Newborn babies are very delicate and giving them a bath for the first time may be daunting. Newborn babies are given sponge baths if the stump of their umbilical cord has not fallen off yet. It usually shrivels and falls off one or two weeks after birth. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to bathe a newborn baby. 

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How to bathe a newborn baby

The bath process is relatively easy and should only take about 5 to 10 minutes. It is normal for babies to cry during bath time the first few times because this is a relatively new experience for them. You can sing to them or include bath toys to calm them down.

Assemble all necessary items

It is important to have everything within reach before you begin the process. You will need:

  • A towel
  • A soft washcloth
  • A warm basin of water

Having these things ready reduces the time the baby will be exposed to cold.

Find a comfortable surface

Next find a safe and comfy surface where the baby can be placed for his/her sponge bath. You can place the new-born on a bed, a changing table or even the floor. However, make sure hard surfaces are padded with blankets or thick towels for added comfort.

If you decide to wash the baby on a raised surface, hold the baby safely in place and do not leave them there unattended to go look for something. If you have to go, wrap them and take them with you or assign a trusted person that duty.

READ ALSO: How to deal with vaginal discharge in new borns


Begin bathing the new-born

  • Cover the baby with a dry towel and uncover only the parts that you want to wipe. This method helps to keep the new-born baby warm.
  • Dampen the washcloth and begin with the baby’s face.
  • Wipe the baby’s eyes, beginning from the bridge of the nose going towards the corners of the eyes.
  • Wipe the folds of the ears and do not insert any earbuds or cotton swabs into their delicate ears. Proceed to wipe the baby’s body from the neck going downwards.
  • Thoroughly wipe the creases on the baby’s body like behind the knees, under the arms and within folds. If it’s a baby girl, wipe the genital area from front to back.
  • Prevent water from getting on the stump of the umbilical cord as it will delay the drying process or even cause infections.

Dry them

Gently pat-dry any wet areas on your baby’s body. Put on the diaper and warm clothes. New-born babies do not need to have baths frequently the first few weeks. Baths can occur thrice a week. However, always keep diaper areas clean.

When the new-born baby’s umbilical stump has dried and fallen off, you can begin giving him/her baths with water.