Time to bond
Babies have very sensitive skin, and when it comes to your newborn, you may not want to bath him every day. Top and tailing will do. However, once his umbilical cord has dropped off, co-bathing is a special bonding experience. This is of particular benefit if you are both battling with breastfeedling as skin-to-skin contact helps you both relax and the heat can help stimulate your letdown reflex. Have your partner close by to hand you your baby and to take him out once you are done.
Soothe the savage beast
Is you baby or toddler having a crying jag that you simply can’t stop? Try a bath. The sound of the running water and the soothing warmth will do wonders. Add some lavender to the water or use lavender-scented baby products, which add to the soothing experience. You may even consider climbing in with him and giving some skin-to-skin contact. This will help both of you to calm down.
No matter how much you try and discourage it, your baby or toddler will try and drink his bathwater. This is a normal phase he will go through. And while paediatricians recommend that you discourage this behaviour – it is not something that will affect him negatively. The amount of soap (dirt and other unmentionables) that he is ingesting is minimal and not likely to make him sick, particularly if you take into consideration how diluted this is. If you are concerned this is a problem, distract him with bath toys, such as funnels and strainers, as this gives him less opportunity to take a swig of water.
What’s that floating?
You may think it will never happen to you, but the chance that your baby or toddler will poop in the bath is pretty high. This is not designed to torture you, but is rather a simple act of nature. The warm water causes your baby’s muscles to relax, which in turn, can result in a bowel movement. However, there are ways to minimise this from happening. Firstly, babies usually poo shortly after eating a meal, so try and feed him after his bath, or wait an hour after his feed before bathing him. When it comes to your toilet-training toddler, have him sit on the toilet or potty before climbing in the bath. If accidents do occur, try not to gag or freak out. Quickly lift him out of the water and clean him off. Empty the bath of all remnants, give the bath a quick rinse, and then start again.
Bath toy bonanza
Babies and toddlers love playing with bath toys and baby books while in the bath, but these can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria and. Squeezy toys are the worst offenders as water can get sucked inside. Ideally, you should be cleaning bath toys once a week. Soak them in a 50/50 mixture of hot water and distilled white vinegar every week, or pop them into sterilising liquid and then run them through the dishwasher.
Kim Bell is a wife, mother of two teenagers and a lover of research and the way words flow and meld together. She has been in the media industry for over 20 years, and yet still learns more about life from her children everyday.