How to bathe your baby

Getting Ready:

  • Be sure your baby is well-fed and calm before his or her bath. Pick a time of day when he or she is relaxed.
  • Use a sponge bath until your baby's umbilical cord falls off.
  • Select a room that is warm and draft-free. You can use a kitchen sink, wash basin or baby tub.
  • For small babies, place a towel in the bottom of the sink or tub, so he or she doesn't slip.
  • Be prepared. Have bathing supplies, baby's clothes and towels ready ahead of time and keep the phone within arm's reach.
  • Never leave the room for any reason while giving your baby a bath.
  • Test bath water temperature on the inside of your wrist. Water should feel warm and comfortable to you.

Get Started:

  • Undress your baby. Holding securely, reach around his back and under the opposite arm, always keeping a firm grip on him as you lower into the bath. If your baby still doesn't have good head control, be sure to support the neck and head. Keep hold of your baby during the entire bath.
  • Talk to your baby or sing him or her a song. Make bathtime fun!

Cleaning Up:

  • Use gentle soap and/or shampoo.
  • Always start out washing your baby's face with a soft washcloth -- one area at a time -- move down the body and end with the hair. (A great deal of body heat is lost through the head so is best saved for last.)
  • Before washing baby's hair bundle him or her in a towel.
  • To shampoo your baby's hair, hold him or her in your arms like a football. Use a warm, wet washcloth to dampen hair. Gently wash hair and rinse carefully to avoid getting soap in your baby's eyes.

Fine Tuning:

  • Cover baby's head with a towel as soon as you are done washing the hair.
  • If your baby's umbilical stump gets wet by mistake, dab rubbing alcohol on it after the bath.

Talk with Other Parents:

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