How to Bathe a Baby

Bath time can be a wonderful, loving experience for both you and your baby. Here is some advice for approaching the task with common sense and confidence.

As long as you clean your baby's diaper area well after each bowel movement, washing every two or three days is plenty. You may want to spot-clean daily in areas that get particularly sweaty, oily or dirty: the diaper area, face, neck and skin creases.

Before you begin, make sure you have everything you need:

  • Washcloth
  • Mild soap
  • Baby shampoo
  • Cotton balls
  • Hooded towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Diaper
  • Clean clothes

Sponge Baths

A sponge bath is often the recommended way to cleanse your newborn's skin until the cord falls off. To give a sponge bath, find a bathing surface that is the right height for you, such as the kitchen counter. Line up all your supplies beforehand so you don't have to leave the baby unattended. To avoid giving your baby a chill, keep him covered as much as possible. Wash his top half first, keeping his other half wrapped in a towel. Then wash his bottom half, while keeping his top half covered.

Giving a Sponge Bath

1. Begin by washing your newborn baby's face with plain water, especially behind his ears and under his chin.

2. Wash your baby's chest, arms and hands, making sure to cleanse thoroughly between his fingers. If you use a mild soap and cotton ball or washcloth, rinse immediately to avoid drying or irritating the area.

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