Top and Tail
Young babies don’t need bathing very often. They don’t get dirty in the way older, crawling babies do. You can keep your baby clean and fresh by ‘topping and tailing’, also known as a baby sponge bath. It’s also handy for older babies if you are away or even if you just run out of time for the full bath routine.
All the ingredients you’ll need:
- Either washcloths, cotton wool or two soft clean cloths
- bowl or sink of warm water
- hand towel for drying
- a fresh nappy and clean clothes, if necessary
- bin or bucket for waste.
How to top and tail:
- Wash your hands. Lie your baby on his back, either on your lap, a changing mat or somewhere clean, dry and warm. For an older child have them sit on your lap or stand next to you.
- Undress him, leaving his nappy on.
- Wipe your baby’s face, neck and ears with a damp WashCloth or cotton wool.
- Dry with more cotton wool or a dry cloth.
- If your baby has a ‘sticky eye’, clogged up with dried mucus, wipe each eye from the inside corner to the outside, using a piece of cotton wool dipped in cooled, boiled water (use a clean piece of cotton wool for each eye and wipe only once with each ball).
- Now wipe his underarms and hands with a washcloth, cotton wool or the cloth, and dry with a cloth or towel.
- Take off the nappy. With a newborn, wash any dried discharge that may have come from the cord stump.
- Wash the bottom and the genitals well. Wipe girls from front to back. Pat dry.
- Massage your baby with baby lotion to soothe and relax your little one for bed time.
- Place a clean nappy on your baby, and dress him.
See more tips on changing a nappy.
For more information see Baby Care
Last Published* December, 2022
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.