Childr Health Information

Bathing Your Baby

Print this page Bookmark and Share

Topic: Infant Health Care

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about bathing your baby at home. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

WHAT SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO GET TOGETHER FOR A BATH?
Before you start, get all bath supplies you will need:

  • Mild soap                           Washcloth
  • Towel                                 Comb and/or brush
  • Clean clothes                      Diapers (pins, if needed)
  • Baby shampoo
  • Tub, dishpan or clean sink

HOW DO I START THE BATH? (Sponge or Tub Bath)

  1. Close the door or window to prevent drafts.
  2. Wash your hands with soap before starting your baby’s bath.
  3. Remember, never leave your baby alone during a bath!  If the phone or doorbell rings and you must answer it, wrap your baby in a towel and take him/her with you.
  4. Always test the bath water before bathing to prevent chilling or burning. 
    Place your wrist or elbow in the water to make sure it feels comfortably warm.

HOW DO I GIVE A SPONGE BATH?

  1. You may leave your baby dressed to wash the baby’s face and hair.
  2. Begin the bath by cleaning your baby’s face with a clean wet washcloth.  Do not use soap on the face.
  3. Clean the baby’s eyes.
    • Use a washcloth and plain water to clean the eyes.  Do not use soap.
    • Wipe the eye gently, starting close to the nose and wipe across the eye.  Use a clean area of the washcloth for each eye.
  4. Clean the ears and nose using your finger, covered by a washcloth.  Never use a Q-tip swab.
  5. Shampoo the head using a gentle baby shampoo. When you are done, hold the baby’s head over the water, supporting his or her back and head and rinse off all the soap being careful not to get soap and water in baby’s eyes.  Gently rub the head dry with a dry cloth.  Sometimes a flaky crust will form on a baby’s head.  This is called cradle cap.  It is caused by an oily scalp or by not rinsing out all of the soap.  Do not scrape or peel it off.  Ask your baby’s doctor what to do about this condition. 
  6. For a sponge bath, remove the clothing as you wash the baby, starting with the shirt and ending with the diaper.
  7. Wash, rinse and dry the chest, arms and hands.
  8. Turn your baby over and wash his/her back.
  9. Cover baby with a towel to keep him/her warm.
  10. Wash and dry the legs and feet.
  11. Wash and dry the diaper area last.
  12. Bundle your baby up after his/her bath.  Your baby’s hands and feet might turn a little blue while he is cold.  A baby’s hands and feet should turn pink as we warms up.
  13. Be sure to get under all folds of the skin, especially under the chin, behind the ears and in the diaper area.  Remember to dry these areas well
  14. Check your baby for rashes, sore areas or other problems at bath time.  Sometimes a baby may have white spots or “pimples” on their nose or forehead.  These are called milia and are normal.  Do not pinch or squeeze them.  They will go away as the baby grows.
  15. Check the cord or navel area.  If there is any drainage, redness or bad odor, call your baby’s doctor.  The cord is cleaned with soap and water. Be sure to dry the cord area well.

HOW DO I GIVE A TUB BATH?  Follow steps 1-6 under sponge bath, then:

  1. Completely remove the baby’s clothes.
  2. Clean the baby’s diaper area well, before placing him or her in the water.
  3. Place your baby in the water, lowering him or her slowly so you do not scare him or her.
  4. Hold your baby carefully.  A clean towel in the tub helps prevent slipping.   Wet babies are slippery!
  5. Remember, no soap products on the face!
  6. Wash, rinse and dry the chest, arms and hands.  Turn your baby over and do the back.
  7. Wash and dry the legs and feet.
  8. Wash and dry the diaper area last.
  9. Be sure to get under all folds of the skin, especially under the chin, behind the ears and in the diaper area.  Remember to dry these areas well.
  10. Check your baby for rashes, sore areas or other problems.  Sometimes a baby may have white spots or “pimples” on their nose or forehead.  These are called milia and are normal.  Don’t pinch or squeeze them. They will go away as the baby grows.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BATHE MY BABY?

Your baby only needs a bath two to three times a week but you may bath him/her more often when it is hot.  A bath in hot weather can make your baby feel more comfortable.  Be sure to give your baby plenty of time to become completely dry (especially hair) before you take him/her outside in the colder weather.

PDF: Child Health Information - BATHING YOUR BABY

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar www.childrensdayton.org (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006

 

Sign up for Pediatric Link

Finding the latest trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. Pediatric Link, Dayton Children's e-newsletter offers timely and up-to-date information for health care professionals from the experts you trust at Dayton Children's.  Sign up

Upcoming Events

Fun family health fair

REGISTRATION: Sign up online at www.keysports.net. By mail: Fill out this entry form and mail with a check payable to Miamisburg High School to Miamisburg High School C/O Jenny Brockert 1860 Belvo Road Miamisburg, OH 45342 For more information all Jenny Brockert at (937) 866-0771 ext.1414 or email her at jbrockert@miamisburg.k12.oh.us

Dayton Children’s cordially invites you to attend our upcoming state-wide pediatric trauma symposium. The symposium will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, Miamisburg, OH on April 25, 2014.

View full event calendarView full event calendar

The Right Experts

Just right for all kids

Accreditations

The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815
937-641-3000
www.childrensdayton.org