Are Baby Towels Necessary?

baby in a bath towel

My son really likes snuggling in his warm baby towel after he’s had a bath. It has a little hood to help dry his hair and to keep his head warm. But are baby towels really necessary? Can’t you just use a regular towel? Let’s look at this topic in more detail.

Are baby towels necessary?

They aren’t a necessary purchase, like a bassinet or stroller, but they are useful. Baby towels can make bathing your child easier because they are designed specifically for their size. They make it easier to wrap up your baby when you take them out of the bath, so you won’t need to fold over a cumbersome adult towel.

The best ones also outperform ordinary towels as they stay fluffy and absorbent after a lot of washes. This is a real advantage as babies have such sensitive skin. Detergents and fabric conditioners can be very irritating to new skin, so sourcing very soft, absorbent towels that won’t dry hard and stiff without fabric softener is an important consideration. According to the veteran popular science magazine Scientific American,

‘both conventional dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners …contain chemicals known to be toxic to people after sustained exposure.’

Fabric softeners are also known to reduce the absorbency of towels anyway, so you will want to avoid them.

What is the best material for a baby towel?

No one wants to dry their baby with towels that feel like sandpaper or in fluffy fragranced towels that are potentially harmful to their health. Choosing the right towels for your baby can avoid this dilemma. Go for bamboo or cotton, ideally organic, to benefit their skin. Both fabrics are known to be very soft, absorbent and hypo-allergenic. Bamboo is also anti-bacterial, super-absorbent, very fast drying and stays very soft after repeated washes – just like those favourite bamboo socks of yours!

Bamboo Hooded Baby Towel

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Hypo-allergenic microfibre is another good choice, as it’s also lightweight and highly absorbent. If you prefer to buy cotton, some cotton baby towels also boast of being ‘no twist’ which just means they are very lightweight while remaining fluffed up and feeling thick after lots of use, a great idea especially for hooded towels to avoid unnecessary weight on your baby’s head and neck when wet.

How many baby towels do you need?

The quantity of baby towels you will want largely depends on how often you do your laundry and how often you bath your baby. Babies with very sensitive skin or eczema are often advised to avoid a daily bath so they would need fewer towels. However, on average, two might be a good number to take the pressure off your laundry pile. If you opt for the heavier weight, higher thread count of luxury baby towels, they will need more drying time- so you may need more than two or three.

How often should you change a baby towel?

There is no need to wash your baby’s towel after every bath, as you are only using it when they are all clean. As a rule of thumb, after three or four uses is probably more than adequate.The anti-bacterial properties of bamboo may also be an advantage here.

Why do babies use hooded towels?

Hoods can be a useful feature to keep the baby’s head warm when their hair is wet. They can also help to dry their hair straight away. The hooded towel may also give babies that extra sense of security that they gain from being ‘swaddled’. If bath-time is comfortable and cosy, warm and fun, babies are more likely to enjoy them. If your baby is happy, it also gives you time to hug them, tickle their toes and bond more.

Are all baby towels hooded?

Not all baby towels are hooded. You can still dry your baby’s hair with an ordinary towel by gently dabbing it dry. It is important to dry a baby quickly after a bath as they are unable to regulate their own body temperatures.

How do you use a hooded towel with a baby?

Hooded towels come in a wide variety of styles with hoods positioned on a corner, on the vertical, on the horizontal or as an attachment.  It’s your personal choice what you find easier to use. The hood needs to be loose enough not to pull the baby’s head back and small enough not to cover their eyes. Here’s how you can use a hooded towel:

  1. Before you start to bath your baby, have everything you need ready.
  2. Place your baby towel on the floor or change mat so you can scoop up your little one and seamlessly place them on the towel ready to be wrapped up and patted dry.
  3. Place the hood in the most natural position for you to easily place your baby’s head.

How many hooded towels do you need?

Two would work well, again depending on how often you do laundry and how often you bath your baby. Price is another consideration as some hooded towels in the top end of the market are quite expensive. If you plan to have more children or want to pass them on to friends later, you will also want to think about the quality of the material.

How long do babies use hooded towels?

Hooded baby towels come in different sizes. Some larger ones are suitable for newborns right up to the age of three. Although you will want to get the most from your purchase, you need to bear in mind that one of the advantages of buying a baby towel is that their size is specific to the age of your child. Therefore, if you buy too big, you will lose one of their advantages.

What size is a hooded baby towel?

Each manufacturer sells different sizes of hooded towels:  Newborns, 0 – 3 years, One Size, Small, Medium or Large. Therefore, you may need to measure out the dimensions to really get a sense of what 76cm x76cm may look like! If your newborn is small, opt for an easy-to-use newborn towel. If you have a big baby, you may want to think about a more versatile option that will last you longer.

Can you use normal towels for a baby?

Of course you can use normal towels on a baby. Most likely when you were a baby you were almost definitely dried in normal towels. If you do opt to use a regular one, you must take greater care. Prepare the towel so it is folded up to a more suitable size, and make sure it’s not scratchy and stiff by avoiding conventional fabric softeners. You can always try an eco-friendly fabric conditioner instead, or go really green and just add bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar into the fabric conditioner drawer.

Both products are cheap, easy to get hold of, kind on your baby’s skin when used correctly and great for the planet and your washing machine- especially if you are in a hard water area. Cleanipedia has some good advice and tips on the subject.

What kind of towels should I use for my baby?

If your budget can stretch, invest in baby towels, hooded or not, and make that bath-time with your baby as stress-free, cosy and fun as you can. Opt for cotton, bamboo or microfibre and check that the design is something you and your baby will find the easiest to use. A happy bath-time makes everyone happy!

are baby towels necessary