1. Parenting

Video:How to Bathe an Infant

with Kathy Moore

Giving a bath to your baby can be a fun and loving experience for you both. Learn how to sponge-bathe a newborn, and also how to bathe an older infant.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Bathe an Infant

Hi! I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Just as we need to be cleaned, so do babies. Bath time can be fun for both you and your child if you are prepared. This program will show some basic tips on bathing an infant.

Bathing Newborns: Sponge Baths

For newborns during the first couple of weeks it is best to give only sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump falls off. After that your baby will need to bathe 2 or 3 times a week as long as you are washing her bottom thoroughly enough during diaper changes. Bathing too frequently can cause dry irritated skin.

Supplies Needed for a Baby Bath

Before you start, make sure you have everything you need. This includes:
  • a baby tub
  • a sponge or small wash cloth
  • baby soap
  • a small bowl or cup
  • a towel
I find putting all the baby's bath items in a plastic box or bucket is handy. Then, everything is close by when I need it.

Find a Secure Location for the Tub

Next, determine where the tub will sit. We use the countertop in our bathroom, but the kitchen table or even the floor is fine. Just be sure the tub is on a flat surface and cannot easily tip over. Finding a warm and non-drafty location is best.

Fill the Bath

Put about 2 inches of water in the tub before you set the baby in. Test the water with your wrist or elbow. The water should be warm and comfortable to the touch, not hot.

Bathe the Infant

Next, take your baby's clothes off and carefully sit her in the tub. Be sure to use one hand to support the baby's head. Use the washcloth to squeeze water over her. Gently wipe the baby from the top down. When washing the head, be sure the soapsuds do not get into her eyes. Gently wash between all those little skin folds and creases including her fingers and toes. Pay special attention to the baby's bottom and watch for signs of diaper rash.

Dry Your Baby

Pat the baby dry with a towel and apply baby lotion as desired to keep the skin from becoming dry and irritated. Be sure to keep your baby covered with the towel until you dress her again.

Infant Bathing Safety

Remember, never leave your baby alone in the water. Do not answer the phone or the door. If you need to, pick up your wet baby and bring her with you. Washing a baby can be a happy time for you and your child if you are prepared and calm. Thanks for watching. To find out more visit us on the Web at parenting.about.com.
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