The water level should also be shallow about 5-10 cm for sitting babes or under baby’s arm when lying supported in your arm or a bath chair.
  • Wash baby’s body from top to bottom and from front to back.
  • Always end bath time with a cuddle making your little one feel safe and loved.

bath time with baby

We made Ava’s 1st bath a family affair and treasured memory letting the girls help dad.

Baby’s 1st bath

Step 1: Undress baby and wrap him / her in a blanket. Wipe baby’s eyes and face with damp cotton wool from the inside, out.

Step 2: Open-up the towel and cover baby’s body in baby wash or lotion. Slowly lower baby into the water, supporting his / her neck and body with one hand while washing with the other.

Remember: Wash in between every fold and roll. Especially in baby’s neck. You’ll be surprised to find traces of milk, spit-up and dribble.

Step 3: Wash baby’s hair gently.

Step 4: Take baby out of the water and press his / her body dry with a soft towel.

Step 5: Apply baby lotion to your little one’s body, massaging into the skin.

Step 6: Dress baby comfy and warm.

Bath time “hardware”

Essentials to consider:

  • baby bath  – The flexibath is so convenient when is comes to traveling and a practical space saver too. We bought ours 6 years ago from Kids Emporium.


  • baby bath chair and pillow – We used a chair for our girls during the first few weeks. Then moved onto a floating bath pillow. Ava loved the freedom of floating around in a big tub. Unrestrained, calm and relaxed kicking and splashing with her legs. Using a pillow made it possible for her to bath with her sisters and mommy too. The Easy Bath pillow was developed by a South African midwife and paediatric physiotherapist and they are manufactured as part of a community upliftment initiative by a disabled mom in an informal settlement in Gauteng. It can be used for premature and full term babies up to 9kg and easily stores away after bath time by hanging it onto a hook or the tap. It dries completely in 30 – 60 minutes. It is also fully machine washable.

Just a Mamma BATHbath time routine baby care Baby bath essentials babys 1st year bath time bath routine baby bedtime routine bedtime routine bedtime South African Blogger South Africa bath time hacks for baby parenting hacks making bath time fun for baby

  • baby bath ring – At 11 months a bath ring works best helping Ava sit upright and supported. These are readily available.

Just a Mamma BATH

  • a non-slip mat or stickers just to keep baby safe
  • some soft washcloths or sponges
  • a soft baby towel or two
  • baby wash and shampoo
  • baby skincare


More on skincare products

A baby’s skin loses moisture faster and also has a higher pH level. All of this makes their skin far more susceptible to dryness, irratation, nappy rash, infection and skin disease. That’s why it’s so important to take proper care of your little ones skin.

Never use adult skincare products on baby and definitely avoid
– antibacterial or sterilizing solution
– creams containing retinol
– glycerine soap
– exfoliating scrubs

Keep it simple and be wary of natural home remedies. Something like olive oil might seem harmless but it can actually cause irritation.

Also, remember not to prolong bath time unnecessarily. Water dehydrates skin. Be sure to wrap baby in a soft blanket moisturizer properly ASAP after they’ve gotten out of the water.

Our favourite products:

A couple of years ago we made a choice to “go green”. Opting for cloth diapers, bamboo disposables and organic skincare. Pure Beginnings has been our number one “go-to” baby brand when it comes to skincare.


During the 1st weeks of our girl’s lives we used the baby lotion as a body wash. The new Prodiotic range developed for babies with sensitive skins works really well too providing extra moisture and protection.

bath time with baby

You won’t find a better bum cream either and good news, it’s safe to use with cloth nappies. I keep a Mother Nature Products barrier balm close for that 1st few sticky, meconium nappies. It’s very similar to traditional petroleum jelly making everything wipe away from baby’s bottom easily.

bath time with baby

What if baby has eczema?

Sometime during those 1st few weeks most babies tend to develop eczema. Once again, this is nothing to worry about and just another hormonal side effect. The eczema shouldn’t need any special care or creams. It won’t cause discomfort or damage to baby’s skin. Everything should clear up naturally within a few weeks.

If eczema however seems to persist or become more aggressive other causes could be responsible.

Eliana has a very sensitive skin, especially during winter. Washing all our clothes and bedding with Woolite Sensitive makes a huge difference. I also cut out any clothing labels and tags that could cause irritation.

Sticking to natural fiber bedding and clothes when possible also help skin to breath.


Our best way to combat dry, sensitive skin has to be the Pure Primal Sensitive Babys Body balm. Nothing soothes, protect, heals and moisturises sore skin quite as effectively.

Seek medical attention is baby’s eczema worsens or becomes infected or causes pain.

Hair care for baby


Always wash hair last. Babies still struggle to regulate their body temperature and having wet hair can make them feel cold and uncomfortable. Hair also only needs to be washed once a week. Gently with special baby shampoo. Rinse off the shampoo by using a wet washcloth, slowly wiping away the foam / soap.

Cradle cap is very normal and a lot of babies experience scalp dryness due to hormones. Never try scratching. Wash babies hair less, apply a little bit of coconut oil overnight and lightly brush away the loose skin in the morning. This should only last for a few days. If the condition worsens or doesn’t seem to clear up consider consulting a doctor or pharmacist.

We love applying coconut oil to the girls hair from day one and we’ve never had any scalp worries.

Careful with the ears

Ears are actually self-cleaning and earwax shouldn’t be removed or cleaned out with an earbud. Use a damp wash cloth, piece of cotton wool or ear bud to softly wipe behind as well as the outside of baby’s ear making sure to remove any milk or drool that may have found it’s way there.


Also be careful, not letting water flood baby’s ears during bath time. Use our thumb and fingers to keep baby’s ears closed when letting water flow over baby’s head.

Clean eyes

You’ll only need to clean baby’s eyes if they are “dirty”. Once again a damp face cloth or piece of cotton wool works best. Be sure to wipe from the inside corner outwards removing any gunk or sleep accumulated.


Brushing those “teeth” or gums (and especially after solids)

Newborns don’t need any dental or mouth care. We used Jack n Jill Natural baby gum and tooth wipes from around 12 weeks, moving on to a Brushies finger puppet tooth brush as soon as those 1st pearly whites made their appearance.


Nowadays, at almost a year, we are using a baby tooth brush. The Jack n Jill soft baby tooth brush from Faithful to Nature is our preferred choice.


We’ve only ever used the Pure Beginning fluoride-free 0-3 years toothpaste. Twice a day, morning and evening.

A MINI mani / pedi

Those paper thin nails can be sharp, scratching baby easily. The best time to trim them would be when baby is sleeping. I like using nail scissors but baby nails clippers work just as well. You can also use a nail file.


Transitioning to bedtime

For younger babies bath time should be kept calm, quiet and relaxed. Playing soft music, dimming the lights and lighting a scented candle in lavender or vanilla will help your baby to unwind and prepare for bedtime.

Taking a bath will tire young ones so keep it brief and scoop baby into a soft, comfy towel hugging them close while wrapping them tightly. Deep touch pressure calms your little one so rather “press” baby dry with the towel instead of rubbing.


Baby Massage is a must (and needs an entire post of it’s own). For now, just know that it’s wonderful for baby and include developmental growth, calming, bonding and de-stressing benefits. Use a special massage oil or simply go for baby’s moisturiser if you’re in a rush.

bath time with baby

With a variety of options we once again enjoy using the Pure Beginnings Baby Massage and Bath Oil or just some organic coconut oil from our pantry.

Massaging baby’s entire body won’t happen in day one. It will take time for your little one to get use to the deep pressure and stimulation. Use contrast dangles from Little Interiors to distract baby if he / she finds it discomforting at first and go slow at baby’s pace.


Then just put on those pj’s. Nothing fancy needed. A good old body vest, socks and onesie should do. Our girls only sleep in natural fibers (cotton or bamboo) and we pile on the blankets and baby sleeping bags as needed.


Now we kick of the bedtime routine with a story and milk feed. We did an entire post dedicated to BABY SLEEP ESSENTIALS AND ESTABLISHING A GOOD BEDTIME ROUTINE. Click here to find out more.

What to do if baby hates bath time?

Eliana and Lia were water babies from birth. Ava took some time…


Wrapping her in a thin muslin blanket while bathing, only exposing the parts of her body as needed one-by-one, helped to keep her calm and made her feel safe. Over time Ava got use to bath time and now we can’t get her out of the water.


Chelsea Strachan recommends placing a warm washcloth on baby’s belly to help sooth them.

Gaelyn Cokayne started off by bathing their little girl in the kitchen sink, then a bucket on the kitchen table – no need to bend down and when their daughter was a little bigger they moved her onto an AngelCare bath seat.

Fellow mommy blogger, Pediatrics and Play dough shared a top tip worth a try – Bath baby in Rooibos tea for the first 6 months and  keep an eye out for “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate” on the ingredient list of baby-products as it breaks the skin barrier causing irritation and dryness.

A few mamas also recommend using the Swimava neck floats.

Remember to make it FUN!

After a few months most babies enjoy bath time. Soon enough all those watery screams will turn into splashes and giggles. See this as a special opportunity to bond with your little person, to play and teach them about their bodies and senses. As always we included a fun interactive picture book that we read to Ava in preparation of bath time. It gives her an idea of what to expect and she really enjoys “washing” all the animals.


Look into your little one’s eye, appreciating the perfect tiny person you get to hold in your hands. Talk to them about the different scents they smell while being washed and let them take a sniff. Wash them all over using different texture such as wash cloths, sponges and loofahs.

Introduce fun water toys that can squirt, float, sink, scoop, pour… It doesn’t have to be especially bought. Any plastic cup or container will do. We do however like to include a bath book or two and bubbles!


As soon as baby is old enough you can definitely add bubble bath. Not to much though. Young kids can easily be overwhelmed by bubbles and remember to hold on tight as things do tend to become even more slippery. We’ve tried a few brands of bubble bath and they all have something different about them but our favourite has to be the Pure Beginnings Fun Time Bubble Bath. It foams just as good as any on the market but won’t dry out your little one’s skin and obviously it doesn’t have any nasty chemicals either.


Make bath time a memory to treasure!

Top tip: This is a fantastic “job” for dad. In a lot of homes this is the only time during the day when dad is home, relaxed and able to spend time with his littles. It will also buy mom at least 30 -40 minutes to herself.

An extra for all the “green-moms”

Keep the tub 100% chemical free by using a “safe” detergent. The Mimu Baby Bathtime cleaner works really well keeping our bathroom sparkling clean.



Now for a little bath time with baby giveaway

Fellow #momboss brand MonaLisa Mamas and Easy Bath wants to make bath time with baby a little easier on one lucky mommy and her little. Win an easy bath pillow as well as a MonaLisa Mamas nursing pillow (and cover for when you’re out and about) PLUS some wonderful, surprise natural and organic baby bath time goodies to enjoy.


How to enter:

  1. Please leave a comment below telling us a little something about your own “bath time with baby” experiences and memories.
  2. You can also enter via social media,


3 ways of entering means you’ll triple your chances of winning!

Feel free to SHARE this post with all your fellow pregnant and mama friends too.



  1. Only entries via Instagram, Facebook and comments left below will be considered.
  2. Instagram and Facebook is in no way responsible or associated with this giveaway.
  3. Competition only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  4. Winner must be 18+ years old.
  5. Competition closes on the 30th of June 2018.
  6.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on the 2nd of July 2018. 
  7. This prize is not exchangeable or refundable.
  8. Please enter valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.
  9. The greatest care will be taken when mailing your prize but Just a Mamma and all parties involved in this giveaway do not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged goods.


PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison and West.

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  1. Kristin Hofmeyr

    Thank you for all that amazing information, it’s so helpful. I love your Momming 101 posts!
    My little boy spent his first 7 weeks of his life in the NICU, he was a tiny baby born at 1,1kgs (31 weeks prem) , and I remember his first bath I clearly. It was a few weeks into his stay, his nurse had shown us exactly how to hold him and wash him. Her experienced hands made it look so easy bathing his tiny body, and made me feel so nervous!
    He cried and cried until the moment I lowered him into the water, and he immediately became calm. It was so special. He loves the warm water, and now that he is the size of a newborn and so much easier to handle, we live our bath time! We also love using Pure Beginnings products, the smells are so lovely!
    I can’t wait for the fun interactive bathtimes ahead of us!

  2. Tenielle

    Thank you for this informative post 🙂 I don’t have any experiences to share yet as I’m currently pregnant with my first baby girl due in August and have been unsure on what bath option to use, but now I really like the flexibath idea as it seems so much more versatile, space saving and less back-breaking than the regular tub or commonly used baby bathtubs

  3. Nabila Akoo Arbee

    Many little girl loves bubble baths and that’s the only way to get her to bath these days! She unfortunately suffers from a mild eczema especially in winter so it’s quite a challenge fighting an almost 2 year old to leave her bubble bath everyday. Thank you for ur helpful and insightful post, I’m due any day with my 2nd baby and these tips are going to be super handy! We tend to forget how we did it the 1st time around.

  4. Lizanda Terblanche

    Hi Marie-Louise

    Hope all is well! Your family is gorgeous!! We are expecting our little one, but have been following your blog for a while! Especially excited about cloth nappies! Such an informative bathtime list, I have added the items onto my registry 🙂 I just always loved helping my aunts out with bathing their little ones when I was a child, can’t wait to spend this time with our little one!

    Love, Lizanda 🙂

  5. Jana Vorster

    I’m pregnant with our very first baby! Your 101 post are so helpful & honestly makes it all sound do-able. It’s taking away from the anxiety social media tends to cause 😀 Would LOVE to win a bath-time hamper for bab!

  6. Mareli Snyman

    Bath time with my little one is my favorite time of the day ? I love pampering and massaging her & the smell when she is clean & fresh ♥️

  7. Anmar

    Thank you so much for all that helpful information. Bath time with my little monster is my favourite time of the day. It’s the time where we can just sit and enjoy some one on one time. I actually also use Pure Beginnings, been using it on him since he was born. After a bath I massage his chunky little body that I love so much ?. Bath time is just my favourite time of the day?❤.

  8. Salome

    Sjoe, DANKIE!!! Ek het nog baie om te leer! Gelukkig ken ek justamamma…??

  9. Emma Churchyard

    We’re expecting our little one to arrive at the end of July, and this blog is super helpful to help us prepare for the bathtime routine! Definitely keen on all the natural products, as you say, our skin is our largest organ, and often neglected! Thank you for all the tips. ?

  10. Zeenats Carrim

    My baby is 8 months now…my first boy ….bath time was really funny when he was smaller as he would always make a wee too the bath, in the bath or after ??

  11. Liezel Vorster

    Our little baby boy loves bath time. We have a song we sing to him. With all the sweet giggles and gurgles bath time is a bonding time for dad as well since I am exclusively breastfeeding. This way, daddy gets to spend quality time with Dian.
    We will definitely incorporate baby massage now! ?

  12. Kamilah Francis

    Bath time is always giggles and kicking fun.Happy baby loves the water!

  13. Carri Page

    Bath time is our favorite part of the day and my lb just loves a good bubble bath. The more bubbles the better, and of course lots of splashing so the whole bathroom gets a wash too ? xxxxx

  14. Claudia

    Wow so many great tips thank you….baby #3 is coming on the 29th and I swear I have a bath the baby phobia… already stressing and worrying and shaking and this time there is no mommy in law or mom to help me through my I am frozen moments. I will never forget when I bought my first little dude home I was crying he was crying I was shaking he was crying some more and I just stood with him infront of the water and thought what now I froze, mom in law took him washed him showed me what to do and then the cord every time its like I got stuck in space thinking I need toto handle this tiny body I even now think how what when is it a fear I have to wash a baby and clean the cord with my little girl I kept thinking if u drop her your dead. She hated water so I decided to just bath with her everytime least I cant drop this tiny body and with her calmness I started relaxing more Hopefully I will be more relaxed this time round besides my kids are 12 and 6 still kicking lol I have bath rings pillows bath sucktion mats and and and…….. I think I am sorted Hubby is rescue drops ready 🙂 I read him every tip out loud just incase I spasm out xxxx

  15. Jenna-lea Kelland

    We have use a bucket for both of our newborn babes to bath in and they love it. (Ive just had my second child). Their body is completely surrounded by water, it’s warm and they can kick and swim around. Just their head is exposed. They feel more secure when surrounded by water and are upright. It’s also just so super cute to see their bodies move through the transparent tub. ❤️

  16. Taryn Willoughby

    This is such a good read, every tip helps. We are currently expecting baby number three, in 7 days I am due. Thos would be a awesome win for us and will help us alot.
    With my first born I had the assistance of my grandmother who believed only in natural products, and that’s what I used pure baby soap and coconut oil at that time I has just finished my diploma in cosmetology and one of my subjects were massage so I massaged her alot at Bath times it was peaceful and I loved the binding experience even my husband would join in. With our second born I continued with the same regime and products, he was a winter baby so a few adjustments were made at which time of the day to have bath time. This time around this post has given me so much more tips that I can include into bath time when our little joy arrives. Thank you for sharing your tips and advice.

    Fingers crossed for this win.

  17. Anusha Naidoo

    I absolutely loved reading this post, interesting and informative and enlightening.
    Bath time is made enjoyable with bubble bath and rubber toys.
    In this way having fun and getting cleaned at the same time.

  18. andrea bester

    Bath time is always a special time .Life is so busy with work etc so its where we just take a moment. It was very scary at the beginning -new mom-1st baby but we got into it. We didnt have a bath chair or pillow.So would make sure everything was there and ready to use. My baby loves the water so that made it easier. Also put a face cloth on her body that was open while washing her.

  19. Kate

    Toys, bath book and a non slip mat are my bath time essentials. My top tip is do as much in the nursery before bath as you can so that you can put baby straight in the bath when you get to the bathroom.

  20. Janel

    Bath time is the best? messy but fun anf once done we get in a good massage? its a time to bond and both my babies love water

  21. Mardo Baird

    Bath time is so special….mom/dad and baby one on one bonding time….super special. Love it

  22. Sofiah

    My little one loves his bath time, it’s his favourite time, he loves splashing in the water and kicking his feet about.

  23. emlyn THOMAS

    bath time is so pleasant♥️my baby cooperates with no problem…

  24. Ane Buchner

    Ons klein Sophia is nou amper 6 maande en badtyd is heerlike speeltyd saam met ouboet of ousus, hulle maak beurte om saam met baba-sussie te bad en te help! Dis so oulik om te sien hoe sy dit nou meer begin geniet, amper sterk genoeg om regoo te sit en mal daaroor om die water rond te spat… só oulik!
    Dankie vir al jou lekker raad. Vir ons met ‘n bietjie van ‘n laatlammetjie het dinge redelik verander sedert die vorige baba en dis veral lekker om te lees van al die nuwe lekker produkte op die mark.

  25. Ayesha

    Initially I felt scared and anxious about bath time as he was so tiny but as time went, it became so much fun

  26. Irfaan

    Bath time is my special bonding time with my baby, its daddy and baby time.

  27. Yvonne

    The info is great. I used to bath my precious baby boy in a cloth nappies, and he felt really safe. Now he love bath time. It relaxes him before sleepy time. And he and daddy plays games. Great bonding time!! PS That means mommy had a quick break to clean the kitchen and prepare for bedtime. Win Win!!

  28. Liane Pask

    What a great read – very informative as a first time mum to be! Thanks for the great advice and would love to win that hamper!

  29. Lanny

    My cousin recommended your website.

    You’re amazing! Thank you so much for all the advice and honest experiences!

    • Mari-Louise

      Thank you so much Lanny. This means so much.


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