Another important tip: Gather supplies first!
Here is a screen shot of the supplies used in the video Sponge Bath. Having all of the supplies you need at your fingertips allows you to work easily and confidently, and helps you keep your baby warm. A warm baby is a happy baby, and keeps bath time fun!
Build a Pallet
Fold a baby towel (or absorbent baby blanket) so that it’s ready to use for swaddling your clean baby at the end of the bath (before the hair wash) and cover it with a waterproof pad to keep it dry during bathing. You can see a small part of the green pad in the picture, and of course the baby towel is protected and hidden.
Fold one adult bath towel and place it on top of the pad to provide the soft and absorbent area where your baby will lie during bathing. Be sure to leave room on the waterproof pad to place used wet washcloths. Your pallet is complete!
Towel for Baby
You will need a small towel for covering and drying your baby during the bath.
Any baby soap you choose for hair and body is good. You can get baby shampoo and baby body soap separately, or purchase a combined head-to-toe baby soap. The choice is yours.
Baby washcloths are gentle on your newborn’s skin because they are softer. You will need 6-8 of them for each bath so that you can just grab a new cloth for every step (wash/rinse/wash/rinse etc.) and not worry about trying to get the soap out of the washcloth for rinsing. This method will remove more soap from your baby’s skin and will keep your basin of water relatively clean for more effective rinsing.
Diapers and Wipes
Have 2 diapers ready, the extra one is just in case. Baby wipes should be used to clean a dirty baby bottom. You will wash this wiped-clean bottom with baby soap and water during the bath. Keeping baby stool out of your bath water is a measure of safety.
Change of Clothes
Clean clothes picked out and at your fingertips make it easy for you to dress your baby right away. You guessed it … getting dressed will help keep your baby warm too, the key ingredient for happy bathing.
Basin of Water
For your baby’s comfort consider preparing the warm water last, just prior to getting your baby. Warm bath water is essential.
Because it’s worthy of repetition, your baby will be happier if you set up the bath in a warm spot in your home. It just might be the kitchen!
Once you know how to do the sponge bath the tub bath comes easily.
For you and yours,
D. Fravert, RN
The video demonstration for a newborn sponge bath is available in Newborn Baby Manual.