Friday, March 5, 2010
There are a lot of products out there made specifically for baby bath time, many of which can be pricey chemical laden and an irritation to baby’s skin. One brand in particular claims to increase the length of sleep for babies if you follow the 3 step procedure which seems like a shameless play on sleep deprived mothers emotions to me. If you bought everything major companies claim you need ,not only would you have spent a small fortune but the list of chemicals going onto your precious little one’s skin is huge. I have a fair few issues modern baby bath products.
1. There are truckloads of chemicals
2. They are primarily petroleum by-product derived
3. The main scent is a fragrance rather than an actual plant product or essential oil, fragrances are phthalates which are known hormone interrupters responsible for low sperm motility, infertility and a whole host of other nasty things
4. They tend to be expensive and unnecessary
5. An overload of chemicals even less harmful ones can exacerbate eczema
The thing to remember is that the trick to getting a baby to sleep, is less about the products and more about the process. My wee man slept through the night from 3 months on and I attribute a lot of that to following a simple but loving and natural pattern before bed time.
To have a happy pink and clean baby is actually fairly simple, There is nothing like a warm relaxing bath to put baby in the mood for sleep, a few drops of lavender essential oil can help soothe them but a warm bath is the primary thing. You do not need anything else to scent or put in the water, babies don’t actually need to be vigorously soaped or have bubbles in their bath. Water is plenty good enough to clean and entertain, for grubby crevices and stubborn grime I use the barest little bit of Eco Baby soap and then rinse off. Soap is actually not bad for you, if it is a chemical and fragrance free soap there is nothing wrong with it. It is cheap, it is simple and it lasts a year and a day. Bring back soap I say.
Once you have wrapped baby up in a warm fluffy towel and hugged them dry they will hopefully receptive to a baby massage which is actually the key to longer sleep. I pick my moments, sometimes he is too tired and sometimes he is too crabby. If you haven’t tried baby massage I highly recommend it. It would be worthwhile taking a short course with a group of friends who have similar aged babies.
The principle is pretty simple, lots of gentle stroking and rubbing with thumbs and hands. Starting with the legs and feet is a good entry point to get baby used to it. A simple carrier oil is the best massage lotion to use, almond oil is often recommended but if you have a concern about nut allergies olive oil is a fantastic and budget conscious choice. All you need to do is rub a little on your hands and smooth it over the area being massaged.
My little monster loves having his feet rubbed and when he sees me rubbing the oil on my hands he goes all quiet and calm. It’s a really neat way of communicating with baby by getting ‘permission’ to rub them. If they turn their head away or get upset maybe massge is best kept simple and quick or not at all.You might feel a little silly but singing a soft lullaby or song really soothes and engages them. Massage is a great way to develop attachment, calm and soothe your child and is great for naturally moisturising their soft soft skin.
If you would rather use less hot water or you don't have a people sized bath then there is nothing wrong with a shower, if you start early they get used to it and even come to love it, my husband often showers with the wee man in the weekends or if I am in a hurry in the morning I share my shower. I just make a little nest of towels on the floor so I can wrap him up half way through and finish my ablutions.
Bath time is a lovely time for bonding, I like to get in at the same time and that way we get a lot of really nice skin to skin contact and I feel a lot safer not handling a slippery eel like critter while bending over the bath doing lord knows what to my back. He simply sits on top of me and enjoys the water in a safe and comforting environment. I used to worry about being poo'd on but so far so good (fingers crossed) When he was smaller he used to feed in the bath as well which he loved but now of course toys are far more interesting and splashing has become the new funnest thing in the world. I am sure he will grow out of having mum in the bath at some stage but hopefully not too soon!