The expert: Sophie Leguen, childcare nurse
The wrapped baby bath, also called “ swaddled bath » Where “swaddled bath”, is a technique that consists of bathing baby by swaddling him in a swaddle to rediscover the atmosphere of his mother’s belly. This method comes from neonatology departments where it is offered to premature babies. The wrapped bath is part of the Individualized Neonatal Assessment and Developmental Care Program called the Nidcap® created in 1986 by Heidelise Alsthen a doctor of psychology at Harvard University. “The goal of this program is to support the development of babies by developing family-centred care. It limits the baby’s stress related to the environment and it gives parents back their place with their hospitalized baby », explains Sophie Leguen, childcare nurse and founder of the blog www.mamanradieuse.com. Since then, the wrapped bath has become more popular and any baby can try it.
To practice the wrapped bath, Sophie Leguen advises to make sure that baby has a body temperature of at least 36.5° and does not have a fever. “The bath is energy consumerif baby is not very well, it is better to postpone this moment », she suggests. We create a pleasant atmosphere for baby’s first baths with soft lighting, soft music, a little heating to have a good temperature of the room, and we chase away any drafts. We warn baby that bath time has arrived, and then we gather the equipment we need: diaper, diaper, soap… On the changing table, we spread the diaper point up, and we place the child on it . As we undress him, we cover his limbs with a piece of the tongue so as not to leave him naked. We keep a hand on him at all times, we talk to him and we exchange looks to accompany him in this moment. For the wrapped bath, baby does not need to be swaddled in a precise way, the technique is more free than a classic swaddling.
Sheet, tetra… which swaddle to use?
As for the diaper, also called tetrait is easily found in stores or on the Internet, but a piece of fabric from a old sheet does the job very well. The swaddle is a versatile childcare item since it can also be used to breastfeed baby out of sight, protect baby from the sun in his pram, protect the parent’s clothes in the event of regurgitation… The diaper is generally made of cotton and of variable dimensions: 70 x 70 cm, 120 x 120 cm…
What temperature for bath water?
Before bathing baby, we make sure using a bath thermometer that his bath is at the right temperature, that is to say close to his body temperature: 37°C. It is possible to heat the water slightly more if the child likes to enjoy his bath because the water cools quickly, and so does the baby. But no excess!
Why bathe baby with a diaper?
We then immerse the baby’s whole body in the water, except for his head. So he is not cold. As with any bath, baby is in flotation and takes advantage of the aquatic element, an environment he knows well and appreciates having stayed there for nine months. The little extra of the diaper? It contains baby. But in the womb, he was also kept in a narrow and warm space. That soothes him and theand secure. He can then let go and relax. He rediscovers the sensations experienced in his mother’s womb. To make the most of these first baths and reproduce these sensations, Sophie Leguen recommends cradling baby in the water with gentle back and forth movements. “It is not uncommon to see babies regaining their fetal position when bathing wrapped »notes the childcare nurse.
Soap baby in water
During the wrapped bath, you can also soap your baby. Just lift the diaper on his leg to apply the soap, then cover it. This is done on all parts of the body. Once the bath is finished, we take the baby out of the water. The bath can last 5 to 10 minutes in a toddler. “The most important thing is to see if the baby likes it”, slips the childcare nurse. We take off his diaper and wrap him in his towel to dry it wellstarting with the head, because it is by this end that cools most quickly.
What are the benefits of a wrapped bath?
Being swaddled in a swaddle soothes and secured newborns. Their limbs are restrained, and it reminds them of their womb life. They find themselves in a familiar environment and can then relax. “The baby is less afraid, is less stressed and can let go”, adds the pediatric nurse. It is also a great moment of relaxation, exchange and complicity between young parents and their child, which strengthens the bonds of attachment.
When to bathe baby: before or after eating?
The bath can be taken at any time, but most of the time, it takes place at the end of the day. “There is no no user manualbut often it is included in the small evening routine and the ideal is to give it when baby is calm and relaxed », suggests the childcare nurse. As a parent, we prefer a moment when we are ourselves in good mood for this bath, not too rushed and serene. If baby ain’t too much hungryit is better to give him a bath before dinner. Since he’s going to be handled a bit, if his stomach is full, it may bother him.
Wrap bath: up to what age?
According to the expert, the wrapped bath can be practiced jup to 2-3 months baby. Then, he gains in mobility and sometimes appreciates being swaddled less. Here too, we adapt to the signs he sends.
Baby wrapped bath: training, well-being videos…
Childcare auxiliaries or childcare nurses receive instruction on the wrapped bath during their training. They can transmit these gestures to the parents. Otherwise, a few videos on the Internet will help to reproduce this bath synonymous with well-being.