Y Parenting


How To Give A Newborn A Sponge Bath? A Quick Guide 2022

It might be told you when you give birth to your baby, to give him a sponge bath every week before the baby’s umbilical cord falls. So, we will tell you how to give the newborn a sponge bath.

Your newborn does not play in the yards yet but he needs a bath to get clean and smell good. So, the world’s leading hospitals recommend giving sponge baths 2 to 3 times per week until the baby’s umbilical cord stump falls.

Since newborns can not get a regular baby bath, learn about giving a sponge bath to them. When you hear the word ‘sponge bath’, you may have many questions in your head.

For example, What exactly is the sponge bath? How to give a newborn a sponge bath? Why you should sponge-bathe your baby? Etc. Don’t worry, just go through this article and you will get answers to your queries.

What new parents must know?

What Is A Sponge Bath To A Newborn?

The first newborn bath is a sponge bath. A sponge bath is one in which the baby is lying on the towel rather than in a tub and you are washing all the parts of the baby’s body. This type of bath is recommended for babies with the umb- cord, stitches, or bandages, or babies who are weak and delicate.

Like all other firsts, it’s also the most exciting and special event. Every time you bathe your newborn, it’s time for developing a strong bond with your young one. Bathing is the most instinctive part of newborn baby care. Sometimes, a bath is given to the baby when he is suffering from a fever_ ‘tepid sponge bath’ usually helps reduce fever in babies.

Sponge Bath vs Other Baths


This newborn bath is different from regular baths. Here, as the baby can’t support himself a little and can not sit in the tub on his own, you have to wash or clean all his parts by making him lay on the towel.

In a sponge bath, you wash and rinse one section of the body at a time. While in the regular bath, your newborn can sit in the tub with warm water and shiny bubbles. You have to give a sponge bath to your baby for only a few weeks after birth.

When And Why Babies Should Get Sponge Baths?

Babies need a sponge bath at the start of their life for only a few weeks. After a few weeks, the baby can get a traditional regular bath. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, young babies do not need much bathing if you wash their diaper area thoroughly during a diaper change.

Your baby may start smelling bad if not given a sponge bath. You need to wash your baby 2 or 3 times a week with clean water. After the umb- cord falls, you can give a regular bath to the newborn. But bathing a baby too much can make his sensitive and delicate skin dry out.

Method Of Giving A Sponge Bath To Your Newborn:


What you will need:

Before making your baby ready for having a first sponge bath, make sure that you have all the supplies that are needed. Here is the list of the things you will need before starting:


  • baby bathtub
  • warm water
  • gentle baby soap
  • two washcloths
  • two towels
  • baby wipes
  • cotton balls
  • clean diapers
  • clean clothes

Steps For A Sponge Bath To A Newborn

So, is your baby getting ready to take a cozy water sponge bath? It’s bath time!

Get the camera ready for the photo shoot, as bathing your baby is the most exciting event.

Make the air a little warm in the bathing area by making the warm water run for a while. Make sure that all your supplies are near you.

Here are the steps which may help you, how to give a child a sponge bath.

1- Provide Reassurance:

Firstly, talk to your baby. Convince him or make him ready to go through the process of bathing so that he may not weep and enjoy his first bath. Undress him, and get your baby wrapped in the soft towel on his back. Use another towel to cover the baby.

2- Wash your baby’s Eye-area:

Use cotton balls to clean your baby’s eyes. Put the cotton balls in warm water and clean each eye properly and gently wipe from the inner corner of the eye. Use a different cotton ball for each eye. Do not wash the eye itself.

3- Wash Baby’s Face and ears:

Now it’s the turn for washing the baby’s face and ears. Take a soft washcloth damped in warm water and wipe your baby’s neck, face, and ears. Clean the area properly behind the ears, under the chin, and all the creases in the neck. Keep in mind, do not put anything in the ear canal or the nose.

4- Wash your baby’s hair:

Now put a few drops of mild baby shampoo on the damp washcloth and try to gently wash your baby’s hair head properly. Hold the baby safely in one hand to support the baby’s head and gently massage the head with your other hand for a few minutes. You can use any shampoo that can suit your baby’s hair and head skin. After you have done with the cleansing of the head, put a hooded towel on the baby’s head and let it warm.

5- Wash the other baby’s body parts: 

Then wash the other body parts of your baby by using a well trustworthy company’s baby shampoo product i.e. JOHNSON’S® HEAD-TO-TOE® Baby Wash and Shampoo. Move the wet washcloth all around the body parts one by one. Avoid using a washcloth hard, so that it may not leave rashes on the baby’s skin.

Uncover the baby’s one body part at a time for washing while covering the other parts in the towel. Pay full attention to the creases under the arms, the diaper area, and the area between the fingers and the toes.

6- Take care of the Umbilical cord:

While washing and cleaning other baby’s parts, take care of the umbilical cord stump. It should be kept dry because it is a sensitive area and you should do anything with it. Just clean the area around the cord with help of cotton, if you see any blood or secretion in that area, and then gently pat. Do not get nervous or afraid while cleaning the umb- cord area.

7- Wrap the baby and Use Moisturizer:

Now, you are done bathing in the bathroom. Get the baby wrapped in a clean, dry towel and move him to a flat surface in a warm room.

Then make the baby dry with the help of a dry towel and apply a moisturizer. The moisturizer would not let your baby’s skin dry out. You can use products such as JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion or JOHNSON’S® Baby Oil that keep your baby’s skin moisturized.

8- Dress up your little one:

And the last step is to dress up your baby. Use a fresh diaper and dress him up. Put the baby in the blanket after this, so that it may keep the baby warm after taking his first bath.

Keep your baby close to you and enjoy time together!

Safety Tips To Give The Newborn A Sponge Bath


Here are the safety tips you should keep in mind when giving a sponge bath to your baby.

  • Make sure you never take your hands off the baby when giving a sponge bath to your baby, even if you are trying to reach the supplies.
  • Never ever leave your baby in the bathroom alone. Even an inch of water can be proven dreadful for your newborn.
  • Put the water in the small tub for bathing. Use mild water, not hot water. First, add cold water in the tub then add hot water, and then check the water temperature with your hand, is it suitable for your baby or not?
  • The temperature of the air where you are going to give your little one a sponge bath should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You should clean only those parts of your baby that you can see. Never ever try to put cotton swabs into the nostrils or ear canal.
  • Be careful while handling the umbilical cord. It is the most sensitive area and it should be kept dry when giving a bath to your baby.
  • Wait for the baby’s umb- cord stump to fall before giving him a traditional bath in a tub.
  • Remember, the baby does not need to be bathed every day. This daily bathing can make your newborn sick or can cause dryness of the baby’s skin.

Your Child is the most valuable treasure for you. Adapt the above safety tips and tricks when giving a sponge bath to your newborn.

Sponge Bath For a Baby’s Fever


Do you know, a sponge bath is a trick to reduce your baby’s fever? This bath may be given if:

  • If your baby is suffering from a high fever i.e 40 degrees Celcius/ 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If your newborn is very uncomfortable.

In this condition, do not panic or get stressed. What you need to do is to give your baby an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Don’t give your child more than the maximum dose mentioned on the label.

But don’t use these medicines for your newly born child if not recommended by your doctor. Wait for almost 30 to 40 minutes to see if the medicine worked or not to lower your baby’s temperature.

If not, then the one thing you can do is to give a sponge bath to your baby which usually works to lower the fever. This is true sometimes but not always.

Give a sponge bath to your baby by following the steps below:

  • Use lukewarm water of approximately 33°C.
  • Sponge for almost 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Stop if the child starts to shiver.

If giving a sponge bath also does not lower the baby’s body temperature, seek medical attention then in any children’s hospital. If your baby doesn’t like the sponge bath or doesn’t feel better after the bath, there is no need to give another one.

Frequently Asked Questions_FAQs:

1- When can I stop giving my little one a sponge bath?

You only have to give your newborn a sponge bath until the umb- cord falls which usually happens by about 2 or 3 weeks of age. After that, you can start regular traditional bathing.

2- Is a sponge bath safe for newborns?

Yes! A sponge bath is 100% safe for your newborn. Although it is not a complete replacement for a regular bath, it is a great option to make the baby clean, odor-free, and fresh. Giving your baby a sponge bath is healthy and prevents newborn skin infections from bacteria or other infections.

3- What should I do if my baby’s umbilical stump gets wet when giving him a bath?

While giving a sponge bath to your baby, the umb- cord gets wet. You need to use a cotton swab and clean the base of the umb- cord with help of mild baby soap or warm water. Gently clean and rinse the area.

However, if the wet umb- cord leaves wet unnoticed, it may cause an infection. Also, use a clean diaper to prevent infection.

4- What is the purpose of sponge bathing?

Bathing removes dirt, perspiration, sebum, and some bacteria, and slough off dead skin cells. It helps to keep the baby safe and remove irritating substances or bacteria on the skin that may transform into an infection if the baby is not given a sponge bath in the early days of his life.

5- How many towels are used in tepid sponging?

Tepid sponging is a procedure that is used mostly to reduce the fever of babies. To carry out this procedure, you need to take 5 sponge towels.

Final Thoughts:

Are you a new parent and getting hesitant to give your baby a sponge bath, your baby’s first bath? Do not worry, the above-mentioned steps and tips and tricks will help you and your newborn go through this procedure. But one thing, don’t just clean your baby, enjoy this bath time with your infant. Cuddling with him while giving him a bath will surely make the bonding strong with your baby.

You and your baby will really enjoy this occasion, your baby’s first bath. So get ready with your little one to enjoy this most enjoyable and fascinating adventure.


Leave a Reply