My Japanese wife was told to bath my 1 week old son every day due to the hot humid summer in Japan even though we run air conditioning most of the time. But he cries right through bath time with warm water. What can we do to make it better?

  • 6
    Just a comment because it doesn't answer the question: A washcloth will suffice, safe yourself the hassle. This appears to be much more about culture than hygiene. Back when I was a baby, it was bathtime every day, today recommendations are "only once or twice a week or if baby is really dirty" to protect the delicate skin. (I'm in Germany)
    – Stephie
    Aug 5, 2015 at 4:46
  • 3
    Related, as the frequency might be the cause of the discomfort: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/1812/…
    – Erik
    Aug 5, 2015 at 5:12
  • @Stephie With our recent son we were advised once a week sponge bath. With our last every day. Difference of about 2 years and 200 miles (in the US). So, it seems like a lot of variety!
    – user11394
    Aug 5, 2015 at 5:48

4 Answers 4

  1. Timing.
    A hungry, cranky or tired baby won't like bathtime - because it will hate almost everything besides what fulfills his current needs and desires. You need to catch the rare awake and alert window.
  2. Temperature.
    It's not only the temperature of the water (and some babies have their individual preferences, one of mine liked it warmer, one cooler), but also the getting into and out of the tub - some hate undressing and the part when the air hits wet skin.
  3. Position.
    Some babies detest the position, use something like a Tummy Tub (or frankly, any other largeish bucket), see the linked video on how to use them. I have even "bathed" one of mine laying on his tummy on my hand under the faucet. A good position for those "soiled diaper leaking upwards" accidents...

Generally speaking, bathe rarely, avoid soap etc. and don't bathe before the navel is healed. A washcloth will do for all but the really dirty cases. For really, really temperature-sensitive babies, you can even half-undress them (e.g. top or bottom half) to wash, then do the other half.

Some parents even bathe with their babies because they feel safer in their arms or on their tummy. But baby-temperature feels rather cool to us grownups... And you need a second helper unless you plan on standing there dripping and shivering while you towel off and dress your baby ^_^

  • He is really good otherwise only crying for food and dirty nappies and in a good sleeping pattern. My wife only bathes him during his wakeful non-needy period- she is in some pain but likes the control. Aug 5, 2015 at 10:25
  • Warmer water stopped him crying. Aug 9, 2015 at 8:43
  • @user2617804 Oh, good news! Babies are little individualists - albeit with limited vocabulary ^_^
    – Stephie
    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:57
  • +1 for the Tummy Tub (a large bucket will also do). One of my sons hated bathtime also, until we started using a Tummy Tub. Then he suddely liked it :-) Aug 11, 2015 at 14:30

Use two washcloths - one to wash him with, and get the other wet and use it to cover whatever part of his body you aren't washing. This helps keep the baby from feeling cold where the air hits his wet skin. Every so often, re-wet the washcloth so it stays warm.

This worked wonders with keeping our newborn daughter happy during her bath.


I used to bath with my little one and that worked wonderfully. She hated bathing on her own and we weren't the best at bathing her without being in the bath with her. win win!


Not sure if this is any help, but I've been washing our daughter (now 3 months old) in the shower more or less since birth, and she loves it -- and I love it too, but I love every single moment with her anyway. I had never considered doing this, but our 'maternity carer' (kraamzorg, Dutch) suggested it. You might want to consider it.

Of course, be very careful.

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