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How Do I Bathe My Newborn?

Newborns are so incredibly teeny, which can make learning how to dress them, change their diapers, and give them baths difficult skills to master. Fortunately, as a parent, you will perform all of these activities, many, many, times. All this practice will make these tasks seem much easier and will become second nature. 


Sponge Baths 


There is no rush to bathe your baby once they come home. Many experts recommend waiting at least 24 hours to bathe your baby and after that, infants only need a bath a few times a week (2 or 3 times).

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sponge baths until the baby’s umbilical cord completely falls off (usually 1-2 weeks). Sponge baths can take place on a towel that is laid on top of a firm surface and try to always bathe your baby in a warm place, so they do not get too cold during the sponge bath. 

During the bath, keep one hand on your baby at all times, and for water, use the sink or have a warm bucket of water nearby. 

Have the following items handy for during and after the bath:

  • A sponge or washcloth
  • A bucket of warm water, if needed
  • Baby soap or shampoo
  • A towel
  • A clean diaper
  • A dry, soft but firm surface to lay your clean baby on
  • A clean change of clothes to dress your baby in right after the bath.


Baby Bathtubs 


When your baby has lost their umbilical cord and no longer requires a sponge bath, you can bathe your baby in a baby bathtub, the sink, or a plastic tub. If using the sink or a plastic tub, line them with a soft towel or blanket. Have the same supplies listed above prepared for during and after the bath, and fill the tub with about 2 inches of warm water. You may also use an extra cup to continue pouring warm water on the baby throughout the bath to keep their body temperature where it should be. 

Always hold your baby with one hand during the bath and never leave them unattended. You can hold your baby’s head and neck with your nondominant hand during their bath, until they are able to hold their own head up, and use your dominant hand to wash them.  According to the Mayo Clinic, most newborns do not need lotion after their bath unless they have noticeably dry areas.


Fun And Easy


After you have given your baby a few baths, bathtime will become more fun for your baby and easier for you. Bathtime is a special time between parents and their babies, and can help babies relax and feel calm before bedtime or naptime. Always consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns, and be sure to remain patient as this is a learning process for both you and for your sweet baby. 


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