You don't need to be stressed every time you bathe your little one. Make bath time bonding time and you'll forget whatever fears or worries you may have!
New mom, first baby. It may truly be daunting to think about, because you’ll be doing everything thing for the first time in your entire life. Even if you’ve done it before, it may be intimidating to think that you’ll now be caring for your own baby. What if you make a mistake?
Don’t worry or fear. It’s your child that you’re care for, that’s why you’ll sure do what’s best of him or her, right?
Here are 7 things you can do to make bath times fun and stress-free for both you and your baby.
1. You don’t have to be alone
Perhaps you want to prove you can do it all on your own. Don’t worry about what others will think. Just think about the many friends and relatives who are ready to help you, even if it’s just for the first few days or weeks. Bathe your baby with the help of your husband, your baby’s grandparents, or anyone willing to be with you during the first few baths.
2. Pick a time and stick to that schedule
Newborns are usually bathed in the mornings, but some parents prefer to do it at night. It all depends on the routine you will establish for you and your baby. Just remember to bathe your baby when she’s well rested and not hungry. Avoid bathing right after breastfeeding to avoid your baby from throwing up.
Whatever time you choose, stick to that schedule, and bathe your baby at the same time each day. Making this a part of your daily routine or schedule will lessen stress on both of you because you know when to anticipate and prepare when the next bath time will be.
3. Use bath items meant for babies and stock up on these items
List down items you’ll need in bathing your baby and choose baby-friendly products. Before you begin your bath ritual, make sure all the items you’ll need are complete and stored in one place, like a basket or plastic container.
Remember not to bathe your baby for too long, to keep him from getting too cold. All the items you’ll need must be within reach, so you don’t have to keep going out to get them.
So what are the most important things you’ll need? Baby lotion, soap, shampoo, powder, baby oil and cream. Use a sponge, washcloth, baby towel, and after your baby turns a month old, mild baby cologne. It doesn’t have to be organic, though this is also a good option.
Prepare cloth or disposable diapers and baby clothes to dress your baby quickly to keep her warm. Don’t forget a simple toy (that’s not a choking hazard) to keep your baby entertained, or relaxing music in the background.
4. Start slowly
Though you need to make bath times quick, don’t start it suddenly. Just dab a small amount of water onto your baby’s head and body. If your baby still has an umbilical cord, or if she’s just a few days old, don’t fully submerge her in the tub yet. Use a a small plastic basin, wash cloth or sponge.
Focus on cleansing your baby’s head, neck, armpits, and other folds that may be prone to sweating. Wrap your baby in a towel with only their head exposed because this is the first part you’ll bath and dry quickly.
During your baby’s first week, don’t use shampoo first. Soap will suffice. After bathing their head, wrap your baby and pat dry their skin.
Remember: USE WARM WATER and not cold water when bathing your baby.
5. Prepare “bathtime gear”
Once your baby is a few months old and has gotten bigger since birth, you can start using a portable bath tub designed for babies. There are also baby bath mats you can purchase for babies who can’t sit up on their own just yet. Some parents opt to set down towels to keep babies from slipping off.
6. Maintain the right temperature
You don’t need a lot of water to bathe your little one. Remember that your baby is sensitive, so make sure that both the room and bathe water are NOT COLD. It’s important to note that warm water can easily cool if you have airconditioning. Make sure to check before bathing.
You should also take into consideration that what’s warm for you, may be too cold for your baby. Use your elbow to check the water temperature. Or if you’re using a baby bath thermometer, water should be less than 90 degrees (Farenheit).
You can also use baby oil to warm them after their bath. This not only warms them, but helps improve their body’s circulation.
7. Expect your baby to be fussy
Especially in the first few weeks, expect your baby to be fussy or cry because she’s still getting used to bathing. This is why she may still not be used to the process. Your baby’s first bath should be quick. This is why you need to have all the items, essentials, and clothes on hand to make sure the process is fast and efficient.
Use the toy you have by your side to entertain your baby. Sing and gently sway your baby, and make sure she feels your warm, gentle touch to calm her. Remember that crying is normal when you’re just starting to bathe her. Once your baby gets used to your routine, she’ll learn to enjoy it until she grows up. All the tears will soon be replace by the priceless giggles and laughter of your precious baby.
According to a US study, bathing your baby is important because it offers a lot of benefits, especially to your baby’s development. Based on their research, they found that 84% of parents believe that bath time is one of the best times to strengthen the bond of baby, mom, and dad, most specifically during the first three years of a child’s life.
Not only is it essential for cleanliness and hygiene, it’s also vital to a baby’s emotional and cognitive development.
Every thing a parent does with their child is a learning moment, especially if it’s an activities that makes use of the senses or feelings. Even something as simple as playing with soap bubbles can be like a little science experiment for your fast developing little one.
As they say, feeling their mother’s (and father’s) loving touch is one of the most important experiences for a child. When it comes to bathing, your baby feels this tender touch, which makes it a great opportunity to bond and let them feel your love.
This article was translated from the original Filipino version written by Anna Santos Villar. Minor edits have been made.