Newborns don't need bathing often. They don't get dirty in the way older, crawling babies do. You can keep your baby clean and fresh by 'topping and tailing', also known as a sponge bath. It's also handy for older babies if you are away or even if you just run out of time for the full bath routine.
Topping and tailing step by step:
- Wash your hands. Lay your baby on her back, either on your lap, a changing mat or somewhere dry and clean. For an older child have them sit on your lap or stand next to you.
- Undress her but leave the diaper on.
- Wipe her face, neck and ears with a damp wash cloth or cotton wool.
- Then gently wipe her dry with more cotton wool or a dry cloth.
- If your baby has a 'sticky eye' clogged up with dried mucus, then very softly wipe each eye from the inside corner to the outside using a tiny piece of cotton wool dipped in cooled, boiled water. Make sure to use a separate piece of cotton wool for each eye and wipe only once with each ball.
- Now wipe her underarms and hands with the cotton wool or the damp wash cloth and dry gently with a towel.
- Take off the diaper. If you have a newborn, then wash off any dried discharge that may have come out from her cord stump.
- Wash her bottom and the genitals carefully and pat dry.
- Follow this up with a gentle massage with baby lotion to soothe and relax your little one for her bedtime.
- Finally, place a soft, clean diaper on your baby and dress her up.
These simple steps are sure to keep your baby feeling fresh without causing any discomfort to either one of you.