Giving your baby a bath seems to be one of those stressful times during new motherhood. How much water do I need? How do I get my baby safely into the bath? What if I get water into my baby’s eyes/ears/mouth? Is the water the right temperature? How long should a bath be? Lots of questions.
Particularly in the early weeks, baths are not essential for your baby and a ‘top and tail’ approach will suffice – cleaning baby’s face, hands, neck and bottom. However, sometimes a more thorough wash is required – particularly if your baby has done a particularly large poo which has travelled elsewhere! For more information on bathing newborns read our article.
It’s worth bearing in mind that small babies have incredibly sensitive skin and frequent bathing may cause irritation and dryness. If you have found this, take a look at Lansinoh’s Earth Friendly Baby skin care range.
Benefits of co bathing with baby
If you feel that your baby may benefit from a bath, why don’t you take your baby into the tub with you? Baby baths are awkward to fill; to use or bend over the bath. Lifting them onto a safe surface should be avoided, especially if you have had a caesarean section or simply want to look after your back. Sharing a bath together can be lots of fun and also helps with breastfeeding.
Sharing bath time together has lots of benefits:
- It is relaxing for both you and your baby. You get to soak in the tub while enjoying some skin to skin with your little one.
- It can be a lovely winding down period for both of you, especially after a busy or unsettled day and may even help with bedtimes.
- It is a great way for you and your nursling to touch base and have a peaceful breastfeed. Skin to skin boosts all those milk-making hormones.
How to bathe with your baby
You may wonder if bathing with your baby is more effort than it is worth, considering you will both be wet by the end of it, but be assured, it can be a lovely, relaxing, feel-good, hormone-boosting experience for both of you. Here’s how:
- Be prepared. Get the bathroom lovely and warm, heat some big towels over the radiators and have your clothes ready for both you and your baby. You might even want to light a candle and dim the lights a little. ‘Top and Tail’ your baby before co-bathing.
- It is definitely easier to have someone around to pass your baby when you have got into the bath as well as receive them when you want to get out. However, if you are on your own and want to bathe with your baby then it is important you take the following steps – put baby in a bouncy chair or car seat, get into the bath, then lift baby from their seat. Sitting down ensures you have a safe stance before picking your baby up. Put baby back into their seat before you get out of the bath.
- Whether you have a helper or not you could put a small towel on the bottom of the bath to prevent you from slipping.
- Make sure the water is close to body temperature and both of you are comfortable. Fill your bath so that the water reaches around half way up your bent legs as you lay back.
- Lay the baby on your legs, facing you. That way you can make eye contact and easily pour water over your baby’s body, perhaps from a little jug or by squeezing water from a washcloth.
- If you would like to nurse your baby in the bath, you may have to sit up a little to keep your breast above the water level. You can then either lay your baby tummy to tummy with you and latch them on or use a cradle hold, whatever seems most comfortable. Watch the water level to make sure your baby’s face stays clear.
- When you are both ready to come out, wrap little one up while you dry yourself. Enjoy your post bath bliss.
Preparation is key to making bathing together an enjoyable experience. It can leave mum feeling relaxed and refreshed, as well as creating some lovely opportunities to deepen the bond between mum and baby. For babies, it can help them to feel safe and secure. One final, great benefit of co-bathing is that it helps your let-down and this can help your little one breastfeed.
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