How To Make Your Baby Bath Time A Happy One
Baby bath time is a lot of fun. You must be careful though, to keep them safe while trying to get them clean. When you’re a new parent, the first bath that you give your baby can be a little tricky; but don’t worry; you’ll become a pro in no time! It would be interesting to note that baby bath time is not only about keeping your baby clean. Science, these days, reveals that multisensory experiences are very critical to helping shape your baby’s growing brain. Bath time can prove to be an excellent time that provides opportunities for touch, sight, smell and sound for you to nurture baby’s development. A mother’s gentle and loving touch during the baby's bath and some cuddle time afterward supports the baby’s healthy and happy development. In fact, research also shows that the mother’s (or father’s) touch promotes social-emotional development and even enhances the baby’s motor skills.
How often should you bathe a baby?
If you said "everyday" to the above question, unfortunately you’re wrong! You don't have to bathe your newborn every day. In fact, doing this can just make your baby's skin dry! If you're good at cleaning your baby's face, neck and diaper area, then that would already do. However, you have to try your best to choose a time when you're not in a hurry so you won't be interrupted when cleaning your baby. Most parents bathe their babies in the morning because it is the time when the babies are in good mood. If you are considering bathing your baby after feeding, you have to wait a little bit.
How to bathe a newborn?
Scrub-a-dub-dub for the babies in the tub! For bathing a newborn, use a baby bath sponge with a warm, damp washcloth in the first week and a few days more. Wash their face and hands frequently and thoroughly clean the genital area after each diaper change.
You could gradually move to a tub bath after the stump of umbilical cord dries up and falls off, and the area heals. One of the easiest ways is to use the kitchen sink or even a small baby bath tub that’s filled with warm water.
Babies find the warm water soothing and if this is the case with your baby too, let them linger for a few minutes in the water. Some cry through the whole bath — this is when you'll want to get them in and out. Five minutes is good enough to get the baby clean before the water starts to cool down.
When you are bathing your newborn, you could find it a little scary in the first few times and handling a wet and wiggling soapy little creature takes some practice and confidence. Just stay calm and maintain a good grip.
What's the right temperature for baby's bath?
The water should be comfortably warm and not hot before you put your baby in. Never put your baby in the bath when the water is still running. The water temperature can change quickly. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature. Some thermometers can also be a fun bath toy such as a mat. An ideal temperature would be 98-100 F (or 37-38 C), which is around the body temperature. An easy way to check is to use the elbow rather than your hand to gauge temperature. The water should feel neither hot nor cold.
When can your baby have a bubble bath?
Bubbles definitely make excellent bath time a very fun one for your baby, but you have to avoid it until your baby turns 3. By that time, your baby can tell you if he feels something bad especially when the eyes got irritated. If you’re wondering why this is so, it’s because of the bubbles -- those soaps that are not mild could some infections especially if not thoroughly rinsed off. Plus, the bubbles will also prolong your baby's bath time because of too much enjoyment and this could lead to drying out of baby’s sensitive skin. The average bath time for the baby should be no longer than 10 minutes.
However, if you still want your baby to experience a bubble bath, make sure to use a very mild soap which is specially formulated for infants, as this may not cause any irritation on baby's skin. Don't let your baby soak and stay too much on the tub. Rinse them thoroughly from head to toe with clean water.
Please remember that part of keeping your baby’s bath time fun is making sure your baby is safe. NEVER EVER leave a baby alone in the bath. Not even for a tiny second. So make sure you have all the things you will need for the bath beforehand and let the phone ring over to voicemail.
What are some other benefits of bath time for babies?
So you thought bath time was just to have a clean baby? Apart from the learning factors that we just pointed out, some other benefits include:
- Got a fussy baby? Relax; nothing’s more comforting and calming than a bath for a baby. Give infant massage a try after your baby's bath. Most infants would love it but if you notice that your baby fusses, don’t worry — just try cuddling instead
- Puts them to sleep! If you make bath time a routine before your baby’s bedtime, the warm water works like magic which can put your baby in the great mood to sleep
- It boosts the baby-parent bond. The time spent together, feeling your gentle touch and hearing your voice lets your little one know how much they’re loved
With all the how- to’s we’ve discussed, what if you went wrong with cleaning? It would be best to know how you could go wrong to avoid it! Even though you have taken a class for caring a newborn at a hospital, cleaning and caring for the baby's delicate skin is far way different when it’s your very own baby who's in the bath! Below are a few common mistakes that you might be taking:
- You’re bathing your baby so soon.
- You’re bathing your baby often.
- You’re using so many products.
- You’re not keeping the temperature optimum.
Baby Bath Time Products
Bath Seat for Baby
When your little one is old enough to sit up on their own (that’s usually between 6 and 8 months), they’re too big for a baby bathtub. One option would be to graduate them to a bath seat or baby bath ring. They help keep slippery babies in an upright position, which comes in so handy when your baby is just learning to balance on their bottom and can topple easily. But these aren’t necessary and most parents will manage without them.
Bath Toys for Babies
A little splish and a little splash! Babies, they love playing in the water, well at least most do. You’ll laugh a lot and get relaxed with your little one. Bath can definitely turn any baby's fussy mood to a happy mood! Throw in a few good bath toys into the water and make your baby enjoy. But how would you choose the best bath toys for your baby's age and stage? An infant as young as 3 months old will love some bonding moments with you as they watch bubbles pop, the water pours. A toddler, on the other hand, will be more interested on control and coordination.
Best bath toys for toddlers
- One of the best toys for toddlers would probably be the one that makes learning fun - letters and numbers that can stick to the bathroom walls! This makes it easy to practice ABC's and number recognition while having fun in the tub
- Another fun toy is the Alex Toys Spin and Wash RubaDub Bath Toy - spin the wheel and that body part is washed. It can also give a sense of control to the toddler, thus eliminating bath fights
- Yay for indoor basketball! Munchkin Bath Dunkers Toy Set is great for hand-eye coordination
- Perfect for the little doodlers and wall writers- ALEX Toys Rub a Dub Draw in the Tub
When it comes to cleaning and bathing your baby, there's a wide range of options to choose, be it baby shampoos, soaps, or even body washes. If it’s a soapless cleanser, or an organic wash, or a 2-in-1 product you're looking for, there's something out there for every baby. You’ll need soaps that are not harsh and don’t strip your baby's skin of moisture, and will keep baby's skin soft and supple (like Weleda Calendula Soap). You could also try out Aveeno Babywash and Shampoo that’s made up of natural oats extract; it’s soap-free and won't irritate baby's eyes. If your baby has a case of eczema, it’s Mustela Stelatopia Milky Bath Oil to the rescue! It is fragrance and paraben-free product and is specifically formulated to reduce skin flare-ups.
The time you spend with your little one is precious. Baby bath time is a wonderful time to bond with your precious baby. It is so much more than getting cleaned. It’s a wonderful chance to play, learn, grow and bond with your baby.