Sponge baths will be necessary for your newborn until his cord stump falls off. Gently wiping him with a warm bath cloth is all you will really need to do. However, if you would like, you can put a small amount of soap on the bath cloth, just be careful when rinsing so that you avoid getting the stump wet.
Once your baby’s stump has fallen off, the real bathing can begin!
Make sure that the room you are bathing him in is at least room temperature. Make sure there are no drafts. If you have a fan in the room, turn it off to keep the room mild and comfortable.
Before filling up the tub, make sure you have all your supplies within reach. It’s usually best to bath the baby in an area where there is plenty of counter space or floor space available. Keep your baby soap, baby shampoo, bath cloth, towel and other necessities close by so that you won’t have to step away from the tub.
When filling up the tub, check the water temperature with your wrist. The water temperature should be comfortable for you.
Once you have the baby undressed, gently place him in the tub. Be sure to keep one hand on him at all times! Most newborns react as if they are startled when they are first placed in the water. A hand on his belly or beneath his back can help calm him.
There are varieties of baby soaps and shampoos available today. Which one you choose is really up to you. Most new parents find that an all-in-one cleanser for both body and hair is the most convenient.
To begin bathing, dip the bath cloth in the water and gently wet your baby’s skin. Again, be sure to have a hand on the baby at all times! Once a baby’s skin is wet, dispense the desired amount of soap directly onto skin or onto the bath cloth. Gently rub the baby’s body, concentrating on little folds of skin that can hold in powder, lotion, etc. Once the baby’s skin is cleansed, rinse him by dipping the bath cloth in the water and rubbing him with the clean cloth.
To wash the baby’s hair, take the bath cloth and immerse it in the water. Being careful not to get the water in the baby’s eyes, squeeze the cloth over his hair and wet it. Dispense the desired amount of soap onto the hair and gently rub his head until it lathers. To rinse, simply immerse the cloth again in clean water and squeeze over the scalp. You can also use a cup for this, it really depends on your comfort level.
Be sure to cleanse under the neck as well. Since newborns can’t hold their heads up very well, milk can get trapped under those folds of skin as well as spit-up, etc.
Removing a baby from the tub can be tricky, so be careful, they’re slippery! Supporting his head and neck, remove the baby from the tub and gently place it on a clean towel. Gently rub or pat his skin and hair until dry. Diaper and dress as usual.