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How to Bathe Your Baby: Step-by-step

Baby’s first bath will be a new experience for both of you, so give yourself plenty of time to relax and enjoy it. In the beginning, you should be careful when bathing your baby until the umbilical cord heals. 

2 mins to read Sep 10, 2018

Before you start, gather everything you need for baby’s bath time. A small, portable tub with luke warm water is ideal. Here’s a list of what else you should have on hand:

  • baby soap
  • baby shampoo
  • washcloths
  • baby lotion
  • clean diaper
  • clean outfit
  • towel (plus an extra one)

Lay out a towel on the counter and place your baby on top of the towel. Keep a close eye on her. Even if your little one can't roll yet, she may just surprise you and squirm her way into trouble.

When you are ready to begin, undress your baby, but don’t take off the diaper until you are ready to clean her bottom. Start at the top and work your way down. To keep her from getting chilly, be sure the water is warm, and keep a towel over her upper body while cleaning the diaper area.

How to Bathe Your Baby

Eyes & face:
Use a clean washcloth to gently wipe your baby’s eyes from the inside corner by the nose outward. Then clean your baby’s face with a clean washcloth and water only – you do not need soap to do this. Pat dry.

Neck & ears: Be sure to clean in the creases of the neck. Wipe the outside of the ear, but not the inside.

Wash hair using a small amount of baby shampoo. For no-tear rinsing, place your baby in a football hold and fold a washcloth across her forehead to keep water out of her eyes. Dry thoroughly.

Upper body:
Gently stretch baby’s arms and fingers to clean carefully with soap.

Hips, legs & feet:
Gently extend legs to wash, and clean between your baby’s little toes. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Umbilical cord:
To avoid getting the umbilical cord wet, place a dry washcloth over the area during bath time. Clean according to instructions provided by your healthcare professional.

To wash your baby’s back, turn her onto her tummy while supporting her securely in your arms. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Groin & buttocks:
Support your baby in your arms. For girls, wash front to back. For boys, wash in all creases but don’t disturb the foreskin.

After the bath:
Wrap your baby in a soft, dry towel. Hooded towels are extra cozy. Put a new diaper on your baby and dress her.