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Resources for Bathing Your Baby from UPMC Magee-Womens in Central Pa.

Giving your baby his first bath can be overwhelming – and even a little scary. Rest assured that with time and practice, bath time will become enjoyable for you and your baby.

Your physician will probably instruct you to sponge bathe your baby until the umbilical cord is healed. It is very important that you NEVER leave your baby unattended during a bath. Gather everything you will need before you begin bathing your baby. You will need to have a number of items within reach, including:

  • A changing mat
  • A few baby bath towels
  • Cotton balls
  • Baby soap
  • Baby shampoo
  • Diapers
  • Clean clothes

You should bathe your baby before a feeding – with all the jostling, your baby may spit up his last meal. Pick an area in the house where you will both be comfortable, free from drafts. Lay your baby on a towel and undress him. Cover your baby with a second towel and only expose the area you are washing.

Sponge Bath

A good practice is to start with the cleanest part of your baby (face) and save the dirtiest part (genitals) for last. Begin by cleaning your baby’s eyes. Use a clean, soap-free corner of the washcloth and wipe gently from the inner corner of your baby’s eye to the outer corner. With another corner of the washcloth, repeat the steps for the other eye. After you finish cleaning her eyes, wash her face with clean water.

Next, use the washcloth and clean water to clean your baby’s nose and ears. Do not insert a cotton swab in your baby’s nose or ears, as you can cause severe damage to the eardrum or nasal passages.

After your baby’s face is clean, you can clean the rest of her body. Pay particular attention to any folds in the skin, especially around the neck, arms and legs. Check your baby’s umbilical cord for proper healing and be sure to keep the area dry.

When washing your baby’s genitals, be sure to use clean water. Your baby girl may have a lot of discharge from her genitals. It is important that you wash your daughter’s genitals from front to back to reduce the risk of bladder infection. If your son has been circumcised, wash his penis with clean, warm water until the area is healed.

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