Bathing and Dressing
For the first couple of weeks, give your baby sponge baths. Avoid the tub until the umbilical cord has fallen off and the belly button has healed. For a sponge bath, wash your baby on a firm, flat surface such as a changing table or a counter with a towel on it. Keep your baby warm by covering the areas you are not washing.
Babies get burned easily. Make sure the bath water is not too hot or too cold. Test it on the inside of your wrist or use a bath thermometer. Be sure the hot water heater in your home is set at 120°F or less. Have all your bath supplies ready before you begin.
- Soft, clean wash cloth
- Gentle soap and shampoo
- Clean clothes
- Fresh cotton balls
- Clean diaper
Once or twice a week, shampoo your baby’s scalp. Rinse well—keep shampoo out of his eyes.
After the belly button has healed, your baby can have a bath in a tub. Hold your baby securely. Wet babies are slippery. Support his head the whole time. Some babies get upset when put in water, so be patient. Remember: Never leave your baby alone, even for a minute. A baby can drown quickly in very little water.
To Give Your Baby a Sponge Bath or a Bath in the Tub:
- Begin with the eyes. Use a cotton ball soaked in warm water and no soap. Gently wash around his eyes, wiping from the nose outward.
- Use a wash cloth to clean his face. A gentle soap is fine on the face, just not near the eyes. Wipe around his ears, but not inside.
- Clean his neck, chest, arms, and legs. Be sure to wash under the arms and between skin folds.
- Clean his genitals and bottom last.
- Dry him gently with a clean towel.
Dressing Your Baby
Your baby may squirm while getting dressed. Use clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Clothes with wide neck openings, snap closings, and stretch or knit fabrics are good choices. Open the neck wide before pulling it over your baby’s head. Then reach through each sleeve, and pull your baby’s hands through. Stretch and pull at the clothes, not at the baby. Dress your baby as warmly as you are dressed. Keep the temperature where your baby sleeps the same as the rest of your home.
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