Too much washing can disrupt the skin's natural oils leading to your baby’s skin drying out, so while you may feel that you should wash your baby in a bath every day…. DON'T!!
Let’s face it - babies don’t get dirty so it’s perfectly fine to gently wash their face, hands and nappy area every day with a soft sponge and leave the full body bath as a task to be carried out every 4-7 days. So many celebs share their baby bath-time on social media with hints and tips but really, the idea that an all frills approach to bath-time is the only way to clean a baby is misleading.
Baby bathtime can go one of two ways in my experience -an insta-perfect picture of a gurgling, happy baby, content and clearly enjoying the experience - or a screaming, cranky baby with a stressed parent who both just want the experience to end… and fast. So to help achieve the first scenario and avoid the last, here are my top tips!
As I have already stated, every day is really too much to be washing your bundle of joy, as their delicate skin can become dried out. However, some parents find that it soothes the baby and makes them go to sleep quicker and if this is the case for you, then ensure you use no soaps or washes for the first few months and after that only gentle, emollient rich products that are dermatologically tested.
It is a good idea to pick a time when the baby is relaxed and fed so they don’t get hungry while in the bath.
Parents often choose evening as a good time to bathe baby as the process does speed up their metabolism before slowing it down, accounting for the sleepy feeling we often get after baths and so helping baby drift off to sleep quicker.
We have all seen our old baby photos of being washed in the kitchen sink - and I suppose this is still possible though I doubt it is very comfortable!! Clevamama ™ have designed a bath suitable for fitting into the sink to allow the baby to be washed easily, noting that everyone has a sink but not everyone has a bath, or indeed space for a baby bath.
If that’s not your thing, then a baby bath that can be positioned on the floor so it cannot topple over when the baby gets bigger and more raucous is ideal. If it has a non-slip base, even better. Some baths can be folded up - Stokke ™ for instance and are a good idea if you are short on space.
Make sure whatever room you choose is nice and warm as baby will definitely object to being taken out of a warm bath if the room is cold!!
Firstly, remember the motto “Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail!” So have everything ready before you begin - I usually lay a towel on a changing mat so you are not placing baby on what would seem like an ice cold surface after coming out of the bath. Get nappies, extra towels, ointment if needed and fresh baby clothes.
The water shouldn’t be too hot- check with your elbow as your hands are used to hot water and the water will feel much hotter to the baby than it feels to your hands. If you like, there are thermometers you can use to check the water temperature - some even in the shape of cute rubber duckies!!! (not in my day is all I can say…!!)
The important thing now is to HAVE FUN! Lower baby slowly into the water and even if you are feeling anxious about the whole process..don’t let on! Baby’s can pick up on parents' anxieties and will undoubtedly become unsettled, so with a big smile and reassuring sounds, baby will feel more secure.
When baby is very small, especially if you are bathing them on your own, it can be a good idea to invest in a bath support - just to give you a bit more security, as baby can become slippery when wet!! This sits into the bath and baby can lie on it, freeing up your hands.
This is the most important thing of all - never, ever leave baby in a bath unattended, not even for a minute. Babies can drown in just a few centimetres of water so make sure you have all the equipment you need before you put baby in the bath and after that, let the doorbell ring, turn the phone off and ignore the outside world! Let this be an opportunity to enjoy a fun time with baby….and pray he/she doesn’t poop in the bath……!