Newborn Sponge Bath


Your newborn needs to have a sponge bath. Don’t give your baby a tub bath until the cord (navel), and a boy’s circumcision have healed. It isn’t necessary to bathe your baby every day, unless you really enjoy it. Clean the genital area at each diaper change, then sponge bathe the baby. Every other day is probably adequate in the summer and once or twice a week during winter months. 

Get together everything you need before you start the bath. Do not leave your baby alone on the changing table, counter top or tub. Even a newborn baby can move more than you realize and could fall to the floor. Plan the bath in a warm area, free of drafts, so your baby doesn’t get too cold. 

Rather than get “goose pimples”, if a newborn gets cold, his skin will become mottled or splotchy in appearance. Newborns frequently do not like the experience of the sponge bath and often cry vigorously. Don’t jump to the conclusion that you are doing anything wrong, or that you’re hurting the baby. Try putting a towel on the baby’s body, then uncover only the part you’re sponging. Cover the wet part again. This may help keep your baby warmer, and perhaps less fussy. Baby probably will be less fussy if he isn’t really hungry or overfull from just being fed. 

Items you will need for a sponge bath: 

  • Basin or sink for water
  • Mild soap
  • Warm, draft-free area (bathroom, kitchen)
  • Cotton Balls
  • Something to wrap baby in (blanket or towel)
  • Alcohol/Q-tips (cord care)
  • Wash Cloth
  • Clean change of clothes/diapers

Check the water temperature with elbow or wrist: The water should be about body temperature – too cool nor too warm. You can add warm water if needed.  

Undress Baby: Leave the diaper on, as this will prevent wet surprises. Wrap baby in a towel or blanket. 

Eyes: Dip a fresh cotton ball in the warm water, squeeze out excess water. Wipe each eye from the inside corner (next to the nose) to the outside corner. Use a clean cotton ball for each eye.  

Nose: Cleanse gently just inside nostrils. Hold baby’s head firmly. Don’t drop water inside baby’s nose. 

Ears: With a washcloth, gently wash around the outside of baby’s ear and behind the ear. Don’t clean the baby’s ear canal, and never put anything into the ear canal to clean it. 

Face: With a soft, washcloth, squeeze out excess water. Wash baby’s face and pat dry to prevent chilling. Do not use soap on the face. 

Hair: To shampoo your baby’s hair, hold your baby by placing your arm under baby’s back and your hand behind the head. Tilt the head so water will run off the back of the head instead of down the face. Squeeze water from the washcloth over the baby’s scalp. With your free hand, wash the hair and scalp with mild baby shampoo or baby liquid soap using a circular motion. To rinse, squeeze plain water from the washcloth onto the head until all the suds are gone. Babies’ heads sweat easily, so you may need to wash your baby’s hair daily, to prevent cradle cap. 

Body: Remove the diaper. Soap the rest of the body. Be careful not to get the unhealed navel or circumcision wet. Clean the folds of skin (thighs, groin) well. Squeeze plain water from the washcloth over the baby to rinse the soap off. Pat dry baby with a towel. 

Cord: Lift cord and cleanse base with alcohol saturated Q-tip or cotton ball

If your child is seriously ill, please call us directly at (512) 458-5323

If your child is seriously ill, please call us directly at (512) 458-5323