How to Give a Newborn Baby a Sponge Bath


New parents sometimes feel intimidated by the process of bathing their tiny new baby, but bath time can be pleasant for both infant and parent.

Though you don’t need to bathe your newborn every day, according to the Mayo Clinic website, you should clean his diaper area thoroughly each time you change his diaper and wash his face daily.

Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, give him sponge baths.


Things You’ll Need

  • Basin of warm water
  • 2 washcloths
  • Mild soap
  • Baby shampoo
  • 2 towels
  • Lotion, if desired
  • Protective ointment for diaper area, if desired


How to Give a Newborn Baby a Sponge Bath

How to Give a Newborn Baby a Sponge Bath

Gather all your supplies before you begin.

Place the basin of warm water on a flat, sturdy surface. Test the temperature of the water on your wrist. It should feel warm but not too hot. Ninety degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature, according to the Baby Center website.

Place your baby on her back on a towel beside the basin of water. Undress her, leaving her diaper on. Cover her with the other towel.

Wet a washcloth and wipe the area around your baby’s eyes. Start at the inner corner of the eye and wipe towards the outer area. Use a separate part of the washcloth for each eye. Don’t use any soap around his eyes.

Rewet the washcloth and wash your baby’s face. No soap is needed on her face. Make sure to clean her ears thoroughly and to clean the creases under her chin and on her neck. Don’t put anything into her ear canal, though. Dry your baby’s face with part of the towel covering her. Make sure to dry the creases under her chin and on her neck thoroughly to prevent skin irritation.

Rewet the washcloth. Place one hand under your baby’s head and with the other, use the wet washcloth to wet his head and hair. Apply a small amount of baby shampoo to your baby’s head and massage gently. Rewet the washcloth and use it to wipe away all the shampoo from your baby’s head. Dry your baby’s head with the towel on which he is lying.

Uncover your baby’s chest and arms. Apply a small amount of mild soap to the washcloth and wash her chest, belly, arms and hands. Wet the other washcloth and use it to rinse your baby’s body, arms and hands. Dry her with the towel used to cover her.

Turn your baby onto his stomach so you can wash his back. If you prefer, support him in a sitting position with one hand supporting his chest and belly. Use the soapy washcloth to wash his back and the other washcloth to rinse him. Dry his back with the towel on which he is lying.

Position her on her back again. Cover her chest, tummy and arms with the towel, uncovering her legs and feet. Wash her legs and feet, then rinse and dry them.

Remove your baby’s diaper and wash the diaper area. If you have a daughter, make sure to wash from front to back. If you have a son and he was circumcised, care for his penis as directed by his physician. If you have a son and he was not circumcised, gently pull back the foreskin if it is retractable to clean underneath it. Rinse and dry your baby’s diaper area. Apply a protective ointment to prevent diaper rash, if desired. Then put on a clean diaper.

Care for your baby’s umbilical cord stump as directed by his physician, if the stump hasn’t fallen off yet. Otherwise, wash the area around his belly button when washing the rest of his tummy.

Apply baby lotion before dressing your baby, if desired.


Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the room in which you plan to bathe your baby is warm, at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit, before you begin the bath. Newborns get chilled easily.
  • Never leave your newborn unattended on a changing table, bed or other surface from which he could fall. Never leave your baby unattended in a bathtub or near a basin of water. Infants and small children can drown in just a few inches of water.


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