Giving your baby a bath

Rub-a-dub-dub, your baby’s in the tub! Give your baby a bath every 2 to 3 days. Bathing him more often can dry out his skin.

How do you prepare for bath time?

Collect your supplies:

  • Baby shampoo or soap
  • Wash cloths
  • Towels
  • Clean clothes and diaper
  • A small, plastic tub or a sink for a tub bath

If you need to leave the room to get something, take your baby with you. Babies can drown in just a little water. NEVER leave your baby alone near water!

How do you give your baby a sponge bath?

A sponge bath is when you clean your baby using a wet washcloth without placing him into water. This helps keep the belly button or circumcision dry for healing.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Place your baby on a flat surface, like a changing table.
  2. Undress him and wrap him in a towel.
  3. Use a washcloth in plain water to gently wipe his eyes.
  4. Use a soapy washcloth to clean the rest of his body. Wash one area at a time. Clean between skin folds. Keep the rest of him wrapped in a towel so he doesn’t get cold.
  5. Wash the diaper area last to keep germs from spreading.
  6. Rinse him off with plain water and pat him dry.

How do you care for your baby’s umbilical cord stump?

Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off:

  • Tuck her diaper below the stump.
  • Keep the area clean and dry. If it gets dirty, clean it with a baby wipe or rubbing alcohol.
  • Call her provider if you see signs of infection, like pus or redness, or if she cries when you touch the area.

How do you care for your baby’s penis after a circumcision?

Until your baby’s penis heals:

  • During bath time, wash the penis and diaper area with soap and warm water.
  • For the first few days, put a new bandage on the penis each time you change your baby’s diaper.
  • Use petroleum jelly on the penis or on the part of the diaper or bandage that touches the penis. This helps prevent the diaper or bandage from sticking to or rubbing against the penis.

How do you give your baby a tub bath?

Once your baby’s belly button or penis is healed, you can give your baby tub baths. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a small tub or a sink with 2 to 3 inches of warm water. Use your elbow to check that the water’s not hot. Support her head with one hand and use the other to hold her body as you place her in the tub feet first.
  2. Pour warm water over her so that she doesn’t get cold.
  3. Gently wash her face with plain water.
  4. Wash her body with soapy water.
  5. Use baby shampoo to wash her head. Be careful not to get shampoo in her eyes.
  6. Wash the diaper area last.
  7. Rinse her with warm, clean water.
  8. Wrap her in a towel and pat her dry.


Last reviewed: November, 2011

Rub-a-dub-dub, your baby’s in the tub! Give your baby a bath every 2 to 3 days. Bathing him more often can dry out his skin.

How do you prepare for bath time?

Collect your supplies:

  • Baby shampoo or soap
  • Wash cloths
  • Towels
  • Clean clothes and diaper
  • A small, plastic tub or a sink for a tub bath

If you need to leave the room to get something, take your baby with you. Babies can drown in just a little water. NEVER leave your baby alone near water!

How do you give your baby a sponge bath?

A sponge bath is when you clean your baby using a wet washcloth without placing him into water. This helps keep the belly button or circumcision dry for healing.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Place your baby on a flat surface, like a changing table.
  2. Undress him and wrap him in a towel.
  3. Use a washcloth in plain water to gently wipe his eyes.
  4. Use a soapy washcloth to clean the rest of his body. Wash one area at a time. Clean between skin folds. Keep the rest of him wrapped in a towel so he doesn’t get cold.
  5. Wash the diaper area last to keep germs from spreading.
  6. Rinse him off with plain water and pat him dry.

How do you care for your baby’s umbilical cord stump?

Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off:

  • Tuck her diaper below the stump.
  • Keep the area clean and dry. If it gets dirty, clean it with a baby wipe or rubbing alcohol.
  • Call her provider if you see signs of infection, like pus or redness, or if she cries when you touch the area.

How do you care for your baby’s penis after a circumcision?

Until your baby’s penis heals:

  • During bath time, wash the penis and diaper area with soap and warm water.
  • For the first few days, put a new bandage on the penis each time you change your baby’s diaper.
  • Use petroleum jelly on the penis or on the part of the diaper or bandage that touches the penis. This helps prevent the diaper or bandage from sticking to or rubbing against the penis.

How do you give your baby a tub bath?

Once your baby’s belly button or penis is healed, you can give your baby tub baths. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a small tub or a sink with 2 to 3 inches of warm water. Use your elbow to check that the water’s not hot. Support her head with one hand and use the other to hold her body as you place her in the tub feet first.
  2. Pour warm water over her so that she doesn’t get cold.
  3. Gently wash her face with plain water.
  4. Wash her body with soapy water.
  5. Use baby shampoo to wash her head. Be careful not to get shampoo in her eyes.
  6. Wash the diaper area last.
  7. Rinse her with warm, clean water.
  8. Wrap her in a towel and pat her dry.


Last reviewed: November, 2011