Well, winter is upon us and the rain is finally dampening the earth but that does not mean that we should forget about our water conservation efforts.
One way of saving water and keeping our little ones a little more dry-eyed is by cutting back on bath-time. Coming from England where water conservation was never at the top of the list I was surprised to know that we have a much more eco-friendly (and baby friendly) method for keeping baby nice and clean.
Here in Israel (and the Middle East), talking to friends and fellow mums, it seems most people are convinced that baby needs bathing every day. This is not really neccessary from a water saving point of view, nor for your stress levels, as not every baby is fond of bath-time and most importantly it is not really beneficial for your baby.
Bathing your baby every day strips their delicate skin of their natural oils and can leave their skin dry and vulnerable. It simply is not a must.
So what are the Brits doing (and probably most of the world) that we don’t seem to know about here in Israel? Well it’s called “Tops & Tails” and there are even specially designed bowls for this, but being an ecomum I view this as an unnecccessary purchase –– any bowl will do the job nicely, thank you very much!
The Theory: Very simple, all you need is a bowl of warm water, a flat surface in a warm place, a soft cotton cloth, a towel and your fresh nappy and clothes and you are set.
Really? All you are doing is giving your baby a sponge bath, the top and tails idea is more for when it’s cold (something it seems to be in England) and then you just undress the top half of your baby first, wiping them down gently, be sure to wipe between all the delicate folds of skin, under the chin and around the neck, under the arms and behind the ears and dry down well because trapped moisture in these areas can lead to redness.
After finishing the top half you are down to the tails, of course living in Israel we can usually fully undress our little ones for their sponge baths, making life even easier.
Baby soaps, creams and lotions are not needed either, again as they can dry the skin, stripping the skins natural oils, for more read Chemicals & Your Baby’s Skin. If you feel that is an absolute look for unscented soaps, Weleda and Dr.Bronner soaps offer gentle options.
Again, you do not need to do this every day, every 2-3 days is enough, especially if you wipe your baby’s bottom clean with water at every change. Steer clear of baby wipes as they are just full of nasty chemicals and leave more on the skin than they clean away!
Follow your sponge bath with massage and you will make the whole experience one of joy and smiles.
Top Tip: When your baby is born, give them a gentler start to life and ask the nurses not to bathe your little one, just to wipe them down!