Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bath Time Tips for Infants

Most infants love taking a bath. It is warm, soothing and provides an opportunity for close personal interaction between mother and baby. However there are other babies who are scared when it comes to bath time. Some cry, some scream and some tremble because they do not know what to expect. Here are some tips for making bath time as relaxing and enjoyable as it can be for both of you:

• Most doctors do not recommend a daily bath for a newborn baby. The frequency of a bath depends on three conditions- the state of the baby's health, the climate and the time of the year. Sponge baths are a good idea until a baby is approximately six weeks old. Use warm water and a soft cloth to clean baby. Start with the face and then proceed to the neck, the hands and the diaper area. It is best to wash a baby's hair near the end of a bath, as it will prevent him or her from losing too much body heat. Also for babies who are scared of baths, this can be the worst part. Most babies dislike getting their eyes wet because it stings and therefore as the parent you should do your best to make sure that this does not happen. Try this- tip the baby's head back just a bit and work your way from the front to the back. When your baby's starts to eat solid foods (which will be when he or she is approximately four months of age) you will then need to bathe him or her more often.

• Choose gentle, hypoallergenic tear-free baby soaps and shampoos such as for example, Johnson and Johnson or Dove Baby products. Unless a doctor recommends them, avoid using oils and lotions on your baby. Water, soap and shampoo should be all that you need to keep him or her clean. Look for products that contain aloe vera and chamomile because they are mild on baby's delicate skin. Johnson and Johnson has created a brand new line of products that is specifically geared, according to research conducted by the company, to provide the necessary moisture for a baby's delicate skin. The product line is called Johnson's Soothing Naturals. These products contain olive leaf extract, a blend of natural ingredients, which include vitamin E and skin essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium. The Soothing Naturals products include nourishing lotion, intense moisture cream, moisture rich wash, hair & body wash, and soothe & protect balm.

• A baby cannot regulate his body temperature as well as an adult, so always bathe him in a warm room. The water should be at body temperature. Before placing your baby into the water always check the temperature of the bath water with the underside of your wrist. All that is necessary for an infant's bath is a couple of inches of warm (but not hot) water in the tub. Whatever you do, do not overfill it.

• Some babies experience fear at having their clothes taken off and becoming vulnerable and exposed. Try to sing or talk to your baby soothingly to help reassure him or her that everything is all right.

• Before you begin a bath, gather all necessary supplies together, such as soap, shampoo, towels, toys and other bath items so they will be close at hand.

• Shampoo a baby's hair about once a week until he is several months old. Place a washcloth on his forehead to help keep drips out of his eyes. If it does get in his eyes accidentally wipe it away immediately as it can sting and can cause a baby to cry and get very upset.

• In the first few months of a baby's life you may notice the presence of small flakes on your baby's scalp that are caused by a condition known as cradle cap (or under it's medical name, infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis). In order to remove the scales from your baby's head, gently brush his hair with a soft brush after you have lathered it with soap. Don't forget to rinse well afterwards.

• Babies are very slippery when wet so use both hands to bathe your little one. To keep a baby from slipping in the sink or tub, lay a towel beneath him to act as a soft bath mat.

• Use toys appropriate for his age to engage your baby in the entire bath experience. When he is very young this might be as simple as a clean washcloth to suck on or a rattle to hold and move around. As he gets a little older, perhaps plastic cups and bowls will keep him entertained.

• When bath time is finished, gather baby up in a clean, soft and warm towel and dry him off by gently patting (not rubbing) his skin and hair. Then dress your sweet smelling baby.

• Never leave a baby alone in a bath. If you need to answer the telephone or doorbell, take your baby out of the tub, wrap him in a towel and take him with you.

• A portable bath specifically designed for babies is ideal for an infant's introduction to taking baths. It is a good idea to set it on the kitchen counter or on a table in a warm room. The kitchen sink is okay to use if the baby will fit in it comfortably. Keep a close eye on the faucets, as babies are curious about everything. Line the sink with a towel to prevent your baby from slipping.

• Adjust the hot water heater in your home so that it is below 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order that there is no chance that your infant will be scalded.

• Always cover the spout as well as the temperature knobs in the tub when you are giving your baby a bath in case your little one bumps his or her head and also to prevent burns. If you choose to bathe your infant in the sink in the kitchen, always swing the faucet in the opposite direction from the direction your baby is facing.

• It is good practice to always face your infant away from the faucet when he or she is in the tub taking a bath.

• When using a bath seat for your baby, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Before putting your baby in it, tug on it as best you can to ensure that the seat sticks to the surface of the tub. Be aware that if you have and designs, mats or anti-slip decals in your tub these could cause problems with the adhesion of the seat.

• Instead of adding hot water from tub faucet to warm a baby's bath while he or she is in it, fill a pitcher from the sink beforehand and add fresh water this way. Never turn away from the baby to refill the pitcher.

• Always remove all razors from around the tub when you go to bathe your infant.

• Always drain the tub right away after the baby is finished his or her bath.

• Some fun suggestions of water toys for bath time enjoyment and safety include plastic animals, boats and dolls, foam shapes or perhaps colorful sponges from the kitchen cut into interesting shapes, squirt toys, plastic measuring cups, suction toys, small plastic containers, as well as empty but clean plastic squeeze bottles.

• When your baby grows too big for the sink or portable tub, usually at about three to six months then it is time for the bathtub. If your baby can sit up, place him in a bathing seat. Or consider laying him on a bathing mat (like a big sponge) set in shallow tub water. It cannot be stressed enough, NEVER leave your baby alone in a tub, no matter how little water is in it.

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