Sponge-Bathing Your Baby

4 min read

A baby doesn’t get dirty or sweats profusely like an adult and that’s why a baby’s bath doesn’t have to be as rigorous as an adult’s bath. Experts and specialists recommend giving sponge baths to newborns and infants, especially till the umbilical cord falls off. Also infants have extremely delicate and sensitive skin during the first month hence sponge bathing is your best bet. Plus, new mothers can be scared of bathing their baby everyday, especially if the weather is cold and sore. Though bathing your baby regularly will make him stay clean in hot and humid weather, sponge bathing is highly recommended if your baby is sick.
Sponge bathing baby

Before Sponge Bathing Your Baby

Before giving your baby a sponge bath there are a certain things that you should keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before bathing your baby. Infants are highly prone to infections, hence washing your hands before touching a baby is crucial
  • Irrespective of the weather, always use lukewarm water to wash or bathe your baby. Cold water can give your baby flu or cold
  • While handling and bathing your baby make sure that you are gentle. Babies don’t need to be scrubbed since they don’t get dirty. Also they have sensitive skin and their body needs to be handled delicately
  • Always use mild shampoos and soaps. It is recommended that you use shampoos and soaps made specifically for babies. Another thing to keep in mind before purchasing these products is to make sure they are paraben free, alcohol free and have no perfume.
  • If your baby is premature, he doesn’t need a bath often. Premature babies have extra dry skin and bathing them regularly can damage their skin and cause irritation
  • Make sure you don’t take a long time to bathe your baby, your baby might catch cold if exposed to water for a long time. If you are sponge bathing your baby in a room, ensure that it is comfortably warm
  • It is a good practice to use separate washcloths for each area such as one for the bottom, one for the head, one for those tiny weeny legs and one for the face

Sponge bathing is a pretty simple technique to keep your baby clean and fresh. We bring you 10 steps that will make sponge bathing your baby super easy.
Cleaning the baby

10 Steps To Sponge Bath Your Baby Easily
    1. Step 1: Sponge bathing can be done anywhere just make sure the area is spacious and not cramped and the room in which you are sponge bathing needs to slightly warm
    2. Step 2: Bring out all the things you might need like soap, washcloth, sponge, soft towel, clothes, diaper, cotton pads etc and keep them together. You cannot be running to get things while leaving your baby unattended
    3. Step 3: Lay your baby on a flat and clean surface, preferably on a soft mat (durrie or chatai) And keep the bucket of lukewarm water close by. Make sure to check the water temperature before bathing your baby. Always, always keep one hand on your baby. Let your hand act as safety belt for the baby
    4. Step 4: Moisten the cotton pads and gently clean your baby’s eyes with it. Even if there are stubborn specks stuck in the eyes, use a gentle hand to take them out. Then take cotton pads or wet wash cloth and wipe your baby’s face, neck and ears. Make sure you do not insert anything in the nose or ears just wipe the ear lobes and nose gently
    5. Step 5: Moisten another wash cloth or sponge and wipe down your baby’s limbs. Make sure to clean between the finger webs, toes, and elbow and knee creases. Also make sure you wipe down the armpits as well. These folds of the skin are often sweaty and dirty and easy to miss out
    6. Step 6: Take a fresh wet wash cloth and gently wipe down your baby’s torso. After sponging the front part, that is, the shoulders, chest and stomach gently turn the baby and wipe down the back as well
    7. Step 7: Take some clean and fresh cotton balls or pads and moisten them. Very gently wipe down the baby genitals and bottom but only from the outside. If your baby boy has been circumcised you need to be extra careful. Don’t push the foreskin and just clean the surface gently

Bathing a newborn

  1. Step 8: Take another fresh cotton ball and clean the umbilical stump lightly and gently. It is advisable to consult a doctor, he or she will guide you accurately how the umbilical stump needs to be cleaned. Click here to read on taking care of the baby’s umbilical stump
  2. Step 9: If you want to wash your baby’s hair while sponge bathing. You can pour a little lukewarm water on your baby’s head and massage gently. You also use a mild shampoo if you wish, but dilute the shampoo with water. Apply the diluted shampoo and rinse your baby’s head with minimal water until it is thoroughly clean. Be extra careful while massaging the fontanels or the soft spots on the baby’s head and make sure you don’t apply pressure on them. Read more on soft spots on your baby’s head here
  3. Step 10: Once you are done with sponge bathing your baby. Take a fresh soft towel and dry your baby. Make sure you wipe the underarms, inner highs, neck etc thoroughly but gently. If your baby’s skin feels dry you can apply a mild baby cream and if the weather is warm you can dab some baby powder on your baby before putting on the clothes and you are done

If you have a maalishwali who is bathing the baby, it might be a good idea to keep a watch on her so that she does not apply too much pressure and cleans the folds of the skin which generally are sweaty and go unnoticed.
Is it safe to use baby powder for your baby? Find out here.

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