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The Perfect Baby Bath: 10 Tips On How To Bathe A Baby

by Vivian KELLY Published on 1 March 2015
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Want to make sure you're making the most of your baby's bath time? We know how important it is for you and your little one, and not just for the bonding experience but for her development too. From toy playing to baby massaging to post bath time cuddles, here are 10 expert tips on how to bathe a baby (without spoiling any of the fun).

Think bath time is just for play and getting the job done? Think again mommas.

According to Johnson's Global Bath Time Report, 84 percent of parents say bath time is some of the best quality time they get with their baby, YET many still underestimate the proven cognitive benefits that bath time offers, with almost HALF (42 percent) of parents unable recognise how important it is for their children's brain development.

In light of this new research and Johnson's new global campaign, So Much More, we got together with author of The Blissful Baby Expert and The Blissful Toddler Expert, Lisa Clegg to fill us in on everything we need to know about your baby's bath time and how you can make the most of it.

New to mother-hood?

We know how daunting it is to give your baby a bath for the first time. The obvious questions come to mind: How? When?

Lisa says, "The current advice is to delay bathing your baby for a few days after birth to allow the vernix on their skin (that they're born with) to remain there as long as possible.

"Once you are ready to give your baby a bath, you don't have to give them a bath every day as long as you wash and clean them regularly. However, I have always found that encouraging a bath as part of their evening bedtime routine helps relax a baby into settling and sleeping better."

And don't worry, newborns crying when bathing for the first few times is totally normal. "Being lowered naked into water without any warning is a real shock to them and the majority will scream the entire time they are in the water. It's amazing how quickly they forget that they have just been floating around in water for the last nine months!," says Lisa.

But the more you do it, the more your baby will become accustomed ​to it and bath time will eventually become an enjoyable experience - for the both of you!

1. Preparation is key

To get your bath time routine down pat, the one thing you need to do is like anything in parenthood - be prepared! Have everything set up and ready to go.

"Have nappies, clothes and a nice warm towel ready to wrap up your baby in (burrito style) once you're ready to them out. Make sure to talk and reassure your baby with a calm voice and a smile on your face as you splash bits of water over her body," says Lisa.

If your baby senses you're nervous, she will be too. A calm, reassuring voice will assure that she's comfortable and totally safe, making more time for play and fun.

2. Use a bath aid

To make sure your baby is as safe and as supported as possible we recommend using a bath aid - if you're baby is still young enough, of course!

"Babies are like slippery little eels in the bath and are more likely to cry if they don’t feel supported and safe," says Lisa.

"A bath aid will help with this and give you more confidence as you won’t be worrying about your baby slipping out of your hands and going under the water." It also gives you the opportunity to be more hands on, splash around, use toys and give her all the attention she needs.

3. "Bath talk" is a must

Did you know the number of words a child hears by the age of three is linked to their academic success? Yeahuh. Talk to your baby during bath time and show her things like floating bubbles, splashing and the bath sponge. Make sure she gets a good wash but make sure you're having fun while doing it! Pulling faces and making her laugh is another great way to lighten the mood and help her to relax.

4. Use a fragranced bath product

Baby products are one of the most nostalgic scents out there. This is because smells can evoke our memory more than any other sense we have. And even better, research has shown that familiar scents improve mood and alertness! Use calming fragrances such as Johnson's Baby Bed Time Wash and Baby Shampoo with Lavender and we promise, there'll be more sleep and less crying before bed! Hurrah.

5. Rubadub

We never realised that baby massaging was an actual thing, until now. In fact, many Asian countries around the world see it as an important part of their daily bath time routine! And according to new stats, it proves to be a pretty significant part of a baby's development.

Research has shown that infants who experienced routine touch and massage were 50 percent MORE likely to make eye contact and 3 times MORE likely to have an overall positive expression. It's also shown to improve alertness and cognitive performance in babies too.

But, how do you give a baby massage? Lisa says, "Many babies enjoy baby massage after a bath, but there are some who really don't like it in the beginning so timing is key. If your baby is hungry and expecting a feed straight after a bath then it's very likely they won't tolerate a massage post bath and will just want you to get her dressed and fed, stat". Try to incorporate baby massage into your routine as early as possible this way it becomes something that's to be expected rather than an unfamiliar experience. The older they get the more welcoming they'll be to new experiences.

First time parent? Even just touching your baby gently can be a great way to get them to relax. There's not necessarily a right or wrong way to do it as long as your gentle and she's relaxed. However, "there are many baby massage courses offered via your local NCT class or by talking to your midwife or health visitor who will be able to recommend a good teacher," says Lisa.

6. Bubbles are important

We know some mums aren't into all the bath frills, but while we respect a mum's decision to do so, we still need to tell you about how important fragrance and bubbles can be for your baby!

Bubbles help babies develop hand-eye coordination and discover objects exist even when they can't be seen! Introduce a bubble bath fragrance such as Earth Friendly's Soothing Camomile Bubble Bath and allow her to feel and splash around in the bubbles.

Lisa says, "Babies enjoy floating around in the water and even tasting and smelling the bubbles when you begin to add those in. Bath toys can be offered and she will love to see and learn about which ones float or sink and pouring and filling them as she gets older". It also makes a great introduction to the idea of swimming so when your baby has lessons she'll be much more relaxed about it.

7. Splashing is good for your baby

When your baby splashes around, instead of trying to calm her why not join in? Splashing helps teach baby's cause and effect.

Bath time is a bonding, teaching and learning experience for your little one and all the more scents, shapes and toys you expose her to, the more she'll have to learn from.

8. Make a bath time playlist

Never thought of it? Bath time songs can stimulate parts of your baby's brain that are responsible for memory. Songs such as the 5 Little Ducks and Splish, Splash, Splosh are great additions to any bath time playlist. And remember, when giving your little one a bath, NO phones allowed. This is your time together - make the most of it!

9. Be affectionate

Be loving to your baby when they're in the bath. Things like blowing kisses, laughing or gently and lovingly touching your baby can create lasting memories that will last forever. When smell and touch are stimulated a baby links those feel good memories to that scent through smell. Make this one to remember...

10. Cuddle time

Research shows that close contact between mum and baby helps calm your baby's breathing, which proves just how important that post bath cuddle is. After a bath, put some calming This Works Baby Sleep Body Lotion on her and massage in very gently. A couple of minutes is more than enough time.

After, spritz a bit of This Works Baby Pillow Spray onto her pillow or blanket to allow the natural scents to help lull her into a deep sleep but don't forget to give her that warm cuddle first!

Now it's time to put your feet up...

If you need more expert advice pop over to The Baby Show from May 15th-17th at NEC Birmingham. Lisa will be there as a guest speaker and if that's not enough there'll also be TONS of shopping offers and savings for you and your little one to enjoy. Book here now. You won't regret it.

Do you have any bath time tips to share? Tweet us @sofeminineUK! #SoMuchMore

Try some of our all-time favourite bath time products below!

Johnson's Baby Bedtime Bath, £1.75 © www.boots.com

Johnson's Baby Bath Time, Boots | Baby Sleep Pillow Spray, This Works | Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Shampoo & Bodywash, Boots | Baby Sleep Body Lotion, This Works | Johnson's Baby Shampoo with Lavender, Boots | Johnson's First Touch All-In-One Wash, Boots | Johnson's First Touch Barrier Cream, Boots | Earth Friendly Soothing Chamomile Bubble Bath, Boots

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