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Home : Specialty Care : Newborn Intensive Care Unit : At Home Preemie Care

At Home Preemie Care

Newborn Intensive Care Unit

202 S. Park Street
Madison, WI 53715
NICU: (608) 417-6215 or
1-800-261-2229
General Information: (608) 417-6000
Location: Meriter Hospital - 7 North

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Bathing a Preemie

You do not have to bathe your baby every day if you are keeping the diaper area clean with each diaper change. Baby's skin can dryout very quickly if bathed too often. A complete bath 1 or 2 times a week is sufficient.

Should I wash my baby's face?

Your babies face should be washed every day with a wash cloth and warm water. Pay attention to the folds under his chin where milk may collect. Most babies do not like to have their face washed and will wiggle and squirm. It helps to do one side of his face at a time, trying not to completely cover the face all at once.

How do I clean my baby's nose?

Wiping your baby's nose with a soft tissue will usually help remove extra secretions. If you have a bulb syringe be sure to push the air out of the bulb before gently inserting the very tip of the syringe into the nose. You do not want to use any force or squeeze the air into your baby's nose.

How to Bathe Your Baby

1. Find a warm area in your house and assemble necessary supplies:

  • a baby bathtub or basin
  • a towel to place your baby on
  • a towel and 2 washcloths to use for bathing
  • mild soap and baby shampoo
  • a clean diaper
  • clean clothes and blanket

2. Fill the bathtub with warm water. Always test it with your wrist to make sure it is not to hot.
      
3. Keeping the baby dressed or bundled, take the washcloth and wet it, squeezing out the excess water. Gently wash one side of the face at a time, remembering to wipe the eyes from the nose outward. Use the towel to dry gently.
    
4. Use the washcloth to wipe the outer folds of your baby's ears and behind the ears.
      
5.While still bundled , hold baby in the football hold and wet your baby's head with the washcloth and water. Using a small amount of shampoo massage your baby's head with your hand or a soft baby brush. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with the towel.
       
6. Laying your baby on the counter in front of you, remove blanket, clothing and diaper. Clean the diaper area with the washcloth or diaper wipe before placing your baby in the bathtub. If your baby has a difficult time adjusting to the bath, remove all your baby's clothes and diaper. Bundle him/her in the blanket again and place the baby, blanket and all, into the bathtub. After a short time you can begin to loosen or remove the blanket.
       
7. Holding your baby's head in one hand and washing your baby's body with soap and the second clean washcloth can be difficult. If you can have someone helping you it will allow you to hold on to the baby with both hands, while they wash the baby. Baby bathtubs may be made with one end in an upright position thus allowing you to lay the baby in the tub and use both of your hands to bathe the baby.Another way that may be helpful is to leave your baby lying on the towel and bathe your baby leaving the diaper area last.
          
8. After drying your baby's skin, place clean diaper and clothes on and bundle in a blanket.

Things to remember when bathing your baby

  • Always check the temperature of the water.
  • Never leave your baby to get supplies or answer the phone or door.
  • Wash under your baby's chin in the folds of the neck.
  • Check your baby's skin for any changes.
  • Oils, lotions and powder are not recommended for use on your baby.
  • It may help to pick a quiet part of your baby's day to do the bath.
  • Remember to wash your baby's face and hands daily.