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Narrator: If you want to give your newborn a bath before her umbilical cord stump falls off, make it a sponge bath. You'll clean your baby without putting her in the water.
Midwife Miriam Maldonado shows new parents how to give their newborn a sponge bath.
Midwife Miriam Maldonado: You can give the baby a bath in a flat surface like a changing table or in a baby bathtub.
Narrator: First, make sure the room is nice and warm. Then, gather all your supplies.
- cotton balls for the eyes and ears
- cotton swabs for the umbilical stump
- several small washcloths for the face and diaper area
- two larger washcloths to clean and dry the body
- a brush for cleaning the scalp, if you want
- mild baby shampoo or soap, if you want
- a cup for rinsing hair, if you'll be washing it
- a bowl or two of warm water for wetting the washcloths and washing hair, and
- a baby towel with or without a hood.
You'll also want a clean diaper and a change of clothes for afterward.
If you're using a baby bath tub, place a towel over it instead of filling it with water.
If you're using a flat surface, lay a towel down to make it comfortable. If the surface is elevated – like a changing table – make sure to keep one hand on or near your baby to prevent a fall.
Place your baby on the towel and undress her, but leave the diaper on for now. To keep her cozy, you can wrap her in the towel.
Start with the eyes. Wet a cotton ball in warm water and squeeze it.
Midwife: You can use a cotton ball to clean the eyes, and gently from the inside of the eyes moving in slow motion to the outside of the eye.
Narrator: Use a fresh cotton ball for each eye.
If you're using a washcloth, use a clean spot each time, slightly wetting it before cleaning each eye.
Follow the same procedure for the ears, cleaning outside and behind, with a damp cotton ball or a washcloth.
Find a clean spot in the washcloth and clean the outside of the nose, and with another clean spot, the corners of the mouth.
Get a new damp washcloth and gently clean the rest of the face and the forehead. You don't need to use soap for the face.
With the dry part of the washcloth, dry the face.
If you want to use soap for the body, place just a little bit of mild baby soap on a damp washcloth.
Lift your baby's chin and gently wipe her neck. Continue with the shoulders, underarms, and arms, getting in all the creases. Don't forget to clean in between the fingers.
Midwife: You go down to the chest and to the belly. If the baby's cord is still attached, do not touch the cord.
Narrator: Clean around the stump area with a damp cotton swab or washcloth and let it air dry. Don't use soap on the stump.
Midwife: Continue to the legs and on to the feet, and you can do in between the toes.
Narrator: After washing, use a clean, damp washcloth to remove the soap, then dry with a dry washcloth.
Turn your baby gently to one side, or place her on her belly to clean her back.
Then clean your baby's genital area. Take the diaper off, and using a new wet washcloth, clean between the rolls and creases, finding a clean spot on the washcloth each time.
If your baby is a girl, make sure to clean her from front to back.
Clean your baby's bottom, then dry the area and put on a clean diaper.
To wash your baby's hair, you can just brush it with some water, using circular motions. Or you can use a bit of baby shampoo. Use a brush or your fingers to massage your baby's scalp. To rinse, hold her with her head over a bowl of warm water. Rinse with a cup of water, or with your hand.
Dry her head, dress her, and you'll have a clean and relaxed baby – probably ready for a good sleep.