Giving your little one a bath, from the March of Dimes
PREPARATION First, collect your supplies. You’ll need baby shampoo or soap, washcloths, towels, clean clothes, a diaper and a small, plastic tub or a sink. Bathe your baby every two to three days. Bathing more often can dry out his skin.
If you need to leave the room, take your baby. Never leave him alone near water! Babies can drown in very little water.
GIVING A SPONGE BATH A sponge bath means cleaning your baby using a wet washcloth, not placing him into water. This helps keep the belly button or circumcision dry for healing. Here’s what to do:
1. Place your baby on a flat surface, such as a changing table.
2. Undress him and wrap him in a towel.
3. Use a washcloth in plain water to gently wipe his eyes, and a soapy one to clean the rest of his body. Wash one area at a time. Clean between skinfolds. Keep the rest of him wrapped in a towel so he isn’t cold.
4. Wash the diaper area last.
5. Rinse him with plain water; pat him dry.
UMBILICAL CORD STUMP CARE Until the umbilical cord stump falls off :
• Tuck her diaper below the stump.
• Keep the area clean and dry. If it gets dirty, use a baby wipe or rubbing alcohol.
• Call your baby’s healthcare provider if you see signs of infection, like pus or redness, or if she cries when you touch the area.
AFTER CIRCUMCISION Until healed:
• Wash the penis and diaper area with soap and warm water.
• For the first few days, put a new bandage on the penis during every diaper change.
• Use petroleum jelly on the penis or the part of the diaper or bandage that touches it, which helps prevent the diaper or bandage from sticking to or rubbing the penis.
GIVING A TUB BATH Once the belly button or circumcision area is healed:
1. Fill a small tub or a sink with two to three inches of warm water. Use your elbow to check the temperature. Support your baby’s head with one hand and use the other to hold her body as you place her in the tub feet first.
2. Pour warm water on her so she’s not cold.
3. Gently wash her face with plain water.
4. Wash her body with soapy water.
5. Use baby shampoo to wash her head. Do not get shampoo in her eyes.
6. Wash the diaper area last.
7. Rinse her with warm, clean water.
8. Wrap her in a towel and pat her dry.