How to Bathe a Baby

Tips for Cord Care

  • To prevent infection and speed the drying of the cord, some healthcare professionals suggest cleaning around the cord with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol several times a day.
  • To avoid irritation, don't cover the area with a diaper or plastic pants. Fold the diaper over and away from the cord area.
  • Continue this hygiene for a few days after the cord has fallen off completely. Don't be surprised if you see a few drops of blood the day the cord falls off. This is normal.
  • As the cord falls off, the center may look yellow. But if it has a puslike discharge or an offensive odor, or if the area is hot, red and swollen, call your baby's doctor.

Giving a Tub Bath

1. You might find it easier to wash your baby's hair before putting her into the tub. First, hold your baby in a football hold and squeeze a little water on top of her head with a washcloth. Then, apply a dab of baby shampoo (a no-tears formula) and gently massage the scalp. Remove all traces of the shampoo with a washcloth dipped in warm water. Dry gently but thoroughly so your baby won't feel chilled.

2. To lower your baby into the bath, support her shoulders with one hand and her legs or bottom with the other. Even if she cries-and she probably will the first few times-keep talking to her as you place her gently and confidently into the tub. (Make those early baths quick if your baby seems upset.

3. As you bathe your baby, keep one hand under her armpit so that her head stays out of the water, and use your other hand to wash, then rinse, the front of her body.

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