For the first few weeks of your newborn baby’s life, they should be bathed with a sponge or washcloth. This is the simplest and safest way to clean your baby until the umbilical cord falls off. A sponge bath is also a great way to wash only one area or your baby’s body without getting them soaking wet. Your baby’s first few baths may seem a little daunting. We are here to ease the process with a step-by-step guide on how to bathe your newborn baby.
How to Sponge Bathe a Newborn Baby
Step 1: Gather your supplies. Before starting the sponge bath, prepare everything you need so it is easily within reach. Make sure the room is warm enough to keep your baby comfortable. Get the following items together:
- Clean diaper
- Baby towel
- Padding such as a blanket or towel for hard surfaces
- Bowl of lukewarm water
- Mild baby soap
Step 2: Remove your baby’s diaper and clothes and wrap them in a towel. Lay your baby on a flat surface. Ideally, this will be on a changing table, alternatively on a waterproof baby mat located on the floor or your bed. If your baby is off the ground, be extra careful to always keep one hand on them or use a safety strap to prevent her from falling.
Step 3: Unwrap the towel a little bit at a time to only expose the area of the body that you are washing. You will start with the top of their head and face. Dip the washcloth in lukewarm water. Don’t use any soap to avoid getting it in their eyes or mouth. Wipe the top of your baby’s head and carefully around the outer ears, cheeks, chin, neck, and eyes.
Step 4: Add just a drop or two of soap into the water. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and squeeze it out so it is not too wet. Use the soapy cloth to clean the rest of your baby’s body, under arms, and end with the diaper area.
Step 5: Dry your clean baby off with a soft towel and put on a clean diaper. Using a towel with a hood is a great way to keep their head warm while they dry off and their diaper put on.
Tip: If your newborn baby has been circumcised, follow instructions from your doctor carefully for keeping the area clean and dry until it has healed. This may take about one week.
How to Bathe a Newborn Using a Baby Bathtub
Use a baby bathtub to bathe your newborn after the umbilical cord falls off. Get all the supplies ready as well as the best baby shampoo since you’ll be washing their scalp as well.
Step 1: Fill the baby bathtub with two to three inches of lukewarm water. You may be able to place the baby bathtub inside a regular bath or sink for ease of use.
Step 2: Place your baby in the water after undressing them to prevent them from getting cold. Always use one hand to support your baby’s head. Use the other hand to place their feet first into the tub. Their head and neck should always be well above water for safety.
Step 3: To keep your baby warm in the tub, you can gently splash lukewarm water over their body. Use a washcloth to clean their face and baby shampoo to wash their scalp one to two times weekly. Wash the rest of the body from the top down with warm water and a wet washcloth.
Step 4: Gently lift your baby out of the baby bathtub and pat them dry with a towel. Time for their clean diaper and some warm clothes!
Never leave a baby unattended, especially in the tub. Always make sure you are securely supporting your baby for every second throughout the bathing process.