Most new parents have barely held a newborn, let alone bathed one.

Caring for a baby involves a whole new skill set that you’ll be learning on the job once bub arrives and that includes mastering bath time.

Baths don’t have to be every day, but it’s often a nice routine for just before bed at night. You’ll probably feel a bit nervous the first few times but, with a bit of practice and some moral suppot, you’ll soon get the hang of it.

To start, gather everything you’ll need including two towels, clean nappies, clothes, cotton wool/ face washer and bath wash. You may also need mositurising lotion and nappy cream.

Step-by-step guide to baby bath time

1. Use a jug to pour cold water into the baby bath, then add hot water and mix it about. Test the temperature with your elbow or wrist. The water should feel warm but not too hot. If you have a bath thermometer, aim for a temperature of 37C.

Before bathing your bub, be sure to grab everything you need beforehand including towels, a change of clothes and a nappy.

2. Undress you baby, leaving the nappy on, and swaddle or wrap her in a towel. Wash her face with damp cotton wool or a face washer, then pat dry.

Keep her swaddled in the towel and, tucking her under one arm with your hand supporting the back of her neck, hold her over the bath to wash her head. Use your free hand to wet her head or use a face washer.

You can use a baby bath wash or baby shampoo but just be mindful of the products that come in contact with your baby’s skin. As your baby’s skin is much more vulnerable, choose products that are mild and gentle, like the Cetaphil Baby range which is now officially endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives.

Lie her down on the bend, table or floor and use the second towel to gently dry her head. Then unwrap the towel around her body and remove her nappy.

You’ll probably feel a bit nervous the first few times you bathe your baby but you’ll soon get the hang of it.

3. To pick her up and put her into the bath if you’re right-handed, position yourself at your baby’s side so her head is to your left. Cradle her neck and shoulders in your left hand, with your arm positioned so the back of her neck is resting on the inside of your wrist. Hold her left upper arm with your thumb and index finger. The palm of your right hand will be supporting her bottom, with her feet resting on your forearm. Life and gently place her in the bath. Once she’s in, keep supporting her head and neck with your left hand, as she will not be able to sit up or support her neck herself.

4. Use your free hand to rinse or splash off any soap. When you’re ready, lift your baby out of the bath the same way you put her in. Make sure you keep a firm hold on her as she’ll be slippery.

5. Use the towel to dry her well, especially around the ears, between her fingers and toes, underneath her arms and chin and in the groin area. If her skin is dry or red, rub in a suitable moisturising cream. Apply nappy cream onto her bottom to soothe and prevent nappy rash, then put on a fresh nappy and dress her in clean clothes.