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Bathing your baby

Julio Guerra


Ready for some fun ? During your hospital stay, your infant gets a good bath by the nursery staff. It's so funny to see all these newborn infants squeaky clean with their hair slicked up.

Your finally home and now it's mom and dad's turn to give the bath....a little scary initially....get the camera and video ready....Baby's First Bath!

Bathing comes in two different modes:
sponge baths (washcloth): initially when you get home and until the umbilical stump falls off.
tub baths: after the umbilical stump falls off.

Before we discuss the two modes of bathing, there are few basic points to remember:
Never leave your infant alone in the bath.
Always bathe your infant in a warm / comfortable environment.
Have all your bathing supplies with in reach.
Babies have very sensitive skin and don't require daily baths.
The more you bathe your infant, the drier their skin may get.
Bathing should be every 2-3 days.
Before you bathe your infant, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly.

Bathing Supplies Check List :
( ) two large bath towels.
( ) cotton balls and q-tips.
( ) soft washcloths.
( ) baby soap and shampoo.

Sponge Bath
When you get home from the hospital and up until the umbilical stump falls off, your infants baths should be primarily with a wash cloth or soft sponge.

Place your infant on a table over a large towel or pad and remove his or her outfit including the diaper. Take a fresh wash cloth and with warm water begin with your infants face. Starting with the eyes, wipe one at a time beginning from the inside near the nose and work your way towards the ear. Using the unused side of the wash cloth go to the other side and do the same. Sometimes infants may have conjunctivitis (eye infection : typically a crusty / pussy eye ) and so by doing each side separately, you may prevent spreading the infection from one eye to the other. Notify your doctor if you suspect an eye infection is present. Continue to wash the face with warm water only.

Applying a small amount of "baby soap" to the washcloth go to the head and work your way down to the feet, saving the genitalia and anal area for the last. Make sure that all the soap is rinsed of your baby's body. Use a nice dry towel to "pat dry" your infant's body. If your infant's skin appears overly dry, a hypoallergenic / un-perfumed moisturizing lotion should be applied. Use either a cotton ball or q-tips to clean the outside of the ears. Never insert the q-tip inside as you may puncture your infants ear drum!

Once the umbilical stump has fallen off and the area appears to have dried, you may begin with TUB BATHING.

Tub Bathing
The tub bath may take place in a kitchen sink, a baby bath or in a basin. Make sure that the area of bathing is totally clean prior to beginning. Make sure that all your bathing necessities are at an arms distance. Place either a towel or a rubber mat at the bottom of the tub to prevent your infant from slipping during the bath. Fill the tub or sink with 3 to 4 inches of warm water. CHECK THE WATER TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS NOT TO HOT. Use one arm to support your infants back and head while the other hand washes your infant with a wash cloth. NEVER LEAVE YOUR INFANT UNATTENDED IN HIS OR HER BATH ! As before, start with the eyes and work your way down.

Make sure to thoroughly dry your infant. Make sure the video camera is charged up....can't miss your Baby's First Bath!

Reprinted with permission from, an e-health website for expectant and new parents.

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