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How to Give a Baby a Bath

Let me be very honest, just about the first time I’d ever held a baby–a real infant, was when my first daughter was born. They thrust this tiny crying, red, wrinkly, adorable, little, swaddled package at me and I thought, “Oh no!”

Well, I thought something very much along those lines. I was so panicked beforehand about the responsibility, I had practiced everything about 50 times with my mom to make sure I wouldn’t mess-up anything. Except bathing the baby.

You really can’t pre-practice bathing a baby. Now that I’m on baby #2, though, I feel more confident in How to Give a Baby a Bath and I’m going to share so maybe you will be, too.

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What You Need to Give a Baby a Bath

  • Tub or sink or bucket
  • Baby soap
  • 4-6 washcloths
  • 2 baby towels
  • 1 mommy towel
  • Moisturizing cream — I use Mustela Stelatopia to help keep baby’s skin from drying-out
  • Clean outfit for baby (and maybe one for mommy in the event of a splash-plosion)
  • Ducky or other toy to give baby something to do while you bathe him
  • Water
  • Oh, and baby
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How to Give a Baby a Bath

Fill the tub about halfway with lukewarm water. This should be the same temperature as the bottles you feed baby or skin-temperature, meaning you shouldn’t feel warm or cold when the water is dripped on the inside of your wrist.

Place a dime to quarter-sized amount of soap on 3 of your four washcloths.

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Strategically place baby towels so that you can place baby on them immediately when baby comes out of tub.

Strategically place duckies in the tub for baby to play with.

Disrobe baby.

Place baby in tub sitting up, with head supported (conveniently, I have provided a picture of the way I do it).

Using the washcloth with NO soap on it, take one corner and wash one of her eyes very gently. Turn the washcloth to the next corner and wash her other eye. Turn to the next corner and wash one of her ears. Turn to the final corner and wash her other ear. Using the center of the washcloth, wash her forehead, cheeks and chin.

Using one of the washcloths with soap on it, gently wash baby starting with her neck and moving down. Be sure to get in all the chubby wrinkles. When you get to her bum, switch to the second washcloth with soap on it and finish washing baby’s body with that.

Using the last washcloth with soap on it, wash baby’s hair.

Cupping your hand, rinse baby from head to toe, being very careful not to get water on her face.

Place baby on the first towel and dry her, paying special attention to her hair.

Move baby to the second, dry towel and place her on it. Apply the cream, being sure to rub it in so it penetrates his skin.

Put baby’s diaper and clean outfit on.

And enjoy that clean-baby scent (because it won’t last long).

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