Disclaimer – this is how I made bath-time work. It doesn’t work for everyone. And even now if Emily is being a bit of a diva she can be a bit mardy about leaving the bath…working progress.
In the hospital our little angel wasn’t bathed, as you may have read in a previous post where I spoke about my birth story, Emily-Grace required antibiotics which were given through a cannula. The cannula can be painful if it banged, which is likely when a new-born is flailing their arms around in their first ever bath. Emily did however have her hair/head washed to clean all the ‘gunk’ out.
So, her first bath on her second or third day at home (as if I have already forgotten.)
Anyhow, Sam (Daddy to Emily) and I were very apprehensive about bathing Emily for the first time, you are cautious of handling a new-born when they aren’t wriggly, wet and slippery. Water and a new-born is a daunting scenario. We asked my Mum to show us basically how we hold her in the bath, best way to wash her hair without getting water in her face/eyes, etc.
SHE HATED IT.
Emily screamed the entire way through bath-time and for a good 20 minutes post bath also.
We progressed with bathing her in the baby bath, normally in the middle of the living room for a good week or so, then I came to terms with the fact we needed to find an alternative and more enjoyable method of bathing her.
Now, Sam had 3 weeks off work, so we had always bathed Emily as a ‘team,’ which made it far easier. The first day he went to work, fate obviously meant it was high-time for a poo explosion. So, here I was fighting with a pack of baby wipes, none of the wipes would separate and I was getting myself in to a royal mess.
The bath was needed. I had no time to get the baby bath out and filled so I literally ran a bath in our normal bath & we have an Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support, this was literally a lifesaver. 2 hands free when bathing your baby? The possibilities are endless. (link below to purchase from Mothercare)
So I bathed her in the normal bath and on my own all in one day, such a momentous occasion.
I noticed the extra depth of the water, the freedom to kick around rather than being restricted by us and the extra feeling of support caused Emily to enjoy her bath far more. So here are my top tips for a chilled out bath time –
1) Warmth. Make sure the room you are bathing your baby in is warm, this is obvious. Also, make sure whichever room you will take your baby to and dress them is also warm. If your baby is quite as high maintenance as Emily you may also find warming the towel soothes them more after the bath.
2) Towel. I brought multiple cute little baby towels, a Dumbo one, a pink cow, an owl. These are thin and not very big (surprisingly, being as they are made for a baby, duh!) I found warming a fluffy adult sized bath towel on the radiator then wrapping Emily snuggly in it made her far more relaxed after getting her out the bath.
3) Water temperature. I ignored the ‘ideal’ temperature for Emily’s bath. We had one floating duck that indicated if the water was the correct temperature of too hot, that didn’t work, so we went off our own judgement. Whenever I tended to make the bath slightly warmer Emily enjoyed it far more. She doesn’t spend long enough in the bath to overheat or anything and clearly if she was enjoying it, it wasn’t too hot for her skin.
4) Don’t spend too long in the bath, don’t drag out bath time any longer than necessary if they don’t enjoy it. (Easier said than done I know, haha.)
5) Stress. Your stress will rub off on your baby, if you appear stressed or nervous, they are likely to be unsure and feel insecure which will lead to a fear of baths.
6) Age. As your baby grows they will get bigger, more sturdy and less scared. Just wait in out. Babies need bathing regardless of whether they like it or not, so persevere and hopefully within a couple of months they will like it a lot more. Once they are old enough to play and sit up you can introduce toys, bath crayons and bubble machines to increase the fun.