How To Bathe Your Baby: Tips for Bathing Your Newborn

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Hi, my name is Gayle and I'm one of the childbirth educators.

And I'm going to demonstrate today how to bathe your baby. Once you're at home,

you will want to sponge bathe your baby. Using a damp, warm washcloth.

You will only need to bathe your baby, maybe two or three times per week,

but you will be washing face, hands and bottom several times a day.

Get ready before beginning the bath by having all supplies nearby,

including a towel, a fresh diaper and fresh clothing.

If your baby was circumcised,

you will want to have Vaseline and gauze ready to cover the penis.

Check your water temperature. It should feel warm to your elbow.

About a hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep your baby warm and comfortable and make sure the room is warm before

undressing baby,

you can use a towel to cover parts of the baby's body that you're not cleaning

at that moment.

Start at the top or at the baby's face using a washcloth without

soap and wiping from the center of the eye outward then around the

face and the mouth and around the ears.

You can get in the ear canal with your finger,

but nothing smaller than your finger.

You'll notice that your baby has a very small neck.

So in order to wash this area,

you'll support the baby's shoulders with your hand and lift slightly allowing

the head to slightly drop backward,

and then it'll expose the neck and you can wipe with your damp wash cloth.

Wipe down the baby's chest and arms and hands.

To get inside the baby's fist rub the outer part of the hand and the baby will

relax their fingers so you can get inside the palm of the hand.

Then dry baby's face, chest, arms, and hands with a soft towel.

The umbilical cord will be clamped at birth,

but the nurses will remove the cord before you're discharged home.

If they do not remove the clamp,

it's because the base of the cord was not completely healed yet,

but don't worry. There's no nerve endings in the baby's umbilical cord.

So it doesn't hurt the baby to move the cord.

Make sure to keep the cord clean and dry at the base. And when you're diapering,

make sure the cord is exposed to air.

The reason for the sponge bath is to help the cord dry and allow it to heal.

And the cord will fall off anywhere from one to six weeks,

as long as there's no signs of infection. Don't worry about it.

Watch for signs of infection, which should be redness, drainage,

or a foul odor from the cord.

Report any signs of infection to your pediatrician. Once the cord falls off,

the umbilicus will be moist at the center.

Continue giving a sponge bath until the area completely heals and dries.

Remove baby's diaper and use the diaper to remove any stool that may be present.

Making sure to wipe from front to back.

Wash the diaper area with a damp washcloth. Again,

wiping from front to back. You can use a mild soap, but it's not necessary.

Soap may be drying to the baby's skin. For little girls,

It's important to wipe from front to back. For little boys, it's important,

again, wiping from front to back,

but pulling the scrotum to one side and wiping down the skin fold and doing

the same on the other side. If you have a little boy and he's been circumcised,

the head of the penis will look raw and red and the baby may have some

discomfort with diaper changes.

There may be a small amount of blood at first or yellow colored drainage later.

To wash the penis area you can use a wet washcloth and just squeeze

to rinse the penis with the fresh water.

Then apply Vaseline and gauze over the penis.

Vaseline and gauze is recommended for the first 24 hours after circumcision.

After that,

you can just use Vaseline either directly on the penis or on the diaper.

The purpose of the Vaseline is to keep the healing tissue from sticking to the

diaper and pulling it off, causing the baby to bleed.

Continue to use the Vaseline until the circumcised area is completely healed.

Use a second washcloth to wipe down baby's legs and feet and get between the

toes. Then you can turn baby over and wash down babies back.

And now you'll have a better view of the baby's bottom to see any stool you

might've missed and wash it away. While baby is on their back

this is a great time to do some baby massage. With your warm hands,

start at the baby's neck, stroking down all the way to the soles of his feet.

Again, with your hands at baby's neck. Stroke out towards baby's arms,

then turn baby over and you can do the same thing on the front side.

Put a diaper on your baby. And now you're ready to wash baby's hair.

Wrap baby in a towel and hold baby in a clutch hold. Using warm,

clean water cup, your hand,

and pour water over baby's head to wet the hair.

Once the baby's hair is wet,

you can use a few drops of a mild baby shampoo and rub it in to work up a

lather. Don't be afraid to wipe over the soft spots,

or what we call the fontanelles. There's one in front and another in the back.

There's a tough membrane protecting the baby's brain.

So rubbing over during a shampoo will not injure the baby's brain.

Rinse thoroughly, making sure to get all the soap out of your baby's hair,

then use your towel to dry baby's head.

Baby's head is the biggest surface area of their body.

So they lose most of their heat from their head.

So you want to make sure that you're thoroughly dry baby's hair using the towel.

Once it feels dry to your hand, bring baby's head to your cheek.

If it's still moist, you'll feel this more so on your cheek than your hand.

Once your baby's umbilical cord has completely healed,

you can begin giving a tub bath.

You only need about two inches of warm water in the tub.

Check the temperature of the water.

It should be again around a hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Support baby's shoulders and neck with one hand and grasp their legs with the

other and gently lower baby into the bathtub.

Always keep your hand around baby's shoulder and supporting baby's neck

and never leave baby alone in the bath tub.

Once the bath is complete support babies head again with one hand and the other

hand grasp baby's feet to gently lift them out of the tub and place them in a

warm towel and dry. Now you're ready to dress your baby.

Start with the t-shirt, lay it out on a table,

have it open so you can lay baby down on top of the t-shirt so that baby's

shoulder lineup with the shoulders of the t-shirt.

Guide baby's hand through the arm of the t-shirt by putting your fingers through

the arm hole first, grasping baby's fist and guiding it through.

Do the same thing on the other side, and then snap the t-shirt.

Lay the sleeper or sleep sack out and open it up again so that you can lay baby

down, so that baby's shoulders line up with the shoulders of the sleeper. Again,

choose clothing that's easy to dress your baby.

Most parents prefer to use zipper clothing as opposed to snaps.

While baby's napping that's when I can go ahead and do nail care,

and this is the best time because they'll relax their hands and you can just put

your finger inside of their palm of their hand,

let their fingers roll over your finger.

And then you can just use a soft nail file to file their nails.

Thanks for watching. I hope this video has been helpful for you.

Have fun with your baby and enjoy these wonderful times.

If you have further questions, you can call the childbirth education line at

(248) 325-0037.