When it comes to bath time, it doesn’t matter whether the child is 2 or 12, it can be a stressful time for parents and / or babysitters and nannies. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that can make handling bath time a lot easier. If you are a babysitter, minding the child in the evening, it is best to ask the parents about their child’s bath time routine so you know what you expect – and what to avoid.
Newborns aren’t ready for a bath, even in a sink, until their umbilical-cord stump has dried up and fallen off. Until then you can sponge bath them daily, using a damp cloth and plain water – do pay close attention to their underarms, hands, skin folds, and bottom.
Once their umbilical-cord stump has fallen off, you can start a new routine and give the baby a proper bath a few times a week. When it’s time to give them their bath, ensure that you remove glass and sharp objects such as razors, bottles and other showering items from the sides of the sink, the baby bath or bath tub. Fill the sink or bath with just enough water and position the baby so her body is covered, but her head remains above water.
Also, bear in mind that when you use soap or emollient the infant will become slippery! You can use a sponge or a cloth and stroke your baby gently – do not rub or scrub. When taking the baby out of the water use one hand to lift and the other to support her neck and head, quickly dry her, then put her nappy and clothes on.
Babies & Toddlers
As your baby gets bigger, if you are using a baby bath or the sink you can start to phase them into a normal bath tub. Lower your child’s feet first and gently place them in the water. As you are doing so, speak to them in a slow and relaxing manner in order to keep them calm. Once they’re in, wash their face and hair gently. To avoid soap getting into their eyes, cup your hand over their forehead.
Don’t ever leave a baby or toddler alone in the bath, not even for a few seconds.
‘Big Kid’ Baths
After a certain age, your child may be able to wash her own body; however, she’ll probably still need help with washing hair. It is good to let her take over more as she gets more comfortable, it will give her a sense of independence, but she will still need to be supervised until she can easily pull herself up if she does go under water.
The Bottom Line
Bathtime can be a safe and fun activity for kids and parents (or whoever may be looking after the child) – and ultimately a great time to bond.