April 25, 2024

Sponge Baths: How to Sponge Bath a Newborn

 Sponge Baths: How to Sponge Bathe a Newborn Bathing a newborn can be a nerve-wracking experience for many new parents. Until the baby’s umbilical ...

Sponge Baths: How to Sponge Bath a Newborn

 Sponge Baths: How to Sponge Bathe a Newborn

Bathing a newborn can be a nerve-wracking experience for many new parents. Until the baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, sponge baths are the recommended way to keep your little one clean. Sponge baths are not only safe but also a gentle way to bond with your newborn while keeping them clean and comfortable. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to give a newborn a sponge bath effectively and safely.

Preparing for the Sponge Bath

What You Need:

  • A warm, flat surface in a warm room.
  • A soft, clean washcloth.
  • A basin of lukewarm water.
  • Mild, unscented baby soap (optional).
  • A towel, preferably with a built-in hood.
  • A clean diaper and clothes.
  • A blanket to keep your baby warm.

Preparation Steps:

  1. Choose a Warm Room: Make sure the room is warm (around 75 degrees Fahrenheit) to prevent your baby from getting cold.
  2. Gather Supplies: Have all your supplies within reach so you can keep one hand on the baby at all times.
  3. Prepare the Water: Fill a basin with warm (not hot) water. Test the water temperature with your elbow or wrist—it should be warm, not hot.
  4. Lay Out the Towel: Place a towel on the flat surface where you will lay your baby.

Giving the Sponge Bath

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Undress Your Baby: Keep your baby wrapped in a towel, exposing only the parts of the body you are washing to keep them warm.
  2. Start with the Face: Wet the washcloth and wring out excess water. Gently wipe each area of your baby’s face. Use a different part of the cloth for each eye, wiping from the inner corner to the outer corner.
  3. Clean the Ears and Neck: Use the washcloth to gently wipe behind the ears, the outer ear, and the neck folds. Avoid putting anything into the baby's ears or nose.
  4. Wash the Body: Uncover each part of the baby’s body one at a time for washing. Apply a small amount of baby soap to the cloth if needed. Gently wash the chest, stomach, arms, and legs. Pay special attention to the folds under the arms, behind the knees, and in the groin area.
  5. Back and Buttocks: Turn your baby onto their stomach on the towel to gently wash their back and buttocks. Be sure to support their head and avoid pressing down on their back.
  6. Rinse and Dry: After washing each area, make sure to gently rinse off any soap with a second damp cloth, and then quickly pat dry with the towel to keep your baby warm.
  7. Diaper and Dress: Once your baby is dry, immediately put on a clean diaper and dress them. Babies can cool down quickly, so it's essential to keep them warm and snug.

Tips for a Successful Sponge Bath

  • Keep it Quick: A sponge bath should be quick to keep your baby from getting too cold.
  • Talk and Sing: Keep your baby calm and engaged by talking or singing gently during the bath.
  • Frequent, Light Baths: Newborns don't need frequent full baths. Sponge baths two to three times a week are usually sufficient unless they get particularly dirty.


Sponge bathing a newborn is a special time for bonding and can be a soothing experience for both the baby and the parent. By preparing well and following these steps, you can ensure that your baby remains safe, warm, and clean. Remember, every baby is different, and it’s important to stay calm and adapt to your baby’s needs and responses during bath time.

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Updated: May 29, 2024