The Importance of Bathing a Baby
As new parents, you're busy learning all of the tasks associated with caring for your new baby. You have to learn all about feeding methods, sleeping routines and diaper changes, just to name a few. Giving your baby a bath is one of the responsibilities that is not only important for health and cleanliness, but one that can become an enjoyable time between you and your baby.
Getting Baby Clean
Although your baby doesn't do the same activities as older children or adults that may warrant daily bathing, she still needs a bath two to three times a week. Babies need regular baths to clean their skin and hair more consistently than being wiped with a cloth after eating or during a diaper change. Baths control excess oil in the hair, clean your baby’s skin from too much moisture and dry the areas between her skin folds.
Baths help protect the health of your baby's skin. His skin can be fragile, and protecting it by using soap made specifically for babies instead of products designed for adults preserves the softness of his skin. A bath is also a time to check his body for rashes or areas of dry skin. Massaging his arms and legs while cleaning will also promote circulation in his extremities. Babies who do not have clean hair can be prone to episodes of cradle cap, a condition that causes flaky and scaly skin on the hair and eyebrows, according to HealthyChildren.org. Cradle cap is caused from the excess work of sweat glands and can be minimized with regular shampooing.
With a little practice, a bath can become a relaxing and comforting time between you and your baby. Bathing your baby teaches her the importance of touch, and gives her the feeling of skin contact. Being face to face with your baby while bathing her promotes eye contact and provides a positive interaction between the two of you. Wrapping her in a soft towel and gently drying her after the bath allows her to feel warm and safe.
Beyond the health and emotional benefits, bath time can also be a play time for you and your little one. Splashing and playing allows your baby to learn about the consistency of water. Baby toys and bubbles teach him hand-eye coordination and are fun to play with in the tub. Singing songs and pointing out body parts are fun ways that your baby can enjoy a bath while getting clean at the same time. Consistently bathing a baby will not only reduce adverse health conditions, it will continue to provide a bonding period between you and your baby.