You’ve probably noticed that your parents spend an awful lot of time cleaning up after the new baby!  Let’s face it, babies are MESSY!  And two of the most important parts of keeping babies clean are bathing and diapering them. Read on to find out more about how to do this!


Sponge Baths

If you’ve ever seen your baby brother or sister without their diaper on, you’ve probably noticed a weird, brown cord sticking right out of their belly buttons.  Gross! Actually, it is the remains of the umbilical cord, which is how the baby got food and oxygen from your mom when she was still pregnant.  Eventually the remains of this cord, called a “stump” will fall off, but until then, your parents will give the baby a sponge bath.  Here’s how it works:

  • Your parents will gather up all the supplies they need, like baby shampoo, washcloths and towels and a pan of warm – but not hot! — water.
  • They will lay the baby on a towel or blanket on the changing table or the bed.
  • Using a washcloth, warm water and gentle soap, they will clean off the baby one area at a time.  Many parents like to do a “top to bottom, front to back” approach to make sure all parts of the baby get cleaned.
  • Usually, when giving a sponge bath, parents will only uncover the part of the baby they are washing at the time. This means the baby will stay mostly wrapped up during the sponge bath and won’t get chilled. Babies get cold easily!
  • If your parents are shampooing the baby, they will put a small drop of baby shampoo on the baby’s scalp, massage the baby’s scalp gently with it, then rinse it off with a damp washcloth.  Sometimes, parents will apply a little lotion to a baby’s skin or put a special cream on their diaper area so that they do not get a diaper rash.
  • After the bath, it’s usually time for a fresh diaper and a new set of clothes!

Tub Baths

No, your parents aren’t going to throw the baby into a great big tub of water in the bathroom, but they will probably buy a small plastic tub that’s just the right size for babies. Once the umbilical stump falls off, babies will be able to take baths here — and it’s more like the kind of tub bath you take before you go to bed at night! Here’s how it usually works:

  • Your parents will get all the supplies they need together and put them near the baby’s tub.
  • They will fill the tub with warm water, probably testing the water first with the inside of their wrists to make sure it is not too warm.
  • They will bring the baby in and undress him completely, then slip him into the tub while making sure his head and neck is supported with their hand.
  • The baby will be washed — again, the “top to bottom, front to back” approach is common — and then rinsed and his face wiped with a clean washcloth.  
  • Your parents will then wrap him up in a towel (usually one with a hood to keep his head covered and prevent him from getting to cold), dry him off, then put him into a fresh diaper and set of clothes.  Again, some parents will use lotion and/or a diaper rash cream before diapering and changing clothes.

Some parents bathe their baby a few times a week and some like to do it every day, especially before bedtime so that it can help their baby to relax and get ready to sleep. Either way is okay, as long as the baby stays clean!


You have probably noticed that your parents change the new baby’s diaper A LOT.  Did you know, on average, a baby will need his diaper changed TEN times every single day?  It’s true!  It’s a skill that parents get good at in a hurry because they get so much practice!  If you’ve ever wondered just how your parents change a diaper, read on to find out more.

How to Change a Diaper

There are actually several ways you can change a diaper, but here is how it basically works:

  • Your parents will gather up all the supplies they need, then lay the baby on his back on the changing table or on the bed on top of a towel or blanket.
  • They will place the clean diaper under the baby so that it is in position when they need it.
  • They will unfold the tabs of the old diaper and pull the front half of that diaper down.  If the baby has pooped, they can used this half of the diaper to clean most of mess up, then fold the diaper in half under the baby, clean side up.   
  • They will wipe the baby down with special wet wipes made just for babies or use a washcloth to clean the baby up.
  • Many parents will apply a cream to the baby’s diaper area to prevent diaper rash.  
  • Parents can then remove the dirty diaper and the fresh diaper will be already in place for them to fasten up before getting the baby dressed again.

As you have probably already guessed, keeping a baby clean is a lot of work! However, as the baby grows and gets to be a big kid like you, he will be able to start doing more things for himself like going to the bathroom and taking the bath on his own — just like you do!