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Baby Bathtime

So you've just brought your squirmy little bundle home from the hospital. Until his umbilical cord falls off (in about a week) you should sponge-bathe him every other day. Nervous? Tips to help you handle it like a pro:

Get set

Choose the right time: when he's rested, calm, and his tummy isn't too full.

Gather your gear  -- two towels, two bowls of warm water (one clear, one sudsy), and a pair of washcloths.

Find a place with a wide, flat surface (a changing or dining table is good, but you can even sit down and throw a towel over your lap).

Dive on in

1. Keep a firm grip on your infant, supporting his neck.

2. Lay one towel on the bathing surface, then wrap your baby in the other. Expose one body part at a time and clean it using a sudsy washcloth, then "rinse" it with a damp, soap-free cloth. Dry the area and cover up your baby again. (Avoid the cord area.)

3. To wash his head, take the soapy washcloth (wring it first to avoid dripping in his eyes) and gently sweep his head front to back a couple of times. Then rinse with the other cloth.

4. Gently wipe his diaper area, using the same soapy-cloth/soap-free-cloth technique. Don't worry about missing a spot; your baby's not really dirty. These first baths are about getting him used to water  -- and the two of you getting used to each other.

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