Bath time with your baby can be so much fun from a really early age and with these 10 tips, Cuddledry show you how to make the most of it.
As a new dad, bath time can seem a little daunting, however, there are some easy ways to make it a calm and enjoyable experience! Bath time is so important, not only for hygiene but also because hours of splashing, playing and interacting with your baby will build their water confidence and give you a great opportunity to strengthen your bond with them.
A study completed in 2001 by Dr Howard Steele actually discovered that babies who miss out on regular baths by their fathers were three times more likely to experience behavioural problems, including significant friendship issues.
At bath time, the warm temperature and physical touch encourages the release of a hormone called ‘Oxytocin’, which results in us as the parent and the baby feeling warm, happy and relaxed. It also allows us to create a deep bond with each other, which – in turn – has an impact on how secure we feel in ourselves as we grow and how we continue to relate to people and form relationships throughout life.
Here are Cuddledry’s top tips for a stress free and fun bath time:
Before you have a newborn this may sound bonkers, but once you have that tiny baby in your arms, you realise that bathing a baby is not the easiest of tasks! It’s best to have everything ready before you start, as once baby is in the water you won’t have a spare hand and you’ll need to concentrate on supporting them. Of course, being unable to leave them unattended even for a moment means if you forget anything you’ll need to carry a dripping baby around to get it – which both they and you will not particularly enjoy! So be prepared and you’ll find things run a lot more smoothly.
Protect your knees
Leaning into the bath is not great for your back (which is why some people use the sink for younger babies), but don’t let your knees suffer as well. We all know that if we are uncomfortable then we can feel distracted and prevented from enjoying what could be a wonderful experience. Often bathroom floors are very hard, so to avoid your knees cracking up beneath you, have a spare towel or blanket to kneel on and keep them comfortable!
The perfect temperature for your baby’s bath will be between 36 and 38 degrees, you can buy special bath thermometers if you’re worried or you can use the old school trick of dipping your elbow in the water. Your elbow is such a sensitive area of skin that it gives you a much better idea how a baby’s skin will feel in the bath. Whether you decide to get a thermometer or use the reliable old method, always check the temperature before putting them in. Do bear in mind that bath water cools very quickly, so you may need to top it up with warm water if it’s a particularly long one!
Always talk to your baby when they are in the water and tell them what you are doing. Talking helps them develop language, keeps them calm and happy and lets them feel reassured. If you want to make the best of the acoustics in the bathroom, a good sing song is great too!
To bubble or not to bubble
Wash your newborn baby with water and a few drops of baby oil for the first few weeks, paying close attention to the area where the nappy goes, which can be prone to soreness. Once they are older, it can be great fun to add the bubble bath and help your baby develop their thinking skills when they see an object that looks solid pop in front of their very eyes.
Having a rubber duck in the bath as your baby grows is great, especially something like a good-looking Cuddleduck! A rubber duck is the perfect first toy to bob about around your baby, as they get older pop in more toys for interaction and fun.
Bath time is not just for washing
As your baby gets older, introduce learning tools to bath time. So much learning can be done using fun! Bring in science with a selection of objects to see whether they sink or swim, maths by giving them bottles and funnels in different sizes so that when they pour from one to another they see how some over flow and others don’t fill, and language skills through rhyme time or foam letters.
A newborn baby does not need a bath every day, a top and tail wash is enough, but if your baby enjoys bath time and you find that it is strengthening the bond between you, then there is no harm in a daily bath. Once your baby is crawling, it is a good idea to make it a daily activity. It can really help in settling a child before bed, getting them off to sleep more easily, and it’s good to make it a habit so that much later when puberty hits, knowing they need to wash daily isn’t a shock! Make it a relaxing way to end the day.
Two is fun, three is even more fun
If you have other children, get them in the bath too, get them involved with washing and playing so that it becomes a family time. Fun and games are even better with more of you, and for dads worried about the pennies, it saves a little to have them in together.
Cuddle, cuddle and cuddle a bit more
Bath time is the perfect time for lots of hugs, so use a good bathing apron to make the after-cuddles dry, snuggly and safe rather than wet, slippery and stressful. Something like a baby apron bath towel is perfect as your baby can sit on your lap on the towel before their bath, you stay dry during bath time and then you can lift them out with two hands, wrap the warm towel around them and pop the hood on for an amazing cuddle time.
With a little preparation and a lot of enthusiasm, bathing your little one can be such a special time, so get splashing!