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BATHING AND MASSAGING

Bathe your baby at a time that is convenient to you. Before feeding, is usually a good time, since most babies fall asleep shortly after eating. If your baby is a poor feeder, it may be better to wait and bathe him between his feeds.

It is advisable to give a sponge bath in place of tub bath till the umbilical stump is healed or the circumcision wound is healed.

Sponge Bath

1. You may give a sponge bath in your lap or on a table. When using a hard surface, pad the surface and then place something waterproof over it.
2. Have all of the following ready before undressing the baby :
a. Baby soap and shampoo (if you use it).
b. Sterile cotton wool for cleaning the eyes.
c. Towel, preferably with a hood.
d. Clean nappy and clothing.
e. Ointment for nappy rash, if needed.
f. Rubbing alcohol and cotton wool.
g. Warm water.
Wash your baby's face and scalp with a wash cloth and clear warm water. The scalp and hair can be shampooed once or twice a week. Lightly soap the rest of your baby, either with a wash cloth or your hand. Wipe the soap off by going over several times with an unused wash cloth, paying special attention to creases.


Tub Bathing

1. Select a location for the portable baby tub. The kitchen or the bathroom sink are all good propositions. Be sure you will be comfortable and have plenty of room for the tub and bath paraphernalia.
2. Have all the following ready before undressing the baby and filling the tub :
a. Tub, basin or sink, scrubbed ready to fill.
b. Baby soap and shampoo.
c. Sterile cotton wool for cleaning the eyes.
d. Towel, preferably with a hood.
e. Clean nappy and clothing.
3. First, test the water with your elbow or wrist. The water should be comfortably warm, not too cold or hot.
4. Use a couple of inches of water in the baby tub until you get used to handling your baby. A tub is less slippery if you line it with a towel or diaper.
5. Hold your baby so his head is supported on your wrist and fingers. Never take your hands off the baby during bath and never leave the baby unattended.
6. Wash the baby working from the cleanest to the dirtiest areas. First, using a sterile cotton wool ball moistened in warm water,clean baby's eyes wiping gently from nose downwards. Use a fresh ball for each eye. Then wash face, outer ears and neck.
7. Rinse baby thoroughly with a fresh cloth.
8. Once or twice a week, wash baby's scalp using mild baby soap or baby shampoo. Rinse very thoroughly and towel dry.
9. Wrap baby in a towel, pat dry and dress.
10. Powders should be avoided because they get into your baby's breathing passage.



Method of Massaging

1. Undress the baby.
2. One may begin the massage from any part of the baby's body. Fore arms and legs, milking strokes following the direction of hair growth . The facial massage includes stroking the center of forehead to the ears, down along the bridge of the nose to the ears and along the jaws to the ears. Repeated small strokes around the mouth help to facilitate mouth closure. For massaging the baby's stomach you may use the paddle wheel stroke which is a hand over hand motion over the centre of the trunk. This helps to release the wind in a colicky infant. Use gliding or circular motions to massage the back.
3. Massaging should be pleasurable to the baby, and should be stopped if babies become upset.
4. Massaging can be done from 5 minutes to half an hour.
5. Massaging can be done with natural oils like olive oil or vegetable oil, but never with a petroleum based product. Massaging the body does have its own benefits but it is still a choice which a mother may avail of it or not. Baby Massage Touch is an important aspect of human interaction to express love and affection to the loved ones. Massaging your baby allows you to facilitate interaction and bonding between you and the baby. It is beneficial both to the mother and child.



Benefits of Massage

1. Helps to relax an irritable baby or arousing a lethargic one.
2. Improves the blood and lymphatic circulation.
3. Improves the skin's circulation especially if the baby has a dry skin.
4. Normalises the gastro-intestinal functioning thereby improving digestion and releasing wind in stomach.
5. Increases the mothers confidence in handling the baby.
6. Makes the child feel secured.


Pointers to look into for massaging the baby

1. The baby should not be hungry, wet or just fed.
2. The mother should be relaxed, comfortable and preferably have a fixed time for the massage.
3. Choose a warm and a quiet room to prevent the baby from catching a chill as he will be wearing a diaper only.
4. Soothing music may help to relax both the mother and child.

 

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