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Keeping your baby's skin clean is essential to good health, and bath time is also a wonderful bonding experience.

Most experts recommend giving your newborn a sponge bath 2 or 3 times per week. Learn how to keep your baby clean in between baths.

Preparing for Your Newborn’s Bath

Make sure you have everything you need ready before bathing your newborn:

Be sure to keep these after bath time necessities handy, too...

How to Give Your Newborn a Sponge Bath

  • 1 Provide Reassurance

    Take a few minutes to talk to your baby about their day as you prepare for the transition to bath time. Now undress their, except for their diaper, and wrap their in a towel.

  • 2 Wash Your Newborn’s Eye Area

    Holding your baby's head, gently cleanse around each eye with a cotton round or cotton square dampened with warm water. Cotton rounds or squares are good to use because they don't shed pieces of lint. Use a new cotton round or square for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye, outward. If there is no crust (dried mucus), there is no need to wash the eye area. Do not wash the eye itself.

  • 3 Wash Your Newborn’s Face

    Using a soft washcloth, wipe around your baby's mouth, nose and whole face, working from the middle outward, using only plain water. Pay special attention to behind the ears, under the chin and creases in the neck. Remember: Never put anything into the ear canal or nose. Gently pat dry.

  • 4 Wash Your Baby’s Hair

    Keeping your baby wrapped in a towel, put your arm under their back and your hand behind their head. With your free hand wet your baby's hair with the washcloth. Apply a small amount of gentle baby wash, such as JOHNSON'S® HEAD-TO-TOE® Baby Wash and Shampoo, which is specially formulated to not sting their eyes, and gently massage over their whole head. Rinse your baby's hair with water until all the cleanser is removed. Lay your baby down and dry their head gently, and lift the hood of the towel over their head to keep their warm.

    Your baby's head has soft spots (called fontanelles) where the skull has not yet fully closed. Having these soft spots allowed their skull to mold during their passage through the birth canal. It is safe to gently touch and wash these areas.

  • 5 Wash Your Newborn’s Body

    Next, wash your baby's body using a gentle, trusted, soap-free baby cleanser. JOHNSON'S® HEAD-TO-TOE® Baby Wash and Shampoo is mild enough for your newborn's hair and skin: In fact, it's used by more hospitals for bathing newborns than any other branded baby wash.

    Keeping their head covered with the corner of the towel, unwrap your baby and remove their diaper. Wet and lather your hand or washcloth and begin to wash the rest of your baby's body. Wash the neck to their waist, including their arms and hands, and thoroughly rinse and pat dry. Cover their upper body with a towel to keep their warm and move down to their legs, feet and toes.

    Remember to rinse and dry well in all the creases, because excessive moisture can lead to skin irritation. Wash the diaper area last using clean warm water: for a baby girl, just wipe the area gently from front to back. For a baby boy, also wipe from front to back. For uncircumcised boys, gently wash the penis and genital area, avoiding pulling back the foreskin.

  • 6 Umbilical Cord Care

    Before cleaning your baby's umbilical cord, you can put their shirt and diaper on to keep their warm. Remember to avoid covering the cord with the diaper, because the cord area should be kept dry and clean at all times.

    Clean around and in the base of the cord with a cotton round or square. Do not be afraid to clean the cord.

  • 7 Moisturize Your Baby’s Skin

    Moisturizing your baby is an essential part of their skin care regime. Use gentle products such as JOHNSON'S® Baby Lotion or JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil to protect your baby’s skin from dryness and keep it healthier.

  • 8 Dress Your Newborn

    Make sure your baby is fully dry before dressing. Now dress your baby and wrap their in a receiving blanket to keep their warm. Hold your baby close and enjoy your time together.