How to Give a Newborn a Sponge Bath

Among the many unfamiliar things you learn to do as a new mom is bathing your newborn baby. After your baby is born, you'll need to give her sponge baths for the first few weeks until her umbilical stump falls off. Newborn babies don't need to be bathed every day 3. Giving your baby a sponge bath once or twice a week during her first month is more than enough. Sponge bathing a newborn can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your baby, given the proper preparation.

Gather the supplies you'll need before you start giving your newborn her sponge bath. Be as thorough as you can so you don't have to collect your naked baby mid-bath to grab something from another room.

Fill the basin or bowl with warm water. Check the water temperature before starting the sponge bath to make sure it's not too hot or too cold.

Undress your newborn and place her on the blanket on the flat surface. Place all of your supplies within arm's reach. To keep your baby from getting too cold during her bath, cover the bottom half of her body with one of the towels. Only one section of the body needs to be exposed at a time.

Wet a cotton ball and gently wipe your newborn's eye, going from the bridge of her nose outward. Use a different cotton ball to wash the other eye using the same procedure.

Wet a washcloth and wring out the excess water. The washcloth only needs to be damp, not soaking or dripping. Start by washing your newborn's face, focusing on her mouth, under her chin, and in and around her ears.

Dampen another washcloth and put a small amount of soap on it. Wash your baby's neck, scalp and torso. Be sure to clean between folds of skin of chubby babies, especially under the arms. Also wash her hands and fingers.

Rinse the soap off your newborn with another damp cloth. Use a towel to dry each area as you go. Try to keep your baby's umbilical stump dry.

Reposition the towel so it's covering the top half of your newborn's torso. Repeat the washing and drying process with the lower half of her body, making sure to pay attention to creases and to wash her feet and toes.

Unwrap your baby and carefully place her on her stomach. Make sure that her head is turned to one side. Repeat the washing, rinsing and drying process with the back of her body. Wash her private parts last.

Use the bottom towel to thoroughly dry your newborn. Put her in the clean diaper and dress her in the clothes you've chosen.


If your newborn has dry skin or eczema, you can massage baby lotion into her skin before you put the diaper on. Even if your baby doesn't have dry skin, lotion will give her that sweet, clean baby smell.