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Kids’ bath time is often highly fraught for parents. With babies and toddlers often resisting baths and kicking up a fuss, the tendency is to skip the bath time altogether just to skip the tantrums!
However, skipping bath time could actually make your life harder in the long term and affect your baby’s sleep – and in turn, yours too.
“Establishing a consistent bath time ritual for your baby could be the simple solution that helps your little one settle for a peaceful night,” says baby sleep educator and consultant Maryanne Sayers.
“Additionally, bath-time is a beautiful bonding time for you and your baby and can be one of the most special times of the day.”
Master the ‘Bath. Feed. Bed’ routine
Preparing your little one for bedtime is all about stripping it back to the basics and establishing a routine. Maryanne says that one of the most important foundations she teaches parents is the need to “establish a consistent, early bedtime for their baby and having an easy, gentle wind-down schedule leading into that bedtime”.
Try introducing a simple ‘Bath. Feed. Bed.’ routine as a nice lead into bedtime every night.
Establish a safe ritual bathing process
The importance of establishing a ritual bathing process as part of your baby’s nightly routine is highly understated. “A lovely bath is the best way to start to prepare your baby for a great night-time sleep,” says Maryanne. She recommends that “when bathing your baby, use water that is warm, but not hot, and only have the water at a low level in the tub.”
Make sure that “if your baby can’t yet sit up, support your baby’s head and back with one hand while using a washcloth and mild baby’s wash, with your other hand to cleanse your little one. The warmth of the washcloth is very soothing on your baby’s body.”
Maryanne also notes the importance of using “a low-level voice to speak or sing to your baby while bathing” to lull them into a state of relaxation.
If your baby can’t yet sit up, support your baby’s head and back with one hand while in the bath.
Use soothing bath time products
While little ones love the entertainment of a good old bubble bath, Maryanne says that using products with no added nasties is essential. One reason for this being to eliminate any possible irritation that comes with certain products, and another being that toddlers have very soft, delicate skin that shouldn’t be exposed to harsh chemicals.
As your baby’s skin is much more vulnerable, choose products that are mild and gentle, like the Cetaphil Baby range, which is now officially endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives, or CoComelon Bubble Bath, which has been formulated with your child’s precious skin in mind is ideal.
Choose a gentle hair cleanser
Your little one’s hair will also need some special care. Choose a mild cleanser, like CoComelon 3 in 1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash that is gentle on toddlers’ skin and hair, enriched with moisturiser which can be used every day.
QV Baby 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner is a two-in-one formula that will cleanse and condition baby’s hair and scalp.
At bath time choose products that will gently cleanse skin.
Maintain the warmth
The importance of a warm bath before your baby’s bedtime is scientifically proven, helping to aid muscle relaxation and lower your baby’s blood pressure, helping to calm them. Maryanne says that, “after coming out of a warm bath, a baby’s body temperature starts to cool when the air hits the wet skin, so dry your baby quickly and loosely wrap your baby in a soft towel.
“From the bathroom, carry your baby straight to their room to be dressed into their sleepwear. Once dressed, give your baby the bedtime feed with the lights dimmed or off to reduce stimulation.
“Following the feed, you can then give your baby a quick burping and they can then go down for the night in their bassinet or cot.”
Using this Bath. Feed. Bed. routine is ideal to use every night to prepare your baby for a great night’s sleep every night.