Here’s how you can give your baby a sponge bath:
- Use warm water and a mild soap, if desired.
- Begin by washing your baby’s face and head before undressing your baby. Your baby will object the most when completely unwrapped. Newborns usually object to being bathed and may cry because the sensations are new and different.
- Clean your baby’s eyes by using a washcloth or clean cotton ball with water only, no soap. Gently wipe from the inside corner outwards. Use a clean portion of the washcloth or clean cotton ball for each eye.
- Clean the outer areas of your baby’s nose and ears with a washcloth. Do not put cotton swabs into your baby’s ears or nose.
To shampoo your baby’s scalp and hair, hold your baby at your side over the basin. Support your baby’s head with your hand as if you were holding a football.
- Wet the scalp and apply a small amount of gentle soap and warm water. Be sure to avoid your baby’s eyes and face.
- Use a baby brush or your fingertips to gently stimulate your baby’s scalp.
- Rinse with clear water. Be sure to get out all the suds before drying.
- Finish by towel drying your baby’s hair.
Remove your baby’s clothes to wash the rest of your baby’s body. Wash your baby’s body all at once, moving from top to bottom.
- For girls, when washing the genital area, separate the labia and gently wipe from front to back.
- For boys, gently clean the penis. If the baby isn't circumcised, do not pull back on the foreskin. Remember, it's unnecessary to pull back any part of the foreskin to wash under it. Washing the outside is enough.
- Work quickly and then dry the baby thoroughly.
- Be sure to dry in the folds and creases of your baby’s skin to avoid irritation.
Diaper and dress your baby. If your baby’s skin is very dry, check with your baby’s healthcare provider before applying any lotions. Oils, lotions and powders usually are unnecessary.