During your baby’s first weeks of life, when he still has his umbilical cord stump attached, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bathing your baby with a sponge bath. To learn how to proceed, follow these instructions and you’ll be an expert in no time:
- Make sure the room where you’ll bathe your baby is at a comfortable temperature.
- Prepare all the necessary materials: basin with warm water, gentle baby soap and shampoo (optional), a delicate wash cloth, cotton balls, a soft towel with a hoodie, a new diaper, and clean clothing.
- Before you begin, gently narrate every step you take to help keep your baby calm during his bath.
- Undress your baby, but leave the diaper on, wrap him with the towel, and lay him over a safe surface.
- Head: dampen his hair and add a bit of soap or baby shampoo. Softly massage the scalp and rinse thoroughly, being careful not to expose his eyes to soap.
- Face: take a cotton ball, dip it in clean water and softly wipe one of your baby’s eyes from the tear duct out. Then, grab a new cotton ball and do the same with the other eye. For the rest of the face, take the wash cloth and delicately clean it starting with the nose mouth and chin all the way out to the ears.
- Neck and chest: Take the wash cloth, water and a bit of soap and clean the neck and chest making sure to thoroughly clean the folds and creases.
- Abdomen: gently wash your baby’s abdomen with the wash cloth. When you reach the umbilical cord stump, switch to a damp cotton ball free of soap, gently clean the stump and let air dry completely.
- Arms: wipe one arm at a time and be sure to clean each hand with soap.
- Back: place your baby on his belly making sure his cheek lies comfortably on the surface. With the damp cloth softly clean his back.
- Legs: clean each leg with soap and cloth making sure not to forget the area behind the knees and between each fold. If your baby moves his legs, don’t worry, gently talk to him.
- Diaper area: take a cotton ball and clean the area without soap. If your baby is a girl make sure to wipe from front to back. If your baby is a boy, clean between folds, the scrotum and penis without moving the foreskin (skin at the tip of the penis) back. If your child is circumcised follow your doctor’s specific instructions.
- All done! Your baby is nice and clean, make sure his whole body is completely dry. To do this gently pat him dry with the towel. Place a new diaper and clean clothes on your baby’s body and continue with your daily routine.
Remember, babies do not need to be bathed daily. Talk to your pediatrician about bathtime and ask him or her about soap and shampoo use.