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Keeping your baby's skin clean is essential to good health, and bathtime is also a wonderful bonding experience.

Most paediatricians or midwives recommend bathing newborns 2 or 3 times per week, increasing the frequency as your baby gets older. Learn how to keep your baby clean in between baths.

Make sure you have everything you need ready before giving your baby a sponge bath.
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Baby bath or tub, filled with water at a comfortable temperature.

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A large, soft, hooded towel

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A soft wash cloth

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Cotton Squares or balls

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A mild cleanser specially formulated for babies, such as JOHNSON’S® baby TOP-TO-TOE® wash

After bath...
baby sponge bath 1

Moisturising lotion, such as JOHNSON'S® baby lotion or JOHNSON'S® baby oil

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Clean clothing

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Receiving blanket

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Soft brush or comb

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Protective ointment for the nappy area, such as DESITIN® Nappy Rash

How to Give Your Baby a Sponge Bath

Getting Ready

Sponge Bath: Step 1Take a few minutes to talk to your baby and provide reassurance. Now undress them, except for their nappy, and wrap them in a towel.

Wash Her Eyes

Sponge Bath: Step 2Holding your baby's head, gently wash around each eye with a cotton ball or cotton square dampened with warm water. Cotton balls or squares are good to use because they don't shed pieces of lint.
Use a new cotton ball or square for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye, outward. If there is no crust (dried mucus), there is no need to wash the eye area. Do not wash the eye itself.

Wash Her Face

Sponge Bath: Step 3Using a soft washcloth, wipe around your baby's mouth, nose and whole face, working from the middle outward, using only plain water. Pay special attention to behind the ears, under the chin and creases in the neck. Remember: Never put anything into the ear canal or nose. Gently pat dry.

Wash Her Hair

Sponge Bath: Step 4Keeping your baby wrapped in a towel, put your arm under their back and your hand behind their head. With your free hand wet your baby's hair with the washcloth. Apply a small amount of gentle baby wash, such as JOHNSON’S® baby TOP-TO-TOE® wash, which is specially formulated to not sting the eyes, and gently massage over their whole head.
Rinse your baby's hair with water until all the cleanser is removed. Lay your baby down and dry their head gently, then lift the hood of the towel over your baby’s head to keep them warm.

Wash Her Body

Sponge Bath: Step 5Next, wash your baby's body using a gentle, soap-free baby cleanser. JOHNSON'S® baby TOP-TO-TOE® baby wash is mild enough for your newborn's hair and skin:

Keeping their head covered with the corner of the towel, unwrap your baby and remove the nappy. Wet and lather your hand or washcloth and begin to wash the rest of your baby's body. Wash the neck to the waist, including your baby’s arms and hands, and thoroughly rinse and pat dry. Cover their upper body with a towel to keep them warm and move down to their legs, feet and toes.

Remember to rinse and dry well in all the creases, because excessive moisture can lead to skin irritation. Wash the nappy area last using clean warm water: for a baby girl, just wipe the area gently from front to back. For an uncircumcised boy, wash the penis and genital area, avoiding pulling back the foreskin, and also wipe front to back.

Umbilical Cord Care

Sponge Bath: Step 6Before cleaning your baby's umbilical cord, you can put their shirt and nappy on to keep them warm. Remember to avoid covering the cord with the nappy, because the cord area should be kept dry and clean at all times.
Clean around and in the base of the cord with a cotton ball or square. Do not be afraid to clean the cord; the quicker the base dries, the sooner the cord will fall off.


Sponge Bath: Step 7Moisturising your baby is an essential part of their skincare regime. Use gentle products such as JOHNSON'S® baby lotion or JOHNSON'S® baby oil to protect your baby’s skin and keep it healthy looking.

8. Dressing

Sponge Bath: Step 8Before dressing your baby, you can apply mild baby skin care products to moisturise the skin and keep them comfortable JOHNSON'S® baby lotion or JOHNSON'S® baby oil are both gentle and mild enough for your baby.
Now dress your baby and wrap them in a receiving blanket to keep warm. Hold your baby close and enjoy your time together.

Your baby's head has a soft spot (called fontanels) where the skull has not yet fully closed. Having this soft spot allowed their skull to mould during their passage through the birth canal. It is safe to gently touch and wash this area.

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Safe & Snuggly

Wrapping your newborn in a warm blanket after a bath can help them feel safe and secure. Learn the simple steps for swaddling your baby.

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We take great pride in our initiatives that help babies grow up in a healthy community and a healthier world.

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