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Step by step: How to Bathe Your Baby

  1. Gather all your bath supplies (including mild soap, a washcloth, and a plastic cup), and lay out a towel, a clean diaper, and clothes. Make sure the room is comfortably warm so your baby doesn’t get chilled.
  2. Fill the tub with about 3 inches of water that feels warm, but not hot, to the inside of your wrist—about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) or a few degrees warmer.
  3. Bring your baby to the bath area and undress her completely. (TIP: If your baby cries through every bath, leave the diaper on at first. It can give her an increased sense of security in the water.)
  4. Gradually slip your baby into the tub feet first, using one hand to support her neck and head. Pour cupfuls of bath water over her regularly during the bath so she doesn’t get too cold.
  5. Use mild soap and use it sparingly (too much dries out your baby’s skin). Wash her with your hand or a washcloth from top to bottom, front and back. Start by washing her scalp with a wet, soapy cloth. Rinse the soap from the cloth and use it to gently clean her eyes and face. If dried mucus has collected in the corners of your baby’s nostrils or eyes, dab it several times to soften it before you wipe it out. As for your baby’s genitals, a routine washing is all that’s needed.
  6. Rinse your baby thoroughly with cupfuls of water, and wipe her with a clean washcloth. Then very carefully lift her out of the tub with one hand supporting her neck and head and the other hand supporting her bottom. Wrap your fingers around one thigh. (Babies are slippery when wet.) If it’s possible, have another adult help by receiving your baby in a dry towel.
  7. Wrap your baby in a hooded towel and pat her dry. If her skin is still peeling from birth, you can apply a mild baby lotion after her bath, but this is generally dead skin that needs to come off anyway, not dry skin. Then diaper her, dress her, and give her a kiss on her sweet-smelling head.