Giving a Sponge Bath

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Giving a Sponge Bath

Guiding Your Child Through The Infant Year
Bathing Your Baby
Giving a Sponge Bath
Giving a Sponge Bath
Learn how to give your baby a sponge bath.
InteliHealth Medical Content
The Infant Years



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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Giving a Sponge Bath

You can give your baby a sponge bath on a changing table, on the counter next to the sink, in a bassinet, or even on your lap. Choose a place that will be comfortable for you and warm enough for your baby. Before you begin, gather all the necessary supplies: a soft washcloth or sponge, cotton balls, gentle soap, baby shampoo, warm (but not hot) water and a dry towel. Never leave your baby unattended, even for a moment, on a changing table or other raised surface.

    • First clean the ears, eyes and nose with a cotton ball that has been dipped in warm water without any soap and wrung out. Soap is NOT recommended on the face because it can irritate your baby's eyes and nose. Wipe around the eyes but do not wipe across them. Clean your baby's outer ears, but do not clean inside the ears (and do not use cotton-tipped swabs inside the ear canal).

    • If your baby seems cold or uncomfortable being naked, wrap him in a towel and only uncover the body parts you are washing. Then gently pat these areas dry before covering them again.

    • Use a "tear-free" baby shampoo or mild soap to wash your baby's scalp and hair. Support her head with one hand while using the other to wash the area gently. You will only need a pea-sized dab of shampoo. Wipe off the suds with a damp cloth then fold back the outer ear to cover the ear canal and rinse carefully with a small amount of water. Do not pour any water over your baby's face.

    • Wipe the mouth, chin and folds of his neck with a wet washcloth. Next wipe his chest, arms and hands, and then pat dry. Turn your baby on his side or tummy to wash the back. Pat these areas dry and then put on a clean shirt. Wipe legs and feet; don't forget behind the knees and between the toes.

    • Save the diaper area for last. Remove the diaper and wash her genitals and bottom. Girls should always be wiped front to back: from the vagina toward the rectum (where a bowel movement comes out). Dry well before putting on a fresh diaper.

Visit our slide show to see how to give your baby a sponge bath .



ear canal,nose
Last updated August 12, 2014

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