Best tips for making bath time fun!
On the surface, bath time is about getting clean, but it also provides a wonderful chance to bond with your baby. Your newborn may not be keen on their first few baths, but as they get older most babies tend to enjoy it more. Here are some tips to help make bathtime fun.
Timing is everything
Choose a time when you're not rushed or likely to be interrupted. You may want to opt for morning baths, when your baby is fresh and alert, or to make a baths part of your baby’s calming bedtime ritual. If you bathe your baby after feeding them, consider waiting for their tummy to settle a bit first. A bath can be quite a stimulating event for a new baby, so don’t worry if they’ve had enough after only a few minutes. Read baby expert Dorothy Waide's great 'how to' tips for bathing babies, here.
Too hot or too cold?
As well as making sure the water temperature is in the safe zone of 37˚C-38˚C (use a thermometer or just dip your elbow in to test) make sure the room is toasty too – your baby will not appreciate coming out of a warm bath into chill air. Shut any windows and doors so there’s no breeze blowing into the room; any breeze on wet or damp skin will be chilly.
Save the shampoo for last
Your little one’s fine hair probably doesn’t need much washing, but when you do wash it, it may pay to do it at the end of the bath, at least to start with. Shampooing their hair might be the thing they least enjoy about bathtime, so let them have some fun first! Always try to use baby-friendly bath products that are for sensitive skin, eg. plant-based and fragrance-free.
Bubbles, bubbles, lots of bubbles!
Older babies and kids absolutely love bubbles – so indulge them! Find some baby-safe, fragrance-free bubble bath mixture and squeeze it in as the water is running so it foams up. Natural bubble bath doesn’t last as long as the more chemical based mixtures, so create those foam mountains, beards and hair early in the piece.
Little babies don’t necessarily need toys in the bath, perhaps other than something to distract them at shampoo time! However, as your baby is able to sit up by themselves and to grasp and hold things, bath toys take on a whole new importance. Simple actions such as pouring water and filling containers can be an endless source of entertainment for little ones - and the bath is a great place to do it! Bring non-breakable containers of various sizes into the bathtub so your child can pour water from one container to another. You can use words like “full” and “empty,” and phrases like “it floats” or “it sinks” to help your child learn about volume, capacity and how objects behave in the water.
If you bath your baby is in the big family bath, don’t drain it while they’re too near (or even in the same room) because the suction noise can scare them. This applies even as they get older – some kids are terrified at seeing their toys being sucked toward the plughole!
Your baby may sometimes protest about having a bath (and perhaps also about having to get out of it!) but it does create a lovely opportunity to bond with your little one. It’s a chance for your baby to feel your loving touch and to feel secure in your care. Once you’ve gotten over your initial nervousness about keeping your slippery newborn safe in the water, you’ll both enjoy it more.
Remember, never leave your baby unattended in the bath.