Showering and Swimming with your Baby
I began showering with each of my children as soon as their umbilical stumps fell off. As I was often alone with them, I found myself faced with the difficult choice to stop showering or listen to them cry . but showering with them was the perfect solution!
Babies love the water, and with a few tips and a bit of caution, you will find that showering and swimming can be pleasurable for both of you!
When carrying a baby (or any child) in the water, it is best to use a tummy-to-tummy or heart-to heart front carry, or a hip carry. I don't recommend back carrying in water, whether the shower or pool. I do occasionally recline my babies to nurse, but am especially vigilant during these times that they are not aspirating any water.
Safety first! Remember that even if baby is in a water carrier (such as Gypsy Mama's Water Wrap™), (s)he is still in the water and requires you vigilance. Be aware of where your baby's face is in respect to the water flow, especially if she is tiny. My babies usually slept against me in the shower, and even with my generous cleavage collecting water, I never had a problem, but I was always careful to be sure the water wasn't puddling around their faces. Likewise when I was nursing them in the shower, I was careful to turn my body so that water wasn't running into their mouths and noses. Also be aware that the hot steamy shower that may be so relaxing after a long day of babywearing is probably too warm for baby. Also, remember that things you keep high, such as a razor, are now probably within baby's reach. Watch out; babies are fast! Finally, please, please don't shave while carrying your baby. As I said, babies are fast. And they are best left intact, with all the fingers and toes they are born with. Use your common sense! If you don't have the opportunity to shower and shave without baby in the tub with you, perhaps it's time to explore your crunchier side.
While it may sound complicated, it is actually not difficult to get clean with a baby in a secure carrier. Personally, I use little soap on my own body and seldom soap my babies. However, as a first-time mother, I soaped us both up head to toe. Regardless of your showering style, it's easy to get you both clean.
I begin each shower by wetting my hair, tilting my head back so that the water runs back off my head rather than over my (and baby's) face. Then, I turn so that baby's back and legs are in the spray while I soap my hair. This way, baby stays warm and gets to enjoy the soothing sensation of the warm water. Once my hair is washed, I turn to rinse it, again, keeping my head tipped back far and keeping the spray behind me, using my hands to smooth the soap from my head. In this way, I keep the shampoo out of baby's face.
When I'm done shampooing, I turn baby back into the water while I add conditioner to my hair and apply soap in the places I feel it's necessary. You can soap baby right through your Gypsy Mama Water Wrap™, and through most water carriers. The Gypsy Mama Water Wrap™ also stretches a bit, allowing you to easily reach between yourself and your babe. At this point you will be especially grateful for your carrier, as soapy babies are slippery!
Now, I rinse the conditioner from my hair and carefully turn my body and baby's to rinse the soap away, keeping baby's face out of the spray by turning my body. When they are small, I unwrap the carrier while the water is still running, keeping us both warm while I get any last bits of soap off, then turn off the water and put on a Towel Pouch™. You can also simply wrap yourself and baby in a towel or a robe. Some women even leave their water carriers on - our Water Wraps™ hold very little water, so you can simply towel dry them and toss a robe on top! Or, when my babies are old enough, I plug the tub for the last bit of the shower and run a few inches of water and let them play while I dry off beside them.
Most babies love water, especially when it's the right temperature. Please be especially considerate when choosing a swimming environment for your tiny baby - new babies are unable to properly regulate their body temperature, and while they will do better snuggled against your body, they should not be exposed to cold water for any length of time. Also consider the effects of chlorine and sun on your baby's skin. Finally, the American Red Cross cautions that young babies can ingest too much water quickly, causing a medical condition called water intoxication which can make them dangerously ill and even cause death. This will, of course, not be a problem if you are not submerging your infant's head. This is of greatest concern when your baby is under 6 months of age.
Always protect your baby adequately from sun. The Gypsy Mama Water WrapT has a UPF of 15+ percent - it blocks more than 93% of the sun's UVA/UVB rays. You can also use a sun hat or other protective equipment if you will be in the sun.
While wading with your baby, make it fun! Bounce, sing, twirl. You can do water aerobics while wearing your baby, or help an older child. If you will be swimming where there are waves or currents, it is important to always keep a hand free in the unlikely event that a wave or current causes your baby to float upward out of the carrier. This is far less likely in our water wrap™ than in other carriers, and pretty unlikely no matter what carrier you are using, but in this case it is an important precaution.
In time, your baby may like to be out of the carrier. However, even shy toddlers and preschoolers can benefit from the use of a water carrier. Many love having a home base to go to after a big splash or simply tiredness, and wearing a heavy child in the water reduces the strain of their weight, making it fun for both of you.
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