Treat your baby to some pre-bath indulgence. It’ll do the baby’s body a whole lot of good and will also give you a chance to shower your love on the baby.
To ease the strain of bathing a newborn, divide the pre-bath process into three steps—getting things ready for the bath, preparing the baby for the bath, and massaging the baby.
Step 1 – Getting things ready for the bath
Bathing a newborn is not an easy task. But planning and preparing for the bath will not only make the task easier but also a whole lot safer for the baby. If everything is pre-arranged, bath times can be fun and enjoyable, both for you and your little one. Follow these simple steps and you will have a splash of a time:
Choose the time of the day when both you and the baby are in a good mood. Bathing is a tiring ritual, and it requires both physical energy and a positive frame of mind to enjoy the process.
Gather everything you need for the bath and keep them within easy reach. Searching for things with oily and soapy hands while holding the baby can be risky. You can even store pre-bath and bath essentials in the bath tub/bucket so that you don’t have to assemble them each and every time.
Safety rule number one is never to leave your baby unattended even for a single second. So get someone to answer the door or take calls while you bathe the baby. It is better to switch off the phone or leave it off the hook until you are done.
Don an apron or keep a set of bath clothes as your clothes could get wet.
Once you’re ready and have ensured you’ve everything you need, get the baby ready for the bath.
Step 2 – Preparing the baby for the bath
Maintain a gap of half an hour between a feed and massage/bath, says Dr. Rajiv Chhabra. After a feed, the blood is directed toward the intestines to give it more energy for digesting food. A massage/bath disturbs this ?ow and slows down digestion.
When the baby is ready, lay him/her on a soft surface—a towel, an old blanket, or a bedspread. Undress him/her gently. For a baby boy, it is better to keep the diaper on until you begin massaging the lower body, to prevent spraying.
Step 3 – Massaging the baby
Massage your baby as often as you can. Here’s why:
“Massage helps stimulate digestion and strengthens muscles,” says Dr. Sanjiv Mehta.
It relaxes the muscles and helps babies sleep better.
It’s touch therapy at its best. Dr. Arun Wadhwa, consultant (pediatrics) at Max Superspecialty Hospital, Delhi and a member of Child Board of Advisors recommends massaging only after the baby is 4 to 6 weeks old, as before that the limbs and joints of the baby are too frail to bear all the rubbing.
Three Pre-Bath Must Dos
Giving medicines to the baby is always a messy affair. Giving it before bath will save you an additional clean up.
Always check the temperature of the water before you let the baby in. Use your wrist, and not your ?ngers to test how hot or cold the water is.
Never keep hot water within a hand’s distance of you or the baby. If you need extra water, make sure that it is about the same temperature as the baby’s bath water.