Newborn Care: How to Bathe Your Baby

Happy bath time! Bathing pointers and umbilicus care for your baby.
Giving a Sponge Bath
Newborns should only be sponge bathed with plain warm water until her umbilical cord falls off, which usually happens within a week or two after birth. During this time, always keep the navel area dry to prevent infection.

  1. Wash your newborn baby's face, chest, arms and hands with plain warm water, particularly when dirt tends to collect, such as behind his ears and between the fingers.

  2. Wash your baby's back with a washcloth or towel using gentle patting motions to avoid skin abrasions. Gently pat dry the upper half of her body.

  3. Clean her genital area from front to back, then the legs and feet, especially between the toes. Gently pat dry her lower body.

  4. A newborn doesn't need a shampoo until she is a few months old. Until then, a bath wash will do the trick. Do not pour water over a baby's face; instead use one hand to wet the scalp.

  5. When done, dry your baby thoroughly with a towel and put on a fresh diaper and a change of clean clothes.

Umbilicus Care
Until the umbilical cord falls off (which usually takes about 15 days after birth), you should clean the umbilical cord base daily with a cotton bud soaked in rubbing alcohol. Avoid covering the umbilical area with diapers or clothing as this can slow down healing.

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