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Some babies need a little encouragement to enjoy bath time. Read our advice to make washing your little one a calm and fun experience for everyone
Bath time is the perfect chance for you and your baby to bond and have fun splashing about. It’s also a great way to soothe your little one as part of their bedtime routine. However, if they don’t like getting in the bath, it could have the opposite effect, so here are a few helpful tips.
How to make bath time calm time
• You only need to bath your baby two to three times a week (though give them a good wipe and cleanse on the other days). Do it when they’re between feeds, happy, alert, and when you know you won’t be interrupted.
• Babies don’t like being cold, so make sure the room temperature is warm before you start. Have everything you need to hand because once your little one is in the bath, you mustn’t leave their side, not even for a moment.
• You’ll need a clean towel, a bath thermometer, cotton wool, a sponge, a pouring jug, mild non-perfumed soap, shampoo and moisturising lotion or oil (after one month). It’s also handy to have a clean change of clothes laid out and a nappy or two, in case there are any accidents.
• Fill the bath with lukewarm water and swirl it around, checking the temperature with the inside of your wrist or an elbow. The perfect bath temperature for a baby is 37°C -38°C. Then gently lower baby into the bath.
Baby skin care and bubbles
Babies love bubbles, but if your little one has sensitive skin, bubble bath might be too harsh, so blow bubbles instead of adding them to the bath water, and they won’t miss out.
Baby fun, bathing games and toys
Help reluctant infants to enjoy bath time with lots of fun toys and games. Pouring cups, rubber ducks, bath crayons, tea sets and squirters are particularly popular with babies who can already sit up, and you don’t need to spend lots of money on them. An old plastic bottle, sponge or sieve will keep them entertained for a long time.
If your little one can’t sit up yet, hold their head above the water and keep them interested with a colourful pouring jug, or let them hold a mirror, ball or bath book.
However, you can’t beat mum for entertainment. Your baby will love you splashing around, naming their body parts and singing, or even giving them a finger-puppet show. Enjoy yourself!
If you’re still having trouble getting your baby into the bath, get in with them. Skin-to-skin contact with mum will help your baby feel loved and secure.
When you’re ready, carefully lift your little one out of the bath, wrap them in a clean towel, then give them a big cuddle and lots of praise.
Soothe your baby with a massage using a mild non-perfumed lotion or sunflower oil. Most importantly: enjoy your calm bath time.
By Jennifer Bounsall