Newborn Sponge Bath

Your newborn baby may not be playing in the yard just yet, but he still needs an occasional bath. Grab a sponge or washcloth for an easy way to keep your baby clean.

Why You Should Sponge Bathe Your Newborn

Experts recommend sponge baths for newborn babies whose umbilical cord stumps have not yet fallen off. Sponge baths are also a good option for boys who haven't fully healed from circumcision. Keep in mind that daily baths aren't necessary, and could dry out his delicate skin. Bathing three times a week will be just fine until your baby is a year old.

How to Give a Baby a Sponge Bath

6 Steps to Success

  1. Pick a convenient time. Some moms prefer mornings when babies are usually alert and raring to go. Other moms choose evenings as part of a calming bedtime ritual.

  2. Gather everything you'll need before you start. Many parents find it easiest to place their baby in a towel-lined infant tub, but you could lay a towel on just about any flat, comfortable surface. Grab a change of clothes, a clean diaper, a couple of washcloths, another big towel, a mild baby soap, and a bowl or cup of warm (not hot) water. Test the water temperature with your inner wrist.

  3. Keep your little one cozy. Make sure the room is warm before undressing your baby. Plan to drape a warm, wet washcloth over the parts of your baby you're not cleaning at the moment so she stays comfortable.

  4. Start at the top. Start with your baby's face and head, using a washcloth without soap so you don't get any suds in her eyes or mouth. Use soft, gentle strokes, and learn how to clean your baby’s ears, eyes, and nose properly to protect these delicate areas. Pay special attention to the neck and the area under the chin. The spaces between fingers and toes, under the arms, and behind the ears also get surprisingly dirty. Wipe carefully around the umbilical stump, making sure to keep it dry. If you accidentally get the stump wet, gently pat it dry with a soft towel. Clean the diaper area last, and always support your baby's head and neck.

  5. Protect to heal. If your son has been circumcised, wash his penis with just water until it heals (usually about a week to 10 days after the surgery). If he's not circumcised, just wash as you would other parts of his body.

  6. Wrap it up. Finish off by drying your baby with a hooded towel, putting on a fresh diaper, and planting a kiss on that clean, soft belly. All done!