Bathing your little one should be an interactive time of love and care and enjoyed by all. Like baby massage, it can be an excellent way to relax your baby, to help prepare him for bedtime. Don’t worry if at first you feel a bit nervous and anxious; it is quite natural. Just remember your baby has lived in water for the past nine months, so water is not a strange experience for him. Instead, it’s almost a familiar experience.
how often and when to bath your newborn
You don’t really need to bathe your baby everyday – your midwife or healthcare provider may recommend bathing your newborn just two to three times per week, increasing frequency as baby gets older.
It’s always best to bathe your baby before a feed. If he is too hungry, try giving your baby half a feed before bathing him. In this way, his hunger will be satisfied and he’ll be able to enjoy his bath. Finish the feed after bathing. Bathing your baby too soon after a feed may make him uncomfortable. If your baby is frequently colicky in the evening, it may be worth bathing him in the morning because the stimulation of an evening bath can be too much for him.
three step bedtime routine
Bath, quiet time and feed before bedtime can help your baby fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer.
Make sure the room is warm (24 °C, 75 °F), because babies lose heat from their bodies quickly, and have everything you need ready before starting the bathing process. Before bath time, put on your Baby Sense Apron Towel by simply fastening it around your neck and back. Keep the water shallow and ensure it’s at a comfortable temperature (37 °C, 98.6°F). Test it with your hand or wrist – it should feel warm but not hot.
Keep the atmosphere calm and cosy, avoiding active play. Encourage dad to be part of the bath time activities, however alert him that his interactions must be soothing as opposed to exciting (easier said than done!).
Use your hand to gently splash water over your baby’s body. Most babies enjoy stretching out their arms and kicking their legs, so take your time. Don’t forget to clean between the folds and take precaution when cleaning the head.
When you are done bathing your baby, follow the how to use instructions of the Baby Sense Apron Towel. Wrap him snugly, cuddle and pat him dry and enjoy this bonding time. Remember to check that he is totally dry, particularly in all the creases.
Go directly to your baby’s sleep space (already prepared to be a calming sensory environment with dimmed lights). Do not take your baby out of this sleep space until the next morning. You can help your baby wind down further by reading, singing softly to the Baby Sense Lullabies instrumental music or playing Baby Sense White Noise music. If he enjoys massage and finds it calming, massage him with soothing oil. Dress him in soft night clothes, a good quality night-time nappy and swaddle in a Baby Sense Cuddlewrap.
Give him his last feed of the evening in the dark room in your arms. After his feed, burp him for no longer than five minutes. If he is not yet drowsy, stand and rock him or sing to him to help him become drowsy. When he is drowsy, but not asleep, put him into his cot. Repeat this routine every night.
By keeping your baby’s sleep routine as consistent as possible it will become a very important sleep cue that will really ease him to sleep.
Faure, M & Richardson, A: Baby Sense. Metz Press, South Africa, 2002
Faure, M: The Babysense Secret. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2011
Goh, D; Howd, T; Mindell, J; Sadeh, A; Wiegand, B: Cross-cultural differences in infant and toddler sleep. Sleep Med, 2010
Kurtz, E; Mindell, J; Telofski, L; Wiegand, B: A Nightly Bedtime Routine: Impact on Sleep in Young Children and Maternal Mood. SLEEP, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2009
Mindell, J; Rivera, L; Sadeh, A: My child has a sleep problem: A cross-cultural comparison of parental definitions (pp. 478-482). Sleep Medicine 12, 2011