Resources for Parents

Bathing my baby

It is good to set a regular time during the day to give a bath. Until the umbilical cord falls off (one to three weeks of age), you should not put the baby in the tub. You can wash the baby with mild soap and rinse the skin well with a moist wash cloth. We recommend either Johnson & Johnson Baby bar soap or Dove. The liquid soaps are difficult to rinse off and can cause rashes. Ivory soap is often given out at the hospital but it can be very drying to the baby's skin. Never use a deodorant soap. Here are some general tips on bathing your baby.

  • Face—Wash with a baby wash cloth and no soap.
  • Eyes—To clean eyes, use a cotton ball, dipped in clean water (no soap) and wipe the eye from the bridge of the nose toward ear.
  • Nose and Ears—Only cleanse the outer ear with a moist wash cloth. Never use Q-tips in the baby's ears or nose. Clean only what you can see. Do not clean inside the nose.
  • Mouth—Do not clean inside the mouth. We will discuss tooth care at a future visit. If you notice a white coating on the baby's tongue or inside the cheeks, it may be a yeast infection. Call us.
  • Head and Hair—You may wash the baby's hair once or twice a week with baby shampoo. Always rinse the scalp well. If you wash the hair too often you can dry out the baby's scalp and cause flaking. If you notice a greasy, scaly rash on the scalp (cradle cap), call us. Do not use baby oil.
  • Body—Use a mild soap and be sure to wash in all the creases. Always rinse well.
  • Skin Care—The baby's skin will naturally be dry for two to three weeks after birth. You may use small amounts of lotion to help the dryness (Baby Magic, Vaseline Intensive Care, Lubriderm, Moisturel). Never use oil on the baby's skin.
  • Nails—Trim the nails with a fine pair of scissors. You may need to do this as often as once a week.
  • Navel—It is not uncommon to have a little bleeding or oozing from the cord base. Keep umbilical cord remnant clean and dry. If a little bleeding or oozing develops, apply hydrogen peroxide to the remnant base.