How bath time changes as your baby develops
With the rapid development of a baby's brain and body in the first few months after birth, bath time is a great opportunity to enhance your baby's movement and thinking skills.
Bath time is special because it is a time when you are so closely engaged with your baby, with no outside distractions. It’s also a great opportunity to observe and stimulate her growth and development.
It’s interesting to know that many babies double their birth weight in the first five months! But even more fascinating, is the rapid rate of babies’ brain development in the early years - research shows that 85 percent of baby’s brain is formed in the first three years of life! Brain development is important because it is what enables them to manage their physical bodies (movement and co-ordination); then their emotions and ultimately, their thinking or cognitive processes.
Research by JOHNSON’S® shows that bath time is an ideal daily opportunity for multi-sensorial stimulation to help enhance your baby’s learning and healthy development. As your baby develops, you will find that her bath time routine and the games you play with her will change and evolve to meet her needs as she reaches new milestones.
1 – 2 months
In the first couple of months, bath time is usually a quiet time that helps to soothe your baby before bedtime. As she has limited control over her body, you will need to hold her in a safety grip. Adding a gentle baby bath like JOHNSON’S® Baby Top-to-Toe® Wash to the water in advance will help make bath time easier for you. To help her feel more secure, you can place a warm, wet facecloth on her tummy and talk to her in a soothing voice. In her second month, you can sway her gently up and down in the bath water to stimulate the sense of movement. This enhances tone and coordination later.
3 – 4 months
By now, your special touch, the gentle smell of JOHNSON’S® Baby products and the sound of your voice will have helped your baby build a positive association with bath time. Babies’ muscular control will have improved and they will be able to hold their heads steady and reach out for objects. Introduce a few brightly coloured bath toys with different shapes and textures. Talk and sing rhymes to your baby during bath time to help stimulate her speech development.
5- 6 months
As your baby grows, she will learn to distinguish between bold colours and shapes and will have more muscular co-ordination. She will start imitating sounds and may blow bubbles. Your games can now become more interactive. Sing simple songs to baby as you bath them - like "this is the way to wash your face”. Dab a few bubbles of JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo on baby’s hand or the side of the bath, and watch her pleasure as she discovers that she can pop them.
7 – 9 months
Most babies make the transition to the big bath easily and it allows more space for learning through play. Your baby will start sitting by herself at this stage and will become more mobile. She should start crawling and trying to stand by herself, so you need to keep a very watchful eye on her in the bath. Use a non-slip rubber mat on the bottom of the bath, keep a steadying hand on her arm if necessary and wrap a towel around the hot tap. Your baby will start grasping the concept of cause and effect, so praise her as she learns to kick and splash, pour water from a cup or place a toy inside a plastic cup.
As your baby reaches different milestones, the games you play with her to stimulate her development will change. Remember that each child is unique and will develop at their own rate.