Bathing your child can be a daunting, loving and super fun experience all rolled into one. Here’s a few things I learned during two years bathing our daughter… This is how to bath your child.
The First Bath
You know how it is. You and your partner wonder how many days until the little belly button thing comes off and you can do the first proper bath. I’ve got to admit I was surprised when the midwife said not to bath Ayla immediately. The poor little thing looked like she’d been gunged on Get Your Own Back. I suppose it’s all natural and we stuck to the hospitals advice.
We prepped beforehand and even had a youtube video taking us through the steps on a nearby tablet in the background. You know the ones, cheesy music and an over smiley, Stepford Wife presenter who looks like she’s seconds away from malfunctioning. It might sound OTT, I mean after all it’s only a bath, but as first time parents it was a bit scary to be bathing such a small, fragile little person and something that neither of us had done before.
We bought one of those little, free standing baby baths with a separate top-and-tail bowl, it came with a thermometer and mega soft cloth so we were good to go. Everything was to hand and we made sure the living room was nice and warm. No one wants that horrible feeling of getting out the bath in a cold room. We literally followed some step by step pointers from t’internet to help us feel slightly in control, I’ve left the steps below, ’cause I’m nice like that.
- Before putting baby in bath, check water temperature with thermometer or elbow, should be around 37° (we used the thermometer, my elbow wasn’t sure what 37° felt like).
- Strip baby down, wrap in a towel and clean babies face using cotton wool balls. Wipe eyes from inside out using separate balls for each eye. Behind ears, under chin and neck for all that pesky milk. (I could do this bit as it was already part of our daily routine – phew!)
- Take off nappy and place baby in bath feet first. Not head first, obviously.
- Support head and neck. Bathe baby – washing hands, feet and other inbetweeny bits. This is the point where I thought we needed two people. Ayla was really squirmy so Rachel did the holding and I did the bathing.
- Take baby out of bath and wrap in towel immediately (do not drip dry) then snuggle until baby is happy.
We all survived the first bath and no one cried. Over the next week or so we became more confident and bath time was something we started to look forward to.
Post Bath Snuggle
As our child bathing skills improved and we got into a routine, Ayla would enjoy post bath snuggles. These tender moments generally involved lots of cuddling and something on TV in the background whilst dozing in and out of sleep (me, not Ayla). One night, The Voice UK was by chance gracing our television. At four weeks-old, Ayla sat mesmerized by will.i.am and the gang for the entire duration of the episode. Once Ayla was nice and relaxed we’d read her a story and this routine still continues today.
The Dreaded First Bath Poo
We got past the 12 month point before the dreaded event occurred. It started like any other night, I ran the bath and placed Ayla in the tub. I began our usual routine by soaking her shoulders and back. Naively I collected the toys together to start bath time fun. Then the regular plan took an unknown turn. Ayla looked at me steely eyed and began to strain. In a panic, I clambered for a towel, trodding on the bath toys under my feet and shouting downstairs to my wife. It felt like time stood still, “Rachel…Rachel…she’s having a poo!”
Ayla continued to go red in the face and I genuinely didn’t know what to do. Did I scoop her out mid-poo, but then what? Did I leave her in the bath to finish the job? Could I quarantine the poo? At this point my wife had appeared in the doorway, the look of horror on my face must have said it all and she started to laugh. Cheers Rach, really helpful. By the time I plucked Ayla out of the bath she had moulded a, thankfully quite solid, poo which sat at the bottom of the tub. I saw to Ayla and my missus took over the poo removal duty & disinfecting the area. Ayla seemed to think this drama was hilarious and seen as we were all still alive I began to have a good laugh too.
Bath TIME Games
Once Ayla could sit up in the bath, it became more fun for all. Now we generally play little games to stay entertained and we have some of our best belly laughs at bath time. We play 5 Little Monkey’s but instead of monkey’s we use Princess dolls and they spend their time standing on the side of the bath, falling (being violently pushed by Ayla) into the bath, bumping their heads and generally trying to avoid perilous danger and a watery grave.
As Ayla is becoming more aware of sorting/counting/numbers we enjoy playing a fishing game that I’m told is very educational. We also have foam numbers that clag on the side of the bath and I’m getting really good at sticking them on the right way around. Ayla also loves her bath tea set, but we have to constantly remind her not to drink the water or inhale the bubbles. As with anything this only seems to make her more intent on doing so. We all enjoy a cuppa I suppose. All other games seem to centre around me getting soaked, Ayla laughing hysterically and our bathroom floor having a good wash. We fit the task of washing the baby in between these games. I’m lucky to say that Ayla has her hair washed and rinsed with no fuss at all.
After a long day at work and limited time before Ayla ventures to the land of nod, for me, bath time is the perfect opportunity to bond with my little girl. We communicate, laugh and learn. Bath time is mint, just remember to actually wash the baby.