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Kelsey Paine

Why Bath Time Is the Perfect Bonding Ritual With Baby

These tips will bring you and baby even closer.

Between feedings, playtime and bedtime snuggles, there are lots of everyday moments for a new parent to find opportunities to bond with baby. And that’s great news, since studies show that strong ties between parents and baby foster your little one’s sense of security and positive self-esteem. Another key activity prime for quality bonding? Bath time. Not only is it essential to keep baby clean and happy, the routine provides a distraction-free moment to slow down and interact both physically and emotionally with your child. Read on for tips (and some soothing Weleda bath products) to transform baby’s bath time into a bonding ritual you’ll both love.

Make Washing Up Relaxing

It’s safe to switch from sponge baths to a full bath when baby’s umbilical cord falls off. It may take some time for baby to get used to the more thorough washing process, but your reassuring touch and gentle bath products will help him or her adapt. Skip a washcloth and use your hands to promote skin-to-skin contact, which bolsters bonding and can help you both feel more relaxed. Use a cleanser like Weleda’s 2-in-1 Gentle Shampoo & Body Wash to create a soothing, foaming lather and then gently wash baby’s body, working your way up to the head. After rinsing baby off with warm water, dry them with a soft towel and enjoy some quality (and sweet-smelling!) snuggle-time.

Incorporate Playtime

Baby loves putting on a show during bath time—and it only takes a few props and a captive audience (that’s you!). Keep baby secure in a seat or tub, hand over a few toys to keep them entertained, and put on music or sing songs. Don’t be shy about getting in on playtime: Being silly and splashing around will encourage baby to participate too. And the more fun you seem to be having, the more baby will—leading to shared bonding moments between the two of you.

Encourage Communication

Babies respond very early to the sound of your voice, so while you should be talking to them all the time, the bathroom—with its super-strong acoustics—is the perfect place to chat. Have a heart-to-heart during bath time: Share details about your day, narrate the bathing process, or just talk about how happy you are to be spending time with them. Maintain eye contact, smile and encourage baby to speak back (they’ll get a kick out of hearing their voice echo around the room!). The sooner you introduce new sounds and words, the sooner baby will learn them, and the more connected you’ll feel to each other.

Give Baby a Gentle Massage

Physical contact not only helps baby feel safe and secure, it also builds a strong connection between parent and child. Giving baby a light massage after a warm bath will help both of you wind down at the end of a busy day. Warm Weleda’s Comforting Baby Oil in your palms and start with baby’s feet, gently squeezing with your hands as you move from the ankle to the thigh, then move to the arms and torso using a calming circular motion. Weleda’s gentle formula (made with calendula, sweet almond and sesame seed oils) is safe for delicate skin and will leave baby feeling smoother and silkier than before (as if that was even possible!). Between the light scent and soothing massage, you’ll both be super-relaxed—perfect to set yourselves up for bedtime.

The Bump and Weleda present a sponsored series with tips for creating meaningful bonding moments with baby. Visit Weleda.com to learn more about their baby skin care products.

PHOTO: iStock