Update Sep 2013: Sonia Rochel’s website seems to have disappeared. That means the two links to her website in this article no longer work. I’ve left them intact, though, just in case her website is restored at some point.
You may have seen this video making its way around the interwebs recently: it’s of a nurse gently bathing a newborn.
If you haven’t seen it, stop reading right now and have a look. It’s five sweet minutes that will make you warm and glowy all over. I guarantee you won’t be able to resist smiling.
Did you melt? I certainly did. At 0:21 you can see the newborn give a hint of smile and starting at 0:26, she makes adorable little faces of pleasure. At 0:33 she’s wide awake and enjoying the experience. As the bath progresses, she slowly falls asleep.
As I watched the video a second (and … um, tenth time), it occurred to me the bath would be an excellent way for a non-bio parent to bond with their newborn.
I wanted to know more so I did a little digging. None of the typical baby sites have any information on bathing infants purely for pleasure in this manner.
Turns out the technique was developed by the woman in the video, a French nurse named Sonia Rochel who’s been working with newborns for 35 years. Sonia points out:
As far as I remember, baby care has not evolved, especially the baby bath. Do we wonder why new borns cry while they are in their bath whereas it’s the environment they know the most?
The bath Sonia developed, which she calls the Thalasso baby bath or baby spa, mimics the warmth and security of the womb, making baby feel relaxed and at home.
One of the French blogs I read said you should never try this bath at home. Why on Earth not?
What a marvelous experience to share with your little one. On her blog, Sonia shares tips (in English) on how best to do it. Here they are, paraphrased.
- Don’t bathe a hungry baby. They can’t relax if they’re hungry.
- Let your hands and heart express themselves.
- Take your time. Ten to 15 minutes is good.
- Water getting in your baby’s ears and eyes? It’s OK!
- Enjoy the experience as much as your baby does.
For more details on things like the proper water temperature, visit Sonia’s blog.