Bathing your baby for the first time

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bathing babyBathing a newborn for the first time can be a nervous experience for parents and especially first time parents but it need not be because it is one of the many ways that they can bond with their newborn.

According to American psychologist Stephanie Manes in an interview with MailOnline, bathing is a powerful moment of maternal connection. “The bathing ritual is an important developmental role for a child in that it offers a powerful opportunity for mother infant bonding, it is a time for physical closeness along with face to face contact when the mom can follow her baby's gaze - experiences that foster healthy attachment.”

“Most parents are nervous because they fear dropping the baby because their size and soft skin,” says Cynthia Kilonzi, a pediatrician at a private clinic in Nairobi. “The fear is normal, that is why you will find in most households, the new parents get help in the first few months from their mother on how to take care of the baby.

“In the first weeks, the baby is bathed in the kitchen sink, which is obviously scrubbed spotless clean before hand or in a small basin using a wash cloth or a sponge.”

Cynthia advises mothers not to wash inside the ears of a new born because it may damage their eardrum but they need to wipe behind their ears which tends to get sweaty and forms a milky layer which can cause diseases if left unclean.

The mother also needs to makes sure there is a clean and dry towel so that immediatelyftere the bath is done the baby is dried off quickly and kept warm. “There is no need to be bath the baby everyday; two to three times a week is enough,” said Cynthia.

In fact American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to bathe babies at least three times a week, because too much bathing can decrease the babies’ natural bacteria count and make them more susceptible to infections and rashes.

“But during the other days make sure you wash their face every day, clean the genitals and bottom after every diaper change and wipe off any vomit or saliva off their skin to avoid infections.”

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