Bathing Your Baby

By JustMommies staff

What baby doesn't smell good with a little baby soap and lotion? Moms usually look forward to bathing their new baby. Bathing your baby for the first time can however be a little scary for some new mothers. With their delicate skin and fragile body, mothers may worry about baby slipping or falling out of their hands. Following a few simple guidelines can assure a safe and pleasant bath for baby.

Sponge Baths

During the first couple weeks after birth a sponge bath is recommended. Babies should be given a sponge bath only until the umbilical cord falls off and heals and if your child has been circumcised until that heals as well. You will need a clean soft washcloth, a basin, sink, or tub with water, a soft brush for babies hair, and a towel. You will want to bathe baby in a warm room as babies lose heat faster than adults or older children. Baby can be placed on a towel or padded area on a flat stable surface. Remember if you place baby on an area above the floor to keep one hand on baby at all times.

Check the water temperature in your basin or tub before you begin bathing. Water should be warm, not hot. While bathing, keep baby wrapped in a towel exposing only the area you are bathing to avoid heat loss.

Begin by washing baby's eyes. Use only water to clean baby's eyes. Use the corner of your washcloth and wipe eyes from the inside corner of the eye to the outside corner. Use another corner of your washcloth and wash baby's other eye from the inside corner to the outside corner. Next wash baby's mouth, nose, and ears with warm water. Rinse your washcloth and add a small amount of baby soap to gently wash baby's face.

Use a small amount of baby shampoo to wash baby's head and hair. Remember to support baby's head and neck while washing. Rinse hair being careful not to get soap in baby's eyes.

Wash baby's arms, legs, back, and belly making sure to wash in the creases. Once you have washed everything else rinse your washcloth and cleanse the genital area. Remember to wash from front to back for girls.

Once baby is washed dry baby, diaper, and dress. You can use a soft brush to gently massage baby's hair.

Tub baths

Once your baby's umbilical cord has healed, she will be ready for a tub bath. Fill baby's bath with 2-3 inches of warm water. Follow the same procedure as for sponge bathing. Remember, never, never leave a baby unattended in the tub.

Baby Bathing Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I bathe my baby?

Babies do not require much bathing the first year of life. Two to three times a week is all that is necessary.

2. What kind of soap should I use?

Select baby soaps that have a neutral ph and preferably baby soaps that are preservative free. In fact, you can even rotate water only baths with baths using soap.

3. What temperature should the water be?

Water should be warm at approximately 100.4°F.

4. What about baby lotions?

Newborns often have dry, flaky, or peeling skin. Most babies do not need lotion for this. However, many mothers enjoy putting lotion on there babies and this is ok too.