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moisturizing soap. Pay special attention to
creases under the arms, behind the ears,
around the neck and in the diaper area.
Also wash between your baby’s fingers
and toes. To keep your baby warm, expose
only the parts you’re washing.
What type of baby tub is
best?
Many parents choose free-standing plastic
tubs specifically designed for newborns.
Others opt for plastic basins or inflatable
tubs that fit inside the bathtub. Lined
with a towel or rubber mat, the kitchen or
bathroom sink might be another option.
Remember, though, safety is the most
important consideration - not necessarily
the type of tub. Gather the same supplies
you’d use for a sponge bath and a cup of
rinsing water ahead of time so that you
can keep one hand on the baby at all
times. Never leave your baby alone in the
water.
How much water should I
put in the tub?
You’ll need only 2 to 3 inches (about
5 to 8 centimeters) of warm water for
a baby bath. To keep your baby warm,
pour warm water over his or her body
throughout the bath.
What about water
temperature?
Warm water is best. To prevent scalding,
set the thermostat on your water heater to
interrupted. Some parents opt for morning
baths, when their babies are alert and ready
to enjoy the experience. Others prefer to
make baby baths part of a calming bedtime
ritual.
Is a sponge bath good
enough?
A baby bath doesn’t necessarily need to
be done in a tub of water. The American
Academy of Pediatrics recommends
sponge baths until the umbilical cord
stump falls off - which might take up to
three weeks. If you’d like to give your baby
a sponge bath, you’ll need:
• A warm place with a flat surface. A
bathroom or kitchen counter, changing
table or firm bed will work. Even a
blanket or towel on the floor is OK if it’s
warm enough.
• A soft blanket, towel or changing pad.
Spread it out for your baby to lie on.
• A free hand. Always keep one hand on
your baby. On a changing table, use the
safety strap as well.
• A sink or shallow plastic basin to hold
the water. Run warm water into the basin
or sink. Check the water temperature
with your hand to make sure it’s not too
hot.
• Essential supplies. Gather a washcloth,
a towel - preferably with a built-in hood
- cotton balls, mild baby shampoo, mild
moisturizing soap, baby wipes, a clean
diaper and a change of clothes.
When you’re ready to begin the sponge
bath, undress your baby and wrap him or
her in a towel. Lay your baby on his or her
back on the blanket, towel or pad you’ve
prepared. Wet the washcloth, wring out
excess water and wipe your baby’s face.
There’s no need to use soap. Use a damp
cotton ball or clean cotton cloth to wipe
each eyelid, from the inside to the outside
corner. When you’re ready to clean your
baby’s body, plain water is usually OK. If
your baby is smelly or dirty, use a mild