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Bathing and Skin Care

Proper bathing and skin care for your newborn:

A newborn's skin is soft and delicate. Proper skin care and bathing can help maintain the health and texture of the baby's skin while providing a pleasant experience for both of you.

Contrary to popular thought, most babies do not need a bath every single day. With all the diaper changes and wiping of mouth and nose after feedings, most babies may only need to be bathed two or three times a week or every other day.

Baths can be given any time of day. Bathing before a feeding often works well. Many parents prefer to bathe their baby in the evening, as part of the bedtime ritual. This works well especially if bath time is relaxing and soothing for the baby.

Sponge baths are required at first. Bathing in a tub of water should wait until the baby's umbilical cord falls off, and a baby boy's circumcision heals, to prevent infection.

What equipment is needed for bathing newborns?

How to give a sponge bath:

How to give your newborn a tub bath:

Once your baby's umbilical cord has fallen off and the stump is healed, and after a boy's circumcision has healed, you can give your baby a tub bath. This can be a pleasurable experience for you and your baby. However, some babies may not like to be bathed, especially the first few times. Talk softly or sing and try some bath toys if your baby protests.

What equipment is needed for a tub bath?

When bathing your baby in a tub:

Providing proper skin care for your newborn:

A baby's soft and delicate skin needs special care. Generally it is best to use products made especially for babies, but your baby's physician can advise you about other products. Products for adults may be too harsh for a baby and may contain irritants or allergens. Many parents like to use lotions for the sweet baby smell. However, unless the baby's skin is dry, lotions really are not needed. Powders should be avoided, unless they are recommended by your baby's physician. When using any powder, put the powder in your hand and then apply it to the baby's skin. Shaking powder into the air releases dust and talc which can make it hard for the baby to breathe.

Many babies have rashes and bumps that are normal. Some rashes may be a sign of a problem or infection. Diaper rash can be irritating to the baby and needs to be treated. If you have concerns about a rash, or your baby is uncomfortable or has a fever, call your baby's physician.

Laundry detergents may cause irritation to a baby's delicate skin. Even if you use a detergent marketed for baby laundry, it is a good idea to rinse the laundry an extra time to remove residues.

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