by SARA AHMAD
From room temperature to water temperature and from being extra cautious to having fun at bath time, here is a look into all that goes into bathing newborns in the colder months
When you've had a winter baby, one of your main worries may be bathing time. While keeping baby clean and comfy will be a priority in your daily care routine, you may worry about how to keep the baby safe from catching a cold between baths and massages. These are not needless worries as newborns have a certain fragility about them. Read on to ensure bath time is a relaxing bonding experience.
When the great first bath day arrives, you may feel apprehensive about how you will manage to keep a grip on your precious ward who you fear may just slip through your hands at bath time! Even in these first few days, dry skin, rash from over clothing and the cold air add to your concerns.
When it is cold and dry weather, many pediatricians encourage parents of newborns not to bathe baby daily but instead just a couple of times a week. After all, newborns don't get much of a chance to get grubby apart from their bottoms and faces. Sponges will do just as well to clean and freshen up baby. And when you do bathe your newborn, the bath is best kept a short affair. As the baby gets older you can adapt your bath routine to be a little longer and more fun.
Temperature of the room and water is all important while bathing or sponging your baby. Newborns may feel instant discomfort when suddenly exposed to cold air. Older babies may enjoy sitting in warm water on a cold day. Here's looking at how to make bathing as comfortable as possible for baby and you.
It is best to start heating the room before baby's bath or massage and then see that the heat is not too strong when you expose baby to it. Somewhere in the range of 20 degree Celsius is a good room temperature to achieve. In winter it is best to bathe babies in the late morning or mid day. These are times when it is slightly warmer.
Start With Sponges
In the first few days especially, it is best to sponge your baby rather than expose her to a bath.
Sponge Preparation: Decide where you will sponge your baby. The most popular choices are either on your lap as you sit on the bed with a large bowl of warm water within reach, or on a changing mat. For newborns all you need is some warm water and a soft sponge or small towels. With older babies, you can consider adding some bath oils or liquid soap.
Minimum Exposure: A newborn baby may not like having her skin exposed to air. Older babies may not mind this but in winter it is best to keep exposure to the minimum.
Sponge All Parts: Start with a baby's arms, under arms and tummy. Hold baby forward with one hand while you sponge her back. Rub her head gently with a wet towel. After dressing or covering her upper, begin on the lower part. Clean the nappy area thoroughly. Use a wet towel to clean carefully around and behind her knees and legs. Also clean the toes and feet well and then pat dry. Finally, use a piece of wet cotton for the face. Gently wipe her face, neck and area behind the ears. Use separate pieces of cotton for each eye.
Sponge Toiletries: Many child care experts say that there is no need to add oil or soap to the sponge water for newborns. There is a fear that toiletries will irritate a newborn's sensitive skin and cause extra dryness or even rash. These fears are often exaggerated. While it is best to avoid toiletries for the first few days, a tiny dash of baby bath oil in your sponge water is nice hereafter. It helps keep baby's skin moisturised and also gives your baby that lovely after-bath smell.
Keeping Baby Warm: A tip to keeping your baby warm is to warm towels before use either by exposing them to a hot water bottle, warm iron or even hair dryer before use. Keep more than one towel handy for before and after use while sponging or massaging.
A baby is usually ready for a bath after the first fortnight has gone by. A new-born baby can be bathed in a tub or on a bath mat on the floor. You just need to make sure you have one arm securely under the baby with her head resting in your hand. The water needs to be shallow and the temperature just right. As you won't be able to take your eyes off baby for a second, make sure that everything you need is at hand.
Water Temperature: Test the water in the tub by putting your elbow in.
Bath Positions: With newborns, a good guideline is to make sure that neither the face nor shoulders are immersed in water. For this reason, the water will need to be shallow. Older babies (after three months) may be able to sit in the bath and will enjoy longer baths. The water can now be deeper but no further than tummy high for a sitting baby.
Keeping Baby Warm In The Bath: As it is so shallow, your newborn's bath water will get cold quickly. It is best to keep baths short - a couple of minutes in the bath are more than enough time to gently clean your newborn.
Massaging a baby in the winter has all the benefits of massaging at any other time of year: relaxation, bonding and moisturising. Yet, massage time is a time you may want to expose your baby's whole body to air. It is very important to be in a warm room and also to use a towel or swaddle cloth to ensure your baby does not catch a chill. Rather like the sponge, you can massage the body in bits. Work separately on arms, legs, tummy, back by exposing only the area you are massaging. Once you've started, make eye contact, talk to your baby and enjoy the bonding opportunity.