Your newborn will need a sponge bath for the first days or weeks after birth, depending on how quickly your baby’s umbilical cord falls off. When it’s time for a sponge bath, you can keep your little one warm and comfortable by preparing for the process completely before you begin. Although babies don’t always enjoy having baths, speed and efficiency should get the job done.
Warm the room prior to bathing your baby to make it more comfortable for her. A temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit is appropriate, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
Spread the bath towels on the counter near the sink with one on top of the other to create a soft and absorbent spot for bathing your baby.
Fill the sink with warm, body temperature water.
Undress your baby and place him on the prepared towels. Drape the hooded baby towel over him to cover whatever parts of his body you are not currently bathing.
Moisten the washcloth and wash your baby’s face, starting with her eyes, then moving to her ears. Clean the outside of your little one’s ears gently but do not insert anything into her ears to clean them. Rinse the washcloth and wash your little one’s face and neck gently.
Add a drop of soap to the washcloth and wash your baby’s body, starting with his tummy, back, arms, hands, legs and feet. Wash one body part at a time, rinsing the washcloth each time to wash away the soap. Dry each area well after washing to keep your baby from becoming chilled.
Wash your baby’s diaper area last, wiping gently from front to back between skin folds for a baby girl. For a baby boy, do not retract the foreskin for an uncircumcised baby, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website. Clean a circumcised baby boy gently with plain water. Rinse the skin and then dry it carefully.
Pick your baby up while wrapped in the towel and hold him firmly in your arms with his feet tucked under your arm and his head in your hands. Stand with him over the sink and hold him firmly while you moisten his head gently with warm water. Add a drop or two of shampoo to his hair and work up a lather. Rinse away the shampoo carefully, using your hand or a cup to drizzle water over his head. Avoid allowing water or shampoo to drip into his eyes. After rinsing all the shampoo away, place the hood of the towel over his head and wrap the rest of the towel around him snugly.
Dry your baby gently with the towel and dress her in warm clothes.