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baby's first sponge bath

For the first few weeks of your baby's life, a sponge bath is all he really needs. In fact, until the umbilical cord falls off and a circumcision, if any, heals - between 10 and 21 days - it's the best way to go. And truthfully, beyond dribbles, a bit of spit-up and some soiled diaper issues - your little one can come squeaky clean pretty quickly.

prep time

  • Choose a safe, comfortable, and convenient area to work in that's warm and draft-free.
  • Use a baby tub that's comfy for baby and easy for you.
  • Laying out a towel beforehand will make it easier to wrap baby up once the bath is over.
  • Throughout the bath, be sure you support your baby's head and neck.
  • Keep baby dressed until you're ready to wash baby below the neck.
  • Soap-free washing is sufficient until he's one-week-old.
  • Wrapping a washcloth around your hand may offer you more control than simply holding it in your hand.
  • Ask your baby's pediatrician how to properly care for your baby's umbilical cord, as well as his circumcision if relevant.

8 simple steps to a successful sponge bath

Step 1: Within arm's reach, gather together everything you need to properly wash baby, including: a washcloth, towel, cotton balls, mild baby shampoo, mild moisturizing soap, baby wipes, a clean diaper and a change of clothes. If you're not near a sink, use a shallow basin to hold lukewarm water for washing your little one.

Step 2: Gently wipe your little one's eyelids with a moistened cotton ball while he's in a reclined position. Wipe from the inside corner out, and use a different cotton ball for each eye.

Step 3: In the same gentle manner, clean around the outside of baby's nose with a fresh moistened cotton ball. Repeat this step for baby's ears, being sure to wipe both outside and behind the ear, avoiding his ear canal.

Step 4: Next, with a washcloth, gently pat clean baby's face and neck with warm water. At this time, you can undress baby. To prevent chills, have a towel nearby to cover body parts you aren't washing.

Step 5: Then, it's on to washing baby's hair. Carefully sit him up, supporting his back while tilting his head back. Either squeeze warm water from a washcloth or use your hands to sprinkle water over baby's head, using a small amount of tear-free shampoo if needed. Don't be afraid to wash over your baby's soft spot (fontanel). This developing part of your baby's body is a lot tougher than you would believe, and can be gently cleansed and rinsed. Lightly pat dry.

Step 6: Next, lay baby gently on a pad or towel to wash the front of his body, remembering to wipe between his fingers and toes. Then, wash his genital area, being sure to clean from front to back, thoroughly washing all creases. (Using soap on baby's sensitive area may cause discomfort and irritation. So, rinse this area well, if soap is used.) Lightly pat dry.

Step 7: Lastly, turn baby around, handling him carefully and supporting his head and neck. Gently wash baby's back, arms, legs, and diaper area.

Step 8: Once you've finished giving baby his sponge bath, gently but thoroughly dry him with a clean, unused towel. Now, baby's all ready for a warm, cozy outfit and lots of snuggling.

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