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Tub Bathing Your Baby
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
You may tub bathe your baby after his umbilical cord falls off. If your baby was circumcised, wait until the area has healed before you bathe him in a tub. Use a baby bathtub or clean, plastic basin for the first 6 months. Wait to bathe your baby in an adult bathtub until he can sit up without help. Bathe your baby 2 or 3 times each week during the first year. Bathing more often can dry out his delicate skin.
How to give your baby a tub bath:
- Keep the room warm: The room should be warm and free of drafts. Close the door and windows and turn off fans to prevent drafts.
- Gather your supplies: Make sure you have everything you need within easy reach. This includes baby soap or shampoo, a soft washcloth, and a towel.
- If you use a baby bathtub or basin, set it inside an adult bathtub or sink: Do not put the tub on a countertop. The countertop may become slippery and the tub can fall off.
- Fill the tub with 2 to 3 inches of water: Always test the water temperature before you bathe your baby. Drip some water onto your wrist or inner arm. The water should feel warm, not hot, on your skin. If you have a bath thermometer, the water temperature should be 90°F to 100°F (32.3°C to 37.8°C). Keep your household hot water heater temperature set at less than 120°F (48.9°C) to prevent burns.
- Slowly put your baby's body into the water: Keep his face above the water level at all times. Support the back of his head and neck if he cannot hold his head up. Use your free hand to wash your baby.
- Never leave your baby alone during a tub bath: Your baby can drown in 2 inches of water. If you must leave the room, wrap your baby in a towel and take him with you.
- Wash your baby's face and head first: Use a wet washcloth and no soap. Rinse off his eyelids with water. Use a clean part of the washcloth for each eye. Wipe from the inside of the eyes and out toward the ears. Wash behind and around your baby's ears. Do not put cotton swabs in his ears because it can damage them. Wash your baby's hair with baby shampoo 1 or 2 times each week. Rinse well to get rid of all the shampoo. Pat his face and head dry before you continue with the bath.
- Wash the rest of your baby's body: Start with his chest. Wash under any skin folds, such as folds on his neck or arms. Clean between his fingers and toes. Wash your baby's genitals and bottom last. Follow instructions on how to wash your baby's penis after a circumcision.
- Rinse the soap off and dry your baby: Soap left on your baby's skin can be irritating. Rinse off all of the soap. Squeeze water onto his skin or use a container to pour water on his body. Pat him dry and wrap him in a blanket. Do not rub his skin dry. Use gentle baby lotion to keep his skin moist. Dress your baby as soon as he is dry so he does not get cold.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.