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How to Wash an Infant

Newborns should only receive sponge baths until their umbilical cords fall off, which typically takes around two weeks. After that, it is perfectly safe to wash your infant in baby tub. Your baby’s skin is delicate, so you’ll need to take special care when washing him during his first year of life.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, infants only need two to three baths each week.


Things You’ll Need

  • Infant bathtub
  • Thermometer
  • Mild baby shampoo
  • Washcloth
  • Towel
  • Baby lotion
  • Diaper
  • Clean outfit


Steps to Wash an Infant

How to Wash an Infant

Fill the infant bathtub with 2 to 3 inches of warm water. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature falls between 90 and 100 degrees.

Gather all of the items you will need to wash and dress your baby and place them within an arm’s reach. This includes a bottle of mild baby shampoo, a washcloth, a towel, a bottle of baby lotion, a fresh diaper and a clean outfit. You should never leave your baby unattended in a tub while you fetch an item.

Remove your infant’s clothing and place her in the bathtub, keeping one hand under her neck and head at all times. She may not like it at first, but over time she will likely come to enjoy it.

Drizzle a little mild baby shampoo on the washcloth and dip it in the bath water. Carefully wash the baby’s face and scalp. You can massage the scalp gently if you need to remove any cradle cap.

Bring the infant forward toward your arm and begin washing her back and neck area. Re-wet the washcloth as needed.

Lay the baby back down in the tub, continuing to hold on to her neck and head. Wash her armpits, arms and torso. Make sure you get the washcloth in between any skin folds.

Wash your infant’s legs and feet before finishing with the genitalia area. Concentrate on cleaning all skin folds, as this is where babies tend to develop rashes.

Rinse any remaining soap off of your baby and remove her from the bathtub.

Lay your baby on the towel and dry her off immediately.

Apply a little baby lotion to your infant’s delicate skin before dressing her in a fresh diaper and a clean outfit.


Tips and Warnings

  • A thoroughly cleaned kitchen sink will work in place of an infant bathtub.
  • Setting the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower is recommended to prevent scalding.
  • Never use bubble bath products or scented soaps on babies under the age of 1. These items can irritate a baby’s sensitive skin.


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