How To Wash Baby Hair: A Step By Step Guide

Bathing your newborn’s hair for the first time can cause a lot of anxiety for new parents.

Whether you decide to brave hair care on the first bath or wait for a little, this guide has everything you need to be a hair washing pro!

Let’s get to it.

How Often Should I Wash My Baby’s Hair?

It depends on how much hair they have. Some babies are born with a full head of hair and others can be virtually bald.

Even if your bub doesn’t have much hair it’s still important to care for your baby’s scalp.

The best way to do this is by using a wet washcloth to gently wipe over your baby’s head at bath time.

Plain water is sufficient for this until your little one gets some baby hair.

If your baby has lots of hair then washing it a couple of times a week will keep it clean.

You may be able to use plain water for newborn hair, however, if your baby’s hair gets greasy or sweaty a small amount of mild baby shampoo will help.

What Shampoo Should I Use To Wash My Baby’s Hair?

You should use mild shampoo designed for use on a baby’s sensitive skin.

Adult shampoos contain sulfates which are too harsh for an infant’s hair and will really sting if they come into contact with your baby’s eyes.

Aim for a natural baby shampoo with a pH of around 5.5.

You can also use shampoo as a body wash to clean your baby’s body.

Frequent shampooing can strip delicate hair of its natural oils causing your baby’s locks to become frizzy.

Unless your baby’s hair becomes dirty it is recommended not to use shampoo for the first month, and not to use heavily scented products for the first year.

What Will I Need To Wash My Baby’s Hair?

Have everything prepared before you wash your baby’s hair.

A baby cannot be left unattended in the bath for even a second, so everything needs to be close at hand.

You will need:

  • Baby bathtub (You can also bath your baby in the sink if you do not have one of these)
  • A small amount of baby shampoo if your baby has a lot of hair
  • A clean nappy and fresh clothes
  • A soft towel (hooded is best)

It is also important to ensure the room where you will bathe your baby is nice and warm to prevent them from getting cold.

How To Check The Water Is The Correct Temperature

A baby’s skin is very sensitive and it is essential you get the water temperature correct.

Hot water that is safe for you may damage your baby’s delicate skin and cold water could cause your baby’s body temperature to drop too low.

The bath water should be between 98 °F (37 °C) and 100 °F (38 °C). You can use a bath thermometer to check this.

If you don’t have a thermometer available use your or wrist or elbow, the water should feel comfortably warm.

Mix it well to ensure there are no hot patches.

How To Top And Tail Your Baby

Before the bath, you should top and tail your baby. This avoids your baby sitting in, or worst case, ingesting dirty water.

1) Prepare a small bowl of warm water and some cotton wool balls

2) Take a ball of cotton wool, dampen it and wipe your baby’s face from the nose outwards. Use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye to avoid spreading any infection

3) Next use the damp cotton wool to clean your baby’s genital area first and then the bottom.

Your baby is now ready for a bath.

It’s a good idea to top and tail your baby every day regardless of if you bathe them that frequently.

You can incorporate it into either your baby’s first nappy change in the morning or last thing at bedtime.

How To Wash Your Baby’s Hair

Once you have top and tailed your baby and had fun playing in the bath it’s time to wash that hair!

  1. Position your baby
    • Hold your baby’s head securely in the crook of your arm or palm of your hand
  2. Rinse first
    • Tilt your baby’s head back and use a washcloth in your free hand to gently wet your baby’s hair
  3. Add shampoo if needed
    • Add a few drops of mild baby shampoo to your baby’s head and massage gently in a circular motion. be careful not to let any shampoo run into your baby’s face
  4. Rinse the front of your baby’s head
    • Use a washcloth to rinse the shampoo from the front part of your baby’s head
  5. Rinse the back of your baby’s head
    • Use a small cup or your hand to pour water over the back of your baby’s head and rinse off the remaining shampoo
  6. Remove excess water
    • Wipe your hand over your baby’s hair to remove excess water

How To Dry Your Baby’s Hair

Wet hair can cause a baby to become cold very quickly so it’s important to dry it well.

Wrap your baby up in a hooded towel after their bath, to prevent their head from getting cold.

It is best to gently pat the hair, rather than rubbing it dry.

Don’t forget behind your baby’s ears and in the skin folds of the neck, underarm, and genitals when drying the rest of your baby.

If your baby has long hair use a soft brush to smooth out any tangles.

Once fully dry apply a fresh nappy and clean clothes to your baby to finish the bath.

I hope you had a good time bathing and bonding with your new baby. If you found this helpful please share it.


Should I Wash My Baby’s Hair If They Have Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap or Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by too much skin oil and a yeast called malasezzia which is normally present on skin. It is usually non painful, however the yellowy brown scales and skin flakes can look unsightly. There is no cure for cradle cap and it usually resolves on it’s own within a few months. Paedatricians recommend frequent washing to remove excess oil and soaking in a bath is a great way to remove the scales.

What Happens If I Get Shampoo In My Baby’s Eyes?

Getting soap or shampoo in your eyes may burn or sting. If you get shampoo in your baby’s eyes they will most likely cry and close their eyes. Take a washcloth and carefully wipe away the soapy water. Repeat this process until all the shampoo has been rinsed away and your baby starts to open their eyes again.

Can I Wash My Baby’s Soft Spot?

A soft spot on a baby’s head is caused by bones in the skull that have not properly fused yet to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. Although you must be gentle the soft spots are covered with a thick membrane under the skin and it is safe to wash and clean the area.

Will Washing My Baby’s Hair Cause A Bald Spot?

No, washing your baby’s hair does not cause hair loss. Newborn babies spend a lot of time lying on their back and this can cause a bald spot on the back of their head. Try increasing your baby’s tummy time if you notice this

Categorized as Baby