A bath can be a time of fun and closeness for both of you. Bathe your baby two to three times a week. Choose a time when your baby is not hungry.
Give your baby a sponge bath until the umbilical cord falls off and has healed.
If your son is circumcised, you should also only give him a sponge bath until his penis has healed (typically seven to 20 days).
Gather everything you need before you undress your baby. You will need these supplies: a baby tub or a clean sink, warm water, soap, shampoo, washcloth, towel,
soft-bristled baby brush, clean diaper and clothing.
If you are using a sink, line it with a towel or receiving blanket to make the surface less slippery.
Test the temperature of the water on your wrist or inside of your arm. It should feel warm, not hot.
You can wash your baby's head before you put her in the bath, or after the rest of her bath is done.
—Hold her so her shoulders and head are over the tub. (See drawing A.)
—Scoop up some of the bath water to wet her head and use a small amount of tearless shampoo. Rinse her head well and dry it with a towel.
—Place your baby in the tub. You can position your baby on her back, supporting her head with your arm. Or, sit her up, supporting her head and neck with one hand. (See drawings B and C.)
A. Hold your baby so her shoulders and head are over the tub when you wash her head.
B. Use both hands to gently place her in the tub.
C. Gently support her head and neck with one hand while you bathe her with the other hand.
Hold your baby firmly. Babies are slippery when wet.
Never leave your baby, even for a moment.
Use soap that is free of perfumes and dyes. Newborn skin is sensitive.
Use very little soap. Newborn skin dries out easily.
Rinse the soap off well after you have cleaned an area.
Wash your baby from where she is clean to where she is dirty. This usually means washing her face and neck first, then her tummy and back, then her arms and hands, her legs and feet, and her genital area and buttocks last.
Use the clean edge of the washcloth to clean around each eye. Wipe from the center of the nose outward.
For girls, wash the inside of the labia by wiping down toward the buttocks. Use a clean part of the washcloth for each side.
For boys, gently wash around the penis and around and under the scrotum. If your son was circumcised, only give sponge baths until the circumcision has healed.
When the bath is over, wrap and dry your baby with a soft towel.
Brush your baby's hair with a soft-bristled baby brush.
If your baby's skin is dry, check with your baby's health care provider before applying lotion. It is normal for newborn skin to be dry. Your baby's skin is delicate and sensitive.
Don't use powder. It can get in your baby's lungs and make her sick.