Bath time is generally a time of fun and bonding for parents with a new baby. Many parents find the experience to be a great way of interacting with their child. For some parents, however, bath time can cause a great deal of stress which your baby picks up on. If you are tense and worried, your baby will be too and your bonding time will be nothing more than a scream fest. Learning just a few tips for keeping calm and safe during bath time can make the experience fun for both of you.
Your baby’s safety is always the first thing to be taken into consideration. Take a few steps to make sure that everything is completely safe and that you are ready to give baby your full attention.
• Be sure that you have everything set out and within arm’s reach that you will need during bath time. Perhaps you could get these things ready while baby is napping so that you have no distractions.
• Use a tub (or make necessary modifications) that is appropriate for your baby’s age and size. If you choose to use a full size tub from birth onwards, place a towel in the bottom of the tub to lay baby on for comfort and to reduce the risk of slipping.
• Fill the tub before placing baby in it. Be sure that the water is neither too hot nor too cold; test with the inside of your wrist.
• NEVER leave your baby alone in the tub. All it takes is a few inches of water and a couple of seconds for a baby to drown. Do not allow yourself to be distracted at all. Turn off the phone, check the stove beforehand, and ignore the doorbell. Nothing is worth risking your baby’s safety.
Since bath time tends to take a little while, it’s a good idea to make sure that baby has had a nap and is fed beforehand. Bath time will never be easy and enjoyable if baby is always tired or hungry during it. Once baby’s bath is filled and his items have been set out for during and after the bath, you are ready to start.
• Undress baby and place him in the tub. Putting his feet into the water first allows him to get used to the temperature, and any adverse reaction will let you know that the water is either too hot or too cold.
• Using a soft washcloth, wet baby’s body and hair; try to avoid getting water into his eyes and nose.
• If your baby enjoys playing in the tub, it’s best to get the washing done first so that he can play until he is ready to get out. If you let him play first, he’ll be bored and ready to be done by the time you get around to washing him.
• Wash baby’s face first, while the water is still cleanest. Gently wash around each eye, using opposite corners of the washcloth for each. Then wash around the rest of baby’s face and under his chin and neck.
• Continue washing baby from the top down, saving the genital area for last. Remember to clean into skin folds, under arms, and behind ears; these are wonderful places for milk and food to hide.
• Once baby’s body is washed, gently wash his hair with a tear-free baby shampoo. You can either rub his head with your fingers or a washcloth, but be sure to scrub vigorously enough to get everything clean but do not press hard on his head.
• Rinse him off completely and you’re ready to play!
• Once you’re ready to get him out of the tub, lift him onto one arm and wrap a soft towel around him. Hold him tightly since wet babies are slippery! Be sure to cover his head with the towel to keep him warm.
• Lay him down and pat (never rub) his skin dry. Use a gentle moisturizer and put his diaper on first to avoid messy accidents that could potentially call for another bath.
• Finish dressing baby, and you’re ready to go. Bath time is exhausting for babies and they are generally ready to be fed afterwards; even if they’ve eaten right before.
To make things even easier, brilliant minds have come up with a few gadgets that are sure to help. While bathing a baby definitely involves a lot of work, these genius inventions will help keep the work to a minimum and crank up the fun.
Basically a bath station that has everything you need all in one place and can be moved around the house easily. The bathinette makes it so that you do not have to bend over a sink or kneel by a bathtub. You simply fill the tub, bathe your baby, and then use the attached changing station to dress baby; and there are even shelves underneath to store everything you need.
These handy chairs are available in different sizes for different ages. There is a reclining bath chair that can easily be used to hold newborns and infants before they can sit up. This means you simply place them in the chair and give them their bath; no more worries about holding onto them and doing everything else one-handed. There are seats available for your baby once he gets older and can sit up. The seat holds him upright so that you don’t have to worry about him falling and hitting his head.
These are a truly genius invention for when you are through with the infant tubs and start bathing your baby in the full-size tub. The inflatable bumpers have suction cups on the back; all you have to do is blow them up and stick them around the inside of the tub to prevent bumps and bruises.
This little gadget helps you to make sure that baby’s bath water is the perfect temperature every time. Some simply blink or change to red if the water is too hot. There are other very creative ones that you set in the tub and they either change colors or start making a noise if the temperature is too hot or cold.