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Bathtime. Crucial for health and fun for the heart. Giving your baby a bath may be the cutest activity ever to do with your baby. Seeing the awe in your little one’s face and hearing that sweet magical sound of giggling as bubbles float into the air. What could be better? There are, however, a lot of questions and confusion related to this routine, specifically when it’s performed before bed, which is a quite frequent occurrence.

Here’s what you need to know about night time baby baths:

Time:

First things first, if you’re planning to give your baby a bath at night, you need to make sure that it’s the right time. This doesn’t mean you need to fix a specific time and stick to it. What it does mean is that you need to make sure that you have the right amount of time that you need to give your baby a bath. Now, keep in mind that bathing a baby can take longer than you’d expect for someone so small. When it comes to babies, skin care is a huge task that needs to be paid attention to. In light of this, you need to make sure you have enough time to give your little one a bath and do all the skin care things needed such as moisturizing, applying a rash cream, powder, or whatever it is that your baby requires.

Mood:

It means you need to read the situation and make a decision regarding whether it’s a good time to give your baby a bath. When is it NOT a good time to give your baby a bath? When they’re tired, sleepy, hungry, or cranky and irritable. Why? If your baby is in a state of discomfort and/or irritable, they will more likely than not become difficult to handle. In addition to making the experience a nightmare for you with a baby that won’t quite thrashing around, it’ll also become a nightmare for your little one and it might make them hate bath time. This is a complete no-no because if they hate bath time, it becomes more difficult for you to do it the next time.

Prep:

Make sure you have everything you need for your baby’s bath and post-bath grooming and dressing. Soap, shampoo, water, towel, powder, moisturizer, diaper, clothes, EVERYTHING. This is extremely important because you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you’ve forgotten the soap and your baby is wet and in the middle of the bath; firstly, you cannot leave your baby alone, and secondly, pausing in the middle of a bath means your baby is wet and cold which is completely unacceptable. Babies are very susceptible to catching colds so such a situation, even for a short period, may affect them. When it comes to bath prep, keep in mind that apart from the stuff you need during a bath, you should keep the stuff ready that you’re going to need to dress your baby. It’s extremely difficult to handle a naked, towelled baby while trying to get together the things needed to clothe the said baby.

Temperature:

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for any time of the day. Please check the temperature of the water you use to bathe your baby. Babies have incredibly sensitive skin which means if the water it hotter than it should be, it’s very likely to damage your baby’s skin. It could lead to drying out or rashes, or burns. On the other hand, due to baby’s having not fully developed immune systems, they’re very susceptible to illnesses, especially colds which they tend to catch in a jiffy. This means that if the water you use is colder than it should be, you’re leaving your baby open to the risk of catching a cold. The ideal temperature for a baby’s bath is lukewarm, between 32 and 37 degrees Celsius.

Feeding:

Your baby should ideally be between meals when given a bath, i.e., not too full or too hungry. If your baby is full, then giving your baby a bath at that point might make your little one throw up with the body massaging. Contrarily, a hungry baby will tend to be fussy and difficult to handle. There might be a lot of squirming and crying involved. A lot of parents find that babies tend to get hungry after bath time, so if you want to make it easier on yourself, try to keep all the things ready that you may require while feeding your baby - bottled warm milk, burping towel, bib?

Cleansing:

Many parents are under the assumption that using soap or cleanser would damage a baby’s skin and therefore find it better to use only water. This would be a wrong assumption to make. Water tends to dry out the skin and may not remove oil and grime from your baby’s skin. There are many baby soaps and body washes that are manufactured specifically for baby’s, keeping in mind the sensitivity of their skin and to prevent drying out. Making use of these cleansers would be ideal for giving your baby a bath for the best results.

Frequency and Length:

When it comes to baby’s, there is no necessity to give them bath’s every day. In fact, it is strongly advised against as frequent baths will tend to eliminate moisture from the skin. Ideally, you could give your baby a bath once every two or three days. The length of these baths should be such that your baby is in it for just the right amount of time needed to get clean. Very long baths may lead to catching a cold or sucking out moisture from the skin.

Response:

This would also be a good time to mention the importance of gauging your baby’s responses to night-time baths. While many babies tend to find it relaxing which makes it a great before-bed routine, some babies love it so much that it might excite them. In such a case, a baby would choose to play around rather than go to sleep because of all the energy and adrenaline from the excitement of a bath. Babies who are relaxed by baths are the ones who should be given baths at night as it may help them sleep easier. The time of day you give your baby a bath is your choice; it isn’t necessary for it to be at night or in the day. If you find that baths excite your baby, you may find it more convenient to stick to day-time baths.

It’s okay to ask for advice or help when you’re just starting out at this whole parenting thing. Giving a baby a bath can seem a daunting task at times and at the beginning there may be a lot of things you forget to do or keep ready. You’ll get the hang of it soon though, so hang in there!

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