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Bath time for baby

Babies love water! After all, they were swimming in a sea of amniotic fluid for 9 months before being born. Here’s how to enjoy a splashing good time with baby!

Many new mums find bath time daunting because baby’s umbilical cord is still attached and it is difficult to handle baby, especially when he is all wet and slippery.

However, with some practice, most mums will start looking forward to bath time as it not only keeps baby clean and smelling fresh, but also provides mother and baby a perfect time to bond.

Before you get started, here are three golden rules for a splashing good time:

  • Get everything ready. Be sure to have a towel, baby’s fresh clothes, baby-care products, nappy or diaper. Turn off the air-conditioner or fan and have everything within reach when baby has had his bath.
  • Never, ever leave baby alone in the bath. Do not leave your baby’s side, even for a few seconds. Babies can drown in just 15 centimetres of water. If the phone rings or you need to attend to something urgently in the kitchen, wrap him up and take him with you.
  • Relax and enjoy the experience. It stresses baby if you try to do too many things at the same time such as putting a pot on the stove, talking on the phone, lowering the volume on the television, removing laundry from the washing machine, etc. Let everything else wait.

Many babycare books provide a step-by-step description on how you should bathe your baby; usually starting by washing his face and hair before dipping his body into the bath tub. There are no real hard and fast rules, as you will find out from experience.

What really matters is knowing the basics:

Keep the water warm.
Even on a really hot day, your baby needs to be bathed in warm water as his little body can get cold very quickly. Test the water temperature with your hands before putting baby into the tub.

Use baby soap.
Soap is not really necessary although it does keep baby sweet-smelling for a longer time afterwards. Use hypo-allergenic baby soap and be careful not to splash any soap into baby’s eyes.

Hold baby properly.
The right way to hold baby during bath time is to have him slung over one arm, leaving the other hand free to splash water, rub baby soap and reach for the dry towel when you are done. It takes some practice but will be a breeze once you get used to it.

Keep bath time short.
Much as your baby seems to be enjoying himself kicking and laughing, five to eight minutes is sufficient fun for the day before the bath water gets cold. You’ll know the water has cooled down when baby starts sneezing!

Dry well before dressing.
Ensure you pat baby dry especially behind the ears, between fingers, under arms, chin and in the groin area, before dressing him up to prevent rashes from forming.

Give baby a massage.
After putting on baby’s nappy, do find the time to give baby a short massage session before getting him into his clothes. It does not have to take long, just rubbing lotion or baby oil all over his legs or body.

Once, twice or more?
Some parents insist baby needs one bath a day, followed by sponging in the evening to avoid catching a cold. Others just go with the flow of giving baby two baths a day, more on scorching hot days when baby is sticky and sweaty. It’s best to play it by ear – after all, no one knows baby better than you do.

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