How to Give Your Baby a Bath

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Now that you’re a new mom or dad, you can look forward to several years of splashy, splashy fun with your little one. In the beginning, though, washing your infant will be more mellow, wipe-and-rinse affair than bubble bonanza.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to give your new baby a bath.

  • Protect the stump. Stick to sponge baths until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off (typically between 1 and 4 weeks) and, if relevant, his circumcision is completely healed (usually within a week).
  • Gather your supplies. Baby bath essentials include a mild unscented cleanser, two baby washcloths, cotton balls, two thick towels (or one towel and a waterproof pad), a diaper, diaper rash ointment or cream, and clothing.
  • Position your baby. Place your baby on his back on a thick towel or waterproof pad next to your kitchen or bathroom sink.
  • Be mindful of the temperature. To prevent him from getting cold, make sure the room is warm, and only expose one area of his body at a time.
  • Spot clean. Go from top to bottom, starting with his head and ending with the diaper area. Dry each part with a towel before moving on.
  • Get all the nooks and crannies. Pay special attention to skin folds, especially on the neck, armpits, thighs and diaper area. Don’t forget to wash behind his ears!
  • Clean her ears. Wipe your baby’s outer ear with a warm washcloth or cotton ball. Do not attempt to clean inside the ear canal with a cotton swab.
  • Clean her eyes. Use warm water and a sterile cotton ball to clean each eye, gently wiping from the nose outward.
  • Limit frequency. Until he really starts to get dirty (probably around the time he starts to crawl), bathe him no more than two to three times a week. Otherwise, you could irritate or dry out his skin.
  • Know when to bring out the bathtub. Once his umbilical cord has fallen off and his circumcision, if any, has healed, you can use an infant bathtub.
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