When And Why Babies Should Get A Sponge Bath
The American Academy of Pediatrics says to give your baby a sponge bath until the umbilical cord stump falls away.
The average amount of time it takes for this to happen is 2 weeks, but sometimes the cord may fall off a little earlier or later. Anywhere between 5 to 15 days after your baby is born is typical, according to a 2016 study .
Your baby might also need a sponge bath if theyve had any kind of surgical procedure and have stitches or bandages on their skin.
Make a sponge bath easy and fun by having all your supplies on hand before you start. Heres a list of what youll need:
- a large bowl of warm water
- two towels
Now the fun starts. If youre in the bathroom, you can warm up the air by letting the warm water run for a few minutes.
Then, follow this step-by-step guide for a clean and happy baby:
Step : Wash Babys Lower Body
More gentle wiping, soap as you see fit, around the legs, buttocks and private parts .
Dont forget that cute butt crevice! Another place that can become sore if missed. Either lift baby high up by holding her legs and reach all the way under or hold her over your arm on her front, so you can see exactly what youre doing.
Follow any specific instructions your pediatrician gave you regarding care of the umbilical cord.
When Should You Bathe A Newborn Before Or After Feeding
Babies only need a bath 2 or 3 times a week, but if your baby really enjoys it, you can bathe them every day. Dont bathe your baby straight after a feed or when theyre hungry or tired. Its a good idea to give a baby a bath at the end of the day. This helps to set up a bedtime routine.
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How Often Should You Bathe A Newborn
For newborns, a sponge bath one to three times a week should be sufficient. Babies dont need to be bathed that often, Williamson says. Newborns dont really get dirty. Keep in mind that you shouldnt fully immerse baby in water until the umbilical cord falls off. For circumcised baby boys, sponge baths should continue until their penis is healed.
Jacoba C. waited several weeks to give her daughter her first newborn bath at home, and rarely washed her after that. She was so clean and smelled so good, I didnt see any reason to, she says. Of course her diaper area was getting cleaned all the time, and I made sure to wipe down all the little fat roll crevices under her neck and behind her knees regularly.
Some parents prefer to give regular baths as part of a bedtime routine, which is fine as well. Baths can help soothe babies who are fussy and be part of a healthy sleep regimen, says Sabrina Fernandez, MD, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital San Francisco.
How To Sponge Bathe A Newborn
Your baby’s umbilical cord will fall off about two weeks after delivery. Until then, parents must sponge bathe their newborns. A sponge bath is also necessary if his circumcision incision hasn’t yet healed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bathing your newborn about three times per week.
Set everything you’ll need within arm’s reachsoap, washcloth, cotton balls, towel, diaper, change of clothesso you can keep all hands on Baby. Start by cleaning the face with damp cotton balls or washcloths. Focus on the eyelids, working from the inside to outside corner, and use a separate cotton ball for each eye. Also clean outside of Baby’s ears with a damp cotton swab .
Wash your baby’s body with a damp washcloth and a few drops of mild soap. If your baby’s hair seems dirty, wet it down using a damp washcloth and the same mild soap.
When you’re done bathing him, quickly wrap him up in the towel so he doesn’t lose too much body heat. Dry him thoroughly, being sure to get into the creases, before you diaper and dress him.
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When Should Newborns Get Their First Bath
It used to be the thing that newborns were whisked away almost as soon as they landed in the arms of the midwife and the cord was cut. Not anymore.
Well, at least thats no longer the recommendation, so, if your baby is yet to arrive, its worth checking what the hospital policy is on this and letting the midwife and doctors know what you want to happen.
According to the World Health Organization a newborn should not be bathed until at least 24 hours after birth. And theres no harm in waiting longer.
Preparing To Give The Bath
When Is The Best Time Of Day To Give Your Baby A Bath
There is no one perfect time to give your baby a bathâitâs your decision. Choose a time when youâre least likely to be interrupted and when your baby is calm.
You may like to give your baby a bath in the daytime because sheâll naturally be more alert. Or, you may give your baby a bath at nighttime as part of her bedtime routine.
If you plan to give your baby a bath after feeding her, wait a while to ensure her tummy has had a chance to settle.
How To Wash & Clean A Newborn Baby Girls Private Parts
Learning how to bathe a newborn includes knowing exactly how to clean those delicate private parts. Whether a boy or girl, start by loading up some cotton wool with warm water and squeezing out the excess.
For a newborn baby girl hold the labia apart with your fingers and gently wipe. Just like when using the toilet, make sure you wipe from front to back.
Try to wipe away any excess diaper creams as you dont want these to accumulate excessively. However, dont worry too much about cleaning away any vaginal discharge, which is perfectly normal this can be left.
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How Many Times Do You Need To Bathe A Newborn In A Week
Other than the diaper area and around the mouth and chin, newborns dont really get dirty, so daily bathing isnt necessary. Breathe a sigh of relief if youre wondering how to pack all the baby jobs in.
So just like not hurrying your newborns first bath, dont go overboard with routine bathing when it comes to how often to bath baby, 2-3 times a week is plenty.
Be sure to wipe away any spit-up and give those nether regions a good cleanse when changing diapers.
You dont need to bathe baby everyday. However, if you want to, as part of a bedtime routine, you can, as long as you dont use soap every time. Overwashing with soap can dry out and irritate a newborns delicate skin, hence the 2-3 times a week guideline.
How To Give Your Baby A Bath
Get everything ready before you start your baby’s bath:
Ensure that all the supplies you need like shampoo, soap, a hooded towel, and a cup for rinsing are within armâs reachânever leave your baby unattended in the bath, so make sure you have everything you need on hand, including your babyâs fresh change of clothes
Make sure the room is warm before undressing your baby.
Follow these step-by-step guidelines for bathing your baby:
Line a sink or baby bathtub with a towel, and fill it about 2 inches full of warm water âtest it with your elbow or the inside of your wrist to make sure itâs not too hot
While supporting your babyâs head with your non-dominant hand, use your other hand to guide him into the water feet first. Youâll want to do this swiftly so he doesnât get cold, and youâll want to make sure his head and most of his body are above the water level
Wash his body from top to bottom with clear water, and, if you prefer, a mild baby soap. Keep him warm by pouring warm water over his body using a cup. Use a soft cloth to wash his face
If he has hair, itâs enough to shampoo once or twice a week. When you do, massage a drop of mild baby shampoo into his scalp, even the soft spots of his head. Be careful not to get any soapsuds or shampoo in his eyesâcup your hands over his forehead when rinsing his head. If some soap or shampoo does get into his eyes, go ahead and wipe them using a cloth dampened with clear water.
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When To Start Using Baby Soap & Shampoo When Bathing A Newborn
Firstly, do you even need to use soap when sponge bathing a newborn with umbilical cord still attached? The answer is probably not and if you can do without then so much the better the longer you wait until introducing soaps and products to your newborns delicate skin the better.
However, if a drop of mild soap means you can avoid rubbing a dirty diaper area too vigorously, then that could be the better option.
When Will Your Baby Be Ready For His First Tub Bath
After your babyâs umbilical cord stump falls off, you can transition from sponge baths to actual baths in a sink or a baby bathtub.
His first bath in a tub should be gentle and quick however, you might need to go back to sponge baths if your baby fusses a lot and simply doesnât like this new activity.
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Some Recommended Creams For Moisturizing Your Newborn Post Sponge Bath
Again, just like when choosing baby soap, avoid perfumed lotions and creams and avoid nasties such as phthalates, parabens, dyes and other chemicals. So try:
- petroleum jelly recommended by pediatric dermatologists above lotions and moisturizers designed specifically for babies according to this article from Web MD
- lanolin-based creams, such as this nipple cream its 100% natural and extremely moisturizing so also ideal for your newborns dry skin .
How Often To Bathe A Newborn According To Pediatricians
- The World Health Organization recommends that parents wait 24 hours to give their baby its first bath.
- After that, pediatricians recommend no more than three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
- For the first two weeks, or so, pediatricians recommend sponge baths.
- This article was reviewed by Sara Siddiqui, MD, who is a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone.
Your baby is finally here and it is now up to you to set a routine for their day-to-day life.
This includes bathing. But when, how often, and how to bathe your child isn’t as obvious as you might think. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your baby clean, healthy, and happy.
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What Is A Sponge Bath
A sponge bath is when you wash each part of your babys body separately, with baby laying on a towel, rather than in a tub.
Sponge baths are often recommended for newborns who still have their umbilical cord stump if theyve undergone a medical procedure and have stitches or bandages that cant get wet, or for babies who are too small or delicate for a full bath.
Traditionally, a tepid sponge bath was said to help reduce fever in babies, but this is not always the right, or only, course of action necessary.
Can You Bathe Your Baby While The Umbilical Cord Stump Is Still Attached
A sponge bath is as simple as wrapping your baby in a towel, and wiping her with a damp washcloth and soapy water. Youâll want to do this on a comfortable surface such as a changing table. Keep your baby wrapped in the towel, bathing one part at a time.
The umbilical cord stump typically falls off in a few weeks. If it stays on longer than that, you might want to check with your babyâs healthcare provider.
Youâll want the umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off on its own, which is why only sponge baths are recommended until that time.
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