Bathing is soothing to most babies as the water reminds them of being in their mother's womb. However, when babies are tiny, you don't need to bathe them and certainly not every day. Their skin is still forming and adjusting to being on the outside and so needs only simple, gentle care. To start with you can just wash baby's face, neck, hands and bottom. This is often called 'topping and tailing'.
From about four months, baby's skin has developed a functioning protective mantle and it is around this age that bathtime can really become fun. Choose a time when your baby is awake and happy and make sure that the room is warm and there are no draughts. You must never leave your baby or toddler alone in the bath, so gather all the things you will need beforehand and put them within reach. You can use your elbow to check the water temperature if you don't have a special bath thermometer - it should be about 37°C, which is about the same as body temperature and best suited for baby. A careful dipping of their feet or the bottom first helps them to get used to the water.
For tiny babies, put your left arm under baby's neck and gently hold around their shoulder and arm with your left hand - the back of baby's head should feel supported and secure on your forearm. With your free hand you can then wash baby.
For larger children, the bathing water should not reach higher than their waist and babies can feel more comfortable when they can touch the end of the bathtub with their feet. It is important that baby doesn't get too cold. Five to eight minutes is normally long enough in the bath as you don't want the water to cool down too much and since the head loses a lot of heat, only wet their hair towards the end. After the bath wrap your little one up in a warm towel and gently dry. Now is the perfect time for a lovely cuddle followed perhaps by a massage with a soothing body oil such as Weleda Calendula Baby Oil or Dr.Hauschka Rose Body Oil.