To celebrate world wide bubble bath day I thought I would take this opportunity to write a about the importance of bath time, how we can make it fun for those a little scared and also some safety tips for us nervous first time mums!
THE IMPORTANCE OF BATH TIME
Studies have shown on average bath time is about 23 minutes. This is quite a long time and really only needs to be around 5-10 minutes. I would recommend no longer as the longer bath time is the more toys that get thrown in, the more water is splashed about and more excitement is built up. It’s time for calm and wind down, not too much hyped up excitement.
Bath time marks the end of the day and the start of bedtime routine. It is the start of calming down and relaxing. It also is perfect at the end of the day because your child’s body needs to have a dip in temperature in order to prepare for sleep and for the sleepy hormone melatonin to get ready to be released. A warm bath also gives a little extra boost of this sleepy hormone which is why I would always recommend to have a bath at the end of the day.
It is a great time to encourage your little one to wash themselves, their face body, hair. This will give them a feeling of self-control and self-satisfaction they are doing something for themselves, something they are controlling.
MY TOP TIPS ON KEEPING BATH TIME SAFE
Temperature for newborn babies is 36.c. Babies 3 months and up around 37.c to 38.c
Keep all bath products and medicines out of reach
Run the hot and cold together to prevent the bottom of the tub scalding
Use a non-slip bath seat and/or mat to support your child
Don’t forget to have all your equipment to hand, towels, creams, products, nappies, pajamas
Check toys regularly for mould and do not use any toys that have a little vent like the famous rubber ducky! Water gathers, goes mouldy and can be very dangerous for your little one if squirted in eye or ingested.
It’s not always possible to bath every day and some children can’t due to skin irritations so if this applies to your little one I would still recommend to go to the bathroom, fill the sink with warm water and encourage your child to wash hands, teeth and face, and give them a little bit of what I like to call a “bird bath”. This is still part of the bedtime routine and is a signal of the end of day.
After bath time when your little ones all clean and warm, this is a perfect opportunity to offer a little massage. This will help relax both of you, connect and bond and is super soothing. WHAT IF YOUR CHILD IS SCARED OF THE BATH?
This is more common than you may think and can be a very stressful time for a family. Some children feel to exposed, or don’t like the feel of large amounts of water surrounding them. They may also have a fear of the plug hole and the noise the water makes going down.
Maintain eye contact with your baby, keep physical contact with them to ensure they feel safe and secure and why not even bathe with them?? It’s a great time to relax and bond together with skin on skin contact. Use a super soft sponge like a coral sponge. As babies get older they will love to splash, watch water pour and drop and hear the sounds it makes. Here are my tips to help reduce bath time fear…
Try bathing with your child
Perhaps they may prefer a shower instead
If they still fit in a baby bath try this option (inside the tub), they may feel more comfortable in a smaller space
Ensure you pull the plug when your child has left the bathroom
Play calming music or a story
Offer goggles if they don’t like the water going near their eyes
Play in an empty tub fully clothed (always be with your child)
Start with a very shallow bath, like a puddle, then introduce more water over a number of days in the tub BATH TIME PLAYTIME
Of course bath time can be a lot of fun and is a great time for learning also. Here are some great simple play ideas for bath time…
Bubbles…its world Bubble Bath day after all. Bubbles can be great for hand eye coordination
Freeze ice cubes with little flowers of small toys and watch them melt. You can even put a little flood colour in the ice cubes
Use clean yoghurt pots, butter tubs, plastic spoons and ladles for measuring and pouring skills
Pop on swimmers and a sun hat, pretend it’s a trip to the beach!
Play calming music or a story in the background
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU BATHE YOUR CHILD?
A newborn should not have a first bath until at least 10-14 days old. They are born with natural oils that do need to be washed off right away. Of course you can wipe down there hair if it is particular dirty after birth and obviously if there has been a nappy explosion!
As your baby grows, unless they have been rolling around in the mud you only need to bath every 2-3 days because they are not going to be that dirty, until weaning…learning to eat can be a messy game so you may find a bath most nights is inevitable!
So there we have bath time, now it’s time to pop your baby down for a good night’s sleep….
Please share this blog with a friend who may find a nugget of help in here and as always if you feel you would like some help in the sleep department do get in touch, we can schedule you in for a free discovery call to find out how exactly I can help your family overcome your sleep challenges!
Happy bathing everyone,
Your Paediatric Sleep Consultant