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How to bathe a baby or give a baby a bath

It is not necessary to bathe a baby every day. Two or three times a week is sufficient, provided the diaper area of the body is kept clean. Don’t bathe a baby just after a feeding.

Choose a warm room with no drafts. Have all your needs ready: basin, washcloth, towel, soap, baby shampoo, fresh diaper, safety pins, alcohol, flexible cotton swabs, and clean clothes. Have the water temperature near normal body temperature-between 90°F and 100°F; test it with your wrist or elbow. Giving a sponge bath Until the cord falls off and the navel heals, sponge-bathe your baby, holding the infant on a towel in your lap or on a table covered with padding. Wash the baby’s face with soap and water, taking care not to get soap in the eyes. Shampoo the scalp once or twice a week, using a nontearing baby shampoo.

Gently wash the body, one area at a time, paying careful attention to folds and creases. Wash the genital area last. As you finish each area, rinse it thoroughly and pat dry-don’t rub. Clean the navel with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

Use a washbowl, large pan, or the kitchen sink lined with a cloth diaper or towel. Have the water just an inch or two deep. Lower the baby gently, talking quietly for reassurance. Hold the baby so that your wrist supports the head, and the fingers of the same hand are under the shoulder. With your other hand, wash the baby just as you did when sponge-bathing.

After rinsing, wrap the baby in a towel and pat dry. Put on a fresh diaper (see Diapering).

Caution: Never leave a baby in a bath unattended, even for a few seconds. Don’t use cotton swabs in the baby’s nose or ears-clean them with a dampened cotton ball or washcloth.