Our babies are precious little bundles of joy and need all the tender loving care that we can give them.
While playing, snuggling and cuddling them seem like the more fun and rewarding moments of parenting, essential activities such as feeding, bath time and bedtime can sometimes feel a tiny bit tedious.
However, each of these is absolutely essential for our baby’s overall wellbeing and happy, healthy development. In fact, bath times can provide an opportunity both, for parent-child bonding as well as baby’s learning like none other.
Bath time is so much more than just an essential activity that is required to keep the baby clean – it can be a very special moment between a mum and her baby.
Bath time is bonding time
Bath time is perhaps one of the rare times in the day when we mums are not distracted by anything else – it is actually a gadget-free time for most -- and our entire focus and attention is just on our little one, allowing for a moment of intense bonding with her.
As she sits there splashing and playing with bubbles, it also gives us the opportunity to relax and take a breather from our busy day. This is a moment where we are physically and emotionally engaged with the baby – from washing her little arms, cleaning her her cute little face, shampooing her little head of hair to talking to her and playing with her toys.
You can sing to your little one, teach her the names of various body parts, or just join in the bubble and splash fun to intensify the bonding moment.
Interestingly, bath time is an activity that allows dads to bond with the babies too. Unlike feeding, where dads can, at most, play a supportive role – they can actually take charge of the bath time completely. In fact, in many families, bath times are often special baby-daddy bonding time.
In addition to creating a wonderful bonding opportunity, bath times can play an integral part in our baby’s emotional, physical and social development.
How can bath times help in improving the learning and development of your child and what is the best baby's bath time ritual? Click on the next page to find out.
Bath time is learning time
Baths are a multi-sensory experience for the baby -- they engage a baby’s sense of touch, smell, hearing and sight intensely and without any distractions -- which aids in their cognitive development during early years.
Some of the bath time activities that encourage this include:
- Playing with bubbles: this encourages the baby’s sense of touch but also helps develop her hand-eye coordination (besides completely delighting her!).
- Splashing water: this encourages her to start developing an understanding of cause and effect – that when you hit the water with your hand, water will bounce and splatter.
- Playing music during bath time and talking to your baby: Even though she may be too young to understand what you are saying, both these activities help develop not just her hearing but also her language development. The more you speak with her, the better her vocabulary becomes.
- Using mild scented soaps: The smells associated with soap and the warm and cozy bathroom helps stimulate those parts of your baby’s brain that are responsible for memory.
As the baby grows older, you can start including bath toys which helps her learn different colours and numbers in a fun way.
As your baby grows older, bath time can easily be integrated into a bedtime routine. It is a perfect activity to help transition from a busy and hectic mode into a more relaxed mode, which is a prerequisite for sleep.
A warm bath does well to soothe babies and helps them calm down. With time they begin to associate bath time as the first step of a regular bed time ritual, which could include other elements such as reading, cuddle time or simply quiet and reflective time.
While bath time is part of the bigger ritual of bed time, it can have its own mini-rituals that vary from family to family.
Make your own bath time ritual
While bath time rituals can be very varied, they all consist of three common elements. These are:
- Cleaning: While water is wonderful, sometimes it alone cannot remove the fat soluble impurities left behind under diapers and clothes. These impurities can cause the baby’s delicate skin barrier to breakdown. A harsh soap can also irritate the skin, while an overexposure to water can lead to faster moisture loss from the skin cells. To prevent all of these, many parents opt for a gentle baby-specific cleanser like Johnson’s® baby Top-To-Toe® for their little one. If your baby has more hair, you might try a gentle shampoo, like Johnson’s® baby shampoo.
- Moisturising: Many babies have dry skin and the parents may not even realise it. Dry skin can lead to other skin complications such as bacterial infections and atopic dermatitis; it is therefore important that you do moisturize your baby’s skin.
A number of parents also include a massage with a gentle baby moisturiser such as Johnson’s® baby lotion just before dressing her, as part of the bath time rituals. This routine skin-to-skin contact is a wonderful way to not only bond with your baby, but it also aids her emotional development. It helps calm and soothe your baby and prompts her to sleep.
- Freshening: For added freshness and comfort, a significant number of parents also include a powder that is suitable for baby skin, such as Johnson’s® Baby Powder®
Many happy memories are created during bath time for you and your baby. Go ahead, make bath times that special moment in your lives.
Do remember never to leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.
Do you have any special bath time rituals with your little one? Do share with us in the comments section below.