Newborn Sponge Bath in 4 Easy Steps

For the first several weeks of your baby's life, he or she will require a sponge bath. The baby's belly button cannot be submerged in water until the umbilical cord stump falls off, which usually happens about a week or two after birth. You'll want to keep your baby clean in the meantime and a sponge bath is an easy way to do just that. The following tips will make your baby's first baths a success.

1. Set Up Your Bath Station

Choosing the right space and stocking up on the right supplies ensures your baby's first sponge bath will go smoothly from start to finish. First, choose a convenient spot to set up. Some options include the changing table, bathroom floor or a bed. The changing table and bed offer a plush surface for your baby to relax during the sponge bath and a floor can be made more comfortable with a bath mat and towel underneath.

Once you've selected your location, it's time to collect your supplies. First, you'll need access to warm water and a basin to hold the water. If you're bathing baby in the bathroom, you can simply fill the sink or tub with warm -- but not hot -- water. Alternatively, a bath in a bedroom is easy to do with a basin of warm water that you can use throughout the bath. Next, grab a couple of clean washcloths as well as shampoo and body wash designed for your baby's sensitive skin. Many baby bath products are all in one, meaning you can wash baby from head to toe in one product. While you're gathering supplies, pull out all of your post-bath supplies as well. You will need a hooded towel that will keep your freshly bathed baby warm, a clean diaper, lotion and pajamas.

2. Create a Safe and Comfortable Bathing Environment

Next, you want to ensure that your baby's first sponge bath is a safe experience. If your house is cool, warm things up for the bath. Maintain a room temperature around 78 to 80 degrees during the bath. Close any open windows in the room and turn off the ceiling fan. When filling the basin with water, make sure it's warm but not too hot. Consider purchasing a bath thermometer to measure temperature. The water temperature should hover right around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which offers the perfect balance to keep baby warm but not too hot.

3. Clean Your Newborn

It's time to give your newborn a sponge bath. Undress your newborn and wrap him or her in a hooded towel. Lay the baby on his or her back near the basin of water and your supplies. Open the towel, dip the washcloth in the warm water and slowly moisten your newborn's skin. Then, add soap to the washcloth and focus on washing your baby's face, cleaning under the eyes and nose, around the mouth and behind the ears. Don't forget to wipe down baby's neck as well.

Next, add a dime-sized amount of baby shampoo to your hands and lather it into your baby's wet hair. Use the wet washcloth to rinse the shampoo out of baby's hair. Finally, focus on cleaning the body, working from top to bottom. Clean the baby's arms, torso, legs and feet next. Don't directly wash the belly button area, avoiding the umbilical cord stump. Finally, clean your baby's diaper area, working from front to back.

Bathing Tips

  • Be sure to get into all of those newborn folds to ensure baby is clean from top to bottom. Use one hand to open any folds and the other to clean them out with a washcloth.
  • Place a warm washcloth on baby's torso while you're bathing other parts of the body to keep him or her warm.
  • 4. Dry and Moisturize

    Your freshly-cleaned baby is almost ready for bed. Gently pat your baby dry. Then, wrap him or her in a hooded towel. Once your baby is fully dry, massage lotion into his arms, legs, torso, back and feet. Avoid putting lotion on baby's hands since they inevitably end up in the mouth. Now, it's time for a clean diaper and a pair of cozy pajamas.

    Your newborn isn't quite ready to fall into a strict routine. After all, the baby needs to eat regularly around the clock to grow and thrive. However, establishing good habits now can help your baby fall into a routine in a few months. A sponge bath before bed can be a calming experience, giving you an opportunity to bond with your newborn while he or she relaxes. So, pull out your baby bathing supplies and enjoy nurturing your new addition with a sponge bath.

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