Bath­time can be about so much more than just hy­giene – make sure it’s a joyful learn­ing and bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all of you

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier -

BATH­TIME IS PAM­PER time, and the lov­ing touch that hap­pens here is stim­u­lat­ing for your baby. She gets to know her en­vi­ron­ment via her whole body, and all the sen­sa­tions of a bath are good for her senses. Kiss her and sing to her – she’ll love it. The pos­i­tive as­so­ci­a­tions this cre­ates with bath­time will mean she’ll al­ways look for­ward to this spe­cial time of day.


Get in the tub your­self and bath with her. For a small baby this in­ti­mate mo­ment and skin-on-skin con­tact will be won­der­ful. Hold her in your lap, and com­bine bath­time with a mas­sage.

Bathing to­gether is also fun for your older baby and can make her feel like a big girl, es­pe­cially if she can sit be­tween your legs and look you in the eye.


Buy bath prod­ucts that colour the wa­ter to ex­pose your baby to the rain­bow. Tod­dlers might want to choose their colours, or you can have a colour for ev­ery day of the week.


Al­though your baby’s much too young for the ABC, sponge let­ters can be great toys. Th­ese chunky let­ters – for sale at most baby toy shops – are just the thing for those fat lit­tle fin­gers to grab and will also help de­velop fine mo­tor skills.


Ba­bies from as young as three months can be made to “swim” in the bath. Get him to do “back­stroke” by sup­port­ing his head and bum or cup his chin and sup­port his tummy and sway him from side to side. Th­ese ac­tions will help to de­velop his mo­tor skills while the gen­tle swoosh­ing of the wa­ter will calm him down. You can also lift your baby out of the wa­ter and bring him back in, but re­mem­ber he might start shiv­er­ing if he is out of the wa­ter for too long.


Use an old kitchen jug – plas­tic or enamel – to scoop up wa­ter and pour it out again. Your baby will en­joy his own pri­vate bath water­fall. Hold his hands un­der the run­ning wa­ter so he can feel it, or pour the wa­ter over his belly. He’ll like th­ese sen­sa­tions, which stim­u­late his sense of touch.

At some stage he’ll want to pour from the jug him­self. It’s an ex­cel­lent ex­er­cise that will de­velop his shoul­der mus­cles. But stick to a light, small jug so he can han­dle it with ease.

A sieve is an­other piece of kitchen equip­ment that can be used as a bath toy. Your baby will like dis­cov­er­ing how wa­ter trick­les through a sieve.


Scoop up some foam and blow it into his face or bring bub­ble mix to the bath and blow them at eye level. At first he’ll just watch the bub­bles un­til they dis­ap­pear, which will get his eye mus­cles work­ing. Later he’ll want to catch them, which will get him stretch­ing and flex­ing his arm mus­cles.

A scented bath foam, such as camomile or laven­der, will help de­velop his sense of smell.

Bath toys can also play hide and seek in the foam – hide Frog­gie or Mama Duck in the foam and ask your baby to look for them. This helps a baby de­velop a sense of ob­ject per­ma­nence. This game is ap­pro­pri­ate at about nine months old, be­cause only then does baby start un­der­stand­ing that things ex­ist out­side of his field of vi­sion.

Re­mem­ber, a baby’s skin dif­fers from an adult’s, as it’s still de­vel­op­ing. Your baby’s skin is thin­ner, pro­duces very lit­tle se­bum (waxy sub­stance), and the pro­tec­tive acid man­tle also still needs to de­velop. So choose spe­cial baby skin­care prod­ucts that of­fer the best care for a baby’s thin, del­i­cate skin.


Your baby will like watch­ing bath toys float­ing around in the bath. It can help to de­velop his eye mus­cles. Use bath toys as props for songs – a boat can be great for “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.

Tex­tured bath toys like smooth ducks, slip­pery oc­to­puses and prickly fish will also stim­u­late his sense of touch.

Later, you can demon­strate fun­da­men­tal con­cepts such as “heavy” and “light” with cer­tain toys that float and oth­ers that sink. Or awaken the en­gi­neer in­side him with a wa­ter wheel.


Plas­tic books are a dime a dozen and loads of fun for ba­bies. Not only do they learn to love books in this way, but they also con­cen­trate a lit­tle in a calm­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Re­mem­ber to al­ways dry off th­ese books af­ter bath time to pre­vent them from go­ing mouldy.


With colour­ful bath crayons, which are com­monly avail­able from baby toy stores, your baby can draw on the tub or on him­self. Or you can draw and tell sto­ries as you go. The crayons wash off eas­ily. When you draw, you stim­u­late his sense of sight, and when he draws, his fine mo­tor skills get a boost.


An old div­ing mask is a great bath toy for older ba­bies. If you’ve demon­strated a cou­ple of times where a div­ing mask goes, he’ll soon learn to hold it in front of his eyes him­self. Buy some plas­tic fish for the bot­tom of the bath (stick­ers can also work), and en­cour­age him to open his eyes “un­der the wa­ter” and be amazed by the world down there. This stim­u­lates his vis­ual per­cep­tion.


Buy your baby his own sponge or face cloth with which he can wash him­self. Try buy­ing dif­fer­ent tex­tures, be­cause this will de­velop his tac­tile sense. Don’t ex­pect thor­ough clean­ing – rather use this op­por­tu­nity to teach him about his neck, arms, el­bows, tummy, legs, feet and toes. Ask him to wash the dif­fer­ent body parts by him­self.


With­out ex­cep­tion, this bath rule needs to be ad­hered to: never ever leave your baby alone in the bath. Not even for a sec­ond. Ba­bies can drown very quickly and in very shal­low wa­ter. Ig­nore the door­bell and your phone.

Th­ese washes have h a tear-free f for­mu­la­tion that con­di­tions and mois­turises del­i­cate hair and skin. Pu­rity & El­iz­a­beth Anne’s Good­nights and Fresh Head to Toe Wash, R68.24 (500ml). Also try the Aque­ous Cream Pump, R38.79 (500ml). Avail­able from all big su­per­mar­kets and baby shops.*

This baby skin­care range from Pu­rity & El­iz­a­beth Anne’s is fra­grance-free. Aque­ous Cream R31.49 (325 ml), Petroleum Jelly, R26.79 (250 ml), Sham­poo and Cleanser R44.99 (200 ml). Avail­able from all big su­per­mar­kets and baby shops.*

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