Every new parent is told that skin to skin is the best way to develop a lasting bond with their newborn and let’s be honest, there’s nothing nicer than the feel of baby soft skin next to yours. Not to mention the intoxicating baby smell that makes your womb cry out for more babies! What you’re not told is the best ways to get that skin to skin contact and one of the easiest ways is co-bathing with your infant.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of co-bathing with your baby and how to safely manage it. You’ll be sharing the tub with your newborn in no time.
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Benefits of co-bathing with your infant
There are so many benefits to co bathing with your newborn. We look at the top 5 amazing benefits below.
Promotes Skin to Skin Contact
As mentioned above, it’s a great way to get that skin to skin contact that newborns crave. You are their safe space. There have been several studies conducted on the benefits of skin to skin and these include increased breastfeeding success rates and a decrease in infant crying. What this shows is that regular skin to skin helps your baby feel close to you and they know that you’ll always come to them when they need you.
On the topic of breastfeeding, nursing while you’re in the bath together is ideal especially if you’re both trying to get the hang of it. You’ll both be relaxed and the skin to skin contact releases oxytocin which helps you produce milk. Plus, warm water helps your let down which is a huge help when establishing breastfeeding. Add some of your breastmilk into the water (if you can bear to spare any) because it’ll leave skin feeling silky smooth.
Getting into a regular routine isn’t essential but it can help you find your feet with a newborn. Having a bath with your baby at the end of the day and it might help them to settle at bedtime. Giving them regular cues so they can recognise when sleep is coming is a good way to begin and pairing a bath with a gentle baby massage, low lighting and a bedtime book is an easy routine that we all have the time for.
Makes Cleaning Baby Easier
It’s so much easier than getting your baby clean in a baby bath tub. They’re convenient for moving around the house and take less time to fill but they can really hurt your back, bending over to support your baby and wash them. Bathing with your baby sounds daunting but once you have the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you ever bought the baby bath!
Meets Parents Needs Too
As a new parent, your needs will come last. You won’t even remember when you last had a relaxing shower because you’ll rush through it in record time keeping one ear out for crying. And even if your baby is content, phantom cries will still haunt your shower time. Having a bath with your baby gives you a chance to relax and clean yourself. It might not be the baths you had before your baby was born but it’s better than the stressful shower situation.
How to bathe safely with your baby
While co-bathing with your baby is joyful, there are so many things that could go wrong if you don’t follow the correct safety precautions.
- Make sure that the water is the perfect temperature; you might like it to be hot but your baby’s skin is so sensitive. Get yourself a bath thermometer and make it between 37°C and 38°C which is the ideal temperature for a baby.
- Have someone nearby who can pass you the baby and take them from you when you’re done. Getting out of a slippery tub on your own is dangerous but trying to balance while you’re holding a wet baby is never going to end well.
- Have their towel and clean clothes ready for when they’re taken out of the water, as their body temperature will drop pretty quickly.
- Put a grip mat down in the bottom of the bath. This will come in useful when your baby is old enough to bath by themselves but it stops you falling. Even if your baby is a few weeks old, you’ll still be recovering from childbirth, whether it was natural or a caesarean, so your balance might be off. The mat simply stops any accidents from happening.
When you should avoid co-bathing with infants
Babies don’t have control of their toilet habits so they’ll just empty their bladder and bowel whenever they get the urge. If you feel your baby wee or you know that they’ve pooped, get out immediately. Wipe them down with a top and tail bath and shower yourself if you have the opportunity.
If you are exhausted from being up all night with the baby, don’t get into the bath with them. Even if you have someone sitting by the bath, you want to be in complete control when you’re in the bath. We all know the feeling of getting into a warm bath when we’re tired, it’s so easy to just fall asleep in that moment. Don’t risk it.
Don’t bath with your baby if their umbilical stump hasn’t fallen off yet. They don’t need to be bathed before this unless it’s a quick wipe down. Submerging them in water could increase the risk of infection within the stump and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to take a bath with your baby?
Like with everything in life, co bathing with your baby does come with some risks. However, the benefits outweigh them and as long as common sense is used and safety procedures are followed, there’s no reason why bathing with your baby should be more dangerous than your baby bathing on their own.
When can you start co-bathing?
Wait until your baby is a couple of weeks old, or maybe up to a month after their birth. This gives their umbilical stump a chance to fall off and heal up and you should feel more confident as a parent after that time. Practice regular skin to skin outside of the bath and that should make co-bathing simple when the time is right.
What age can you submerge a baby in water?
You can submerge your baby as soon as they’re born, they’re fine to be born into water. However, the general consensus is to follow the advice above and wait for their stump to fall off. Babies have a natural reflex that they use when under water but they lose this when they’re around 6 months old. Correctly submerging your baby can result in a more confident child in and around water.
Can you shower with your baby?
It’s not the safest option and if you have a tub, you should opt for that instead of the shower, especially with a newborn. But if a shower is your only option, there are ways you can safely do this. Put a grip mat on the floor of the shower, make sure the temperature is lukewarm and see if you can get hold of a waterproof sling so you’ve got both of your hands free. Research is key with this option.
Bathing with your baby has some wonderful benefits, from establishing breastfeeding to creating a strong bond with your bundle of joy. As long as the correct steps are followed, it will be an enjoyable experience for you both and it’ll turn into something you look forward to.