Having your first baby is filled with a lot of emotions: Exhaustion, anxiety—wait, I’m responsible for this tiny adorable human?—and crazy love sparked by the tiniest things, like that intoxicating new baby smell.
One way to make the rollercoaster ride smoother for both of you? Bonding over bath time.
“Bath time is, in a way, quiet time, a time free from distractions where moms and babies can bond,” says Robin Berzin, MD, a functional medicine doctor, founder of Parsley Health, and Well+Good Council member. “Babies are immersed in a nurturing environment centered around touch, language, and play, which helps strengthen their cognitive and emotional development.”
“Babies are immersed in a nurturing environment centered around touch, language, and play.”
To make the ritual more soothing (for your skin and your sanity), choose your products wisely. “Both the mom and newborn are susceptible to absorbing environmental toxins through the skin, which is a porous membrane so it’s critical to upgrade the products you use most frequently,” Dr. Berzin says.
Dr. Berzin’s top recommendation for new moms is to skip soaps and creams that have potentially toxic ingredients in them. To simplify that equation, Weleda’s Gentle Baby Care line stocks everything you need (from two-in-one shampoo and body wash to sensitive care lotion) without parabens, added fragrances, or polyethylene glycols, which are petroleum-based compounds.
Instead of toxins or synthetic add-ins, you’ll find plant-rich ingredients (hand-selected for sensitive baby skin) like calendula flower extract and sweet almond oil, both known for their soothing and moisturizing properties—so all you need to worry about is your babe’s toes getting prune-y in the tub.
Scroll down for 3 key benefits from bath time which make a *huge* difference.
1. Stimulating oxytocin, AKA the “love hormone”
Experiencing bath time together can be a mood-boosting experience for both of you. “Skin-to-skin contact during bath time stimulates the vagus nerve, which is the nerve that controls the parasympathetic response. This, in turn, allows the body to rest, digest, relax, and heal,” says Dr. Berzin.
“[Skin-to-skin contact] allows the body to rest, digest, relax, and heal.”
According to Dr. Berzin, a mother’s touch has a laundry list of bonuses including helping to boost your milk supply. “It helps both the baby and new mom get to know one another’s voice, smell, and energy, and stimulates the release of oxytocin,” says Dr. Berzin. “This, in turn, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering cortisol, improving sleep, and improving immune function.”
And to drive the mood-boosting vibes home, just consider slathering on Weleda’s Comforting Baby Oil—a blend of sweet almond and sesame oil and calendula essential oil—as the relaxing end to the ritual.
2. Acting as a mini digital detox
Ever leave the office for a walk around the block when you’re frazzled—and come back totally refreshed? Same idea applies when you’re an on-the-go mom with a baby on your hip.
“Digital detox for busy moms is one of the not-so-talked-about perks of bath time, which also happens to be a multi-sensory experience with touch, smell, and sound,” Dr. Berzin says. “Stepping away from emails, messages, and social media allows the new mom to be grounded and focused on what is most important.”
“Digital detox for busy moms is one of the not-so-talked-about perks of bath time.”
So leave your phone and stress at the bathroom door— it’s doctor’s orders. If you or your baby have sensitive skin, add Weleda’s Sensitive Care Body Lotion (which skips essential oils in favor of soothing white mallow extract) as another bonus of your tech-free timeout.
3. Creating healthy habits for life
Bath time isn’t just about cleaning mashed-carrot from your baby’s face—it’s also about ensuring you’re using products specifically designed to nurture your baby’s delicate system. To that end, Dr. Berzin recommends avoiding emulsifiers and antibacterial chemicals in the soaps you use on newborns.
The reason this is key? Because antibacterial formulas can actually hurt the good bacteria that live in all of us. “The microbiome, the trillions of bacteria that live in and on us, which is critical to immune function, digestion, and brain health, is formed in children in the first few years of life,” explains Dr. Berzin. “Bath time, both through careful choice of the products you use and the opportunity for skin-to-skin contact is a way to support a healthy microbiome.”
With Weleda’s plant-rich baby line, you can avoid those harsh ingredients. “Anything we can do to support the development of a healthy microbiome is meaningful,” she says. It’s all about baby steps.
Top photo: Weleda
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