Pediatric daily care: Bathing/Massage

Pediatric daily care: Bathing/Massage

Carrying your baby for nine months and undergoing the birthing process is only 65% of the job done; the next part ahead of you is even more vital and essential for your child’s growth and development. Many parents find themselves clueless and require help from elders in the family to guide them in certain situations.

Besides feeding the baby from time to time, grooming them, giving them the required vaccination and immunization to fight diseases, daily pediatric care is also of great essence. Pediatric daily care would involve gentle bathing and baby massage.

Why is baby bathing essential?

Your baby is new to the outside world, an environment with numerous viruses and other bacteria that can cause infections, diseases, and flu. Since a child is still growing and developing, their immune system is not as strong as a full-grown adult. This is why hygiene and grooming are some of the most imperative aspects of parenting. When you have guests, family members, or friends over, ensure that they sanitize their hands before touching the newborn.Since the external environment is non-sterile, any medium of contact can be harmful for the baby.

Why is baby massage essential?

Gas, cramps, or constipation are common issues thatnewborns face. There are various remedies for it, like a pediatric massage. The benefits of it are not known to many parents. However, massages are a great way of social bonding between the mother and child. If your baby has muscle tension, a bloaty stomach, or body ache, giving them a soothing massage can considerably improve their circulatory and digestive system, and help them relax entirely. Massages however are not just reserved for such times, massaging your baby everyday is recommended for your child’s overall health.

What are the benefits of a baby massage?

Apart from relaxing your baby, giving her a massage will improve and increase interaction and bonding between the mother and child. Most babies cry all night and have an untimely routine; a massage can help them sleep more easily. This also helps reduce stress and prevents babies from being cranky. Certain studies also suggest that soothing massages stimulate and foster healthy growth for premature babies.

How to give your baby a massage safely, and how often should it be done?

  • Massage time should essentially be a relaxing and calm experience for your baby, so try to start with a quiet environment like a bedroom with the windows closed to avoid any external sounds that might hinder the experience.
  • Select an oil that is more organic and is friendly to baby skin since it is delicate.
  • You can try and test the oil by putting it on a small area before you begin applying it to a wider surface area.
  • Place your baby on her back and gently begin to rub the joints and muscles, between the toes, around the neck, and behind the ears in a rhythmic motion. Keep in mind that your touch should be gentle and not too aggressive.
  • Notice any significant cues of discomfort from your baby, and stop if you notice any immediately.
  • If you see signs of your baby enjoying, repeat the process a couple of times till your baby sleeps away to glory!

You can also place and rub your baby’s back while positioning her on your belly. This is a more affectionate form of massaging and relaxing your baby. You can use sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, olive oil, or chamomile oil alternatively.

How often should you bathe your newborn?

A newborn is already born with a protective layer on their skin; hence giving a bath every day would most probably dry the skin out, resulting in itchiness and dry skin. Three times a week is what is advised by most doctors and healthcare professionals, at least in the beginning when your baby is not very mobile. Clearing out the diaper and any food on the neck area already helps you make sure that your baby’s important parts are cleaned.  If you feel the need, you can give your baby a light sponge bath every two-three days.

At what time of the day should you bath your baby?

Different babies react differently to various stimuli. Some newborns might be calm and composed, while some can be irritable and flustered. Try to pick a time when your baby is most calm to avoid or prevent them from being cranky during the bath. Avoid bathing them right after a meal since the digestion process might be compromised.

How to give your baby a sponge bath safely?

When giving your baby a sponge bath as an alternative to keep them clean between every proper bathing session, you should make sure that you:

  • Choose a place with a hard surface so that you can sit with your baby comfortably while giving them a sponge bath. You can also do it on the floor with a couple of towels below.
  • You can make your baby lie on a changing pad or the towel laid out.
  • To ensure safety, try taking help from your partner or any other member of your family to hold the baby while you sponge her.
  • Keep all the things you require close to you, like a washcloth, baby shampoo or soap that does not have too many chemicals, a clean diaper, and a fresh towel.
  • Make sure that the water being used is not too hot or not too cold. Lukewarm water should be best used.
  • You can hold your baby down gently while patting her with a wet washcloth dipped in shampoo. Armpits, genitals, neck, and feet are a few common spots to clean thoroughly.Whereas eyelid needs to be cleaned by using wet cloth/cotton dabbed in water.
  • After this, you can do a final sponge with plain water and use a fresh towel to dry your baby out, followed by moisturization or a baby massage to relax the muscles.

Avoid having the fan on while bathing your baby, and ensure that she is dried properly to avoid a cold. The above is general information, issued in public interest. Please contact your doctor for more details.

Ankura Hospital
Author: Ankura Hospital

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