Bathing and Dressing Your Baby
Never leave your baby alone in water – not even for a second. That’s why it’s so important to assemble all the items you’ll need for your baby’s bath before you begin. Babies chill easily, so make sure your room is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and free of drafts.
Before your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, sponge baths are your best option for keeping that area as dry as possible. After your child’s cord falls off, you may bathe your baby in a sink, basin or tub. Consider using a towel beneath your baby to prevent slipping.
During bath time, begin by washing your baby’s face with a soft washcloth using clean water. Start at the inner corner of one eye, wiping to the outside corner. Then, repeat with a clean area of the washcloth on the other eye. You can then finish washing the rest of your baby’s face and neck.
On your baby’s body, you can use a mild soap. Two to three times a week, use baby shampoo applied with a soft bristle brush and massage the scalp, including the fontanel or “soft spot” on your baby’s head. This will help prevent a buildup of dead skin and oil, which can cause a scalp condition called “cradle cap,” a yellowish cap of crust. Unless your pediatrician instructs you to do so, refrain from putting oil on your baby’s scalp.
Newborns have soft fingernails, so it may be easiest to file them when your baby is asleep. Nail clippers and scissors aren’t recommended until your baby is older. You can ask your pediatrician when it’s safe to make the switch.