Newborns, baths and relaxation

I shared on my Facebook page a beautiful video by Sonia Rochel a newborn nurse from Paris that shares what she calls her “Thallasso Bain Bébé” or “Baby Spa”.

I thought it was worth mentioning on the blog since it brings up so many emotions while watching.
One of my friends and I commented on how at the beginning you have this small uncomfortable feeling, that you can’t quite pinpoint why. After talking, we agreed on how it might be the fact that the baby’s head is almost totally submerged under water. However, all the rest of the video gives you a sense of relaxation, purity and innocence.

Here is the link, so you can take a look, before I continue my thoughts on it:

After watching it several times, it becomes even more beautiful and magical.
If you have ever tried bathing a newborn, there might have been times where you have experienced quite the opposite of what is seen in this video. You might have had a screeching baby, that is throwing its’ little arms and legs all over the place, almost like a scared little kitten. Then whomever is trying to bathe them becomes agitated and nervous, the baby cries even louder and their beautiful skin even starts to change color.

What this video shows is a very experienced newborn nurse, mother, and grandmother that has so much experience being around these tiny people, that she has been able to find out what makes babies comfortable and relaxed. You can see how she is so calm and can transmit that to the baby. You can even almost see an aura of relaxation shining around her and helping the baby “trust” her and feel safe and secure.

Let’s look at the beginning of the video. She seems to start this routine while the baby is still drowsy, but just waking up. In Infant Massage (wait for a future post on this subject) this is the best time to start a massage and when the baby is the most receptive. Then, she holds the baby in a way where they have optimal eye contact and talks to the baby the whole time. You can see the newborn looking at her attentively. My favorite scene comes right after this, when she puts the baby in the water, and you can see he/she is not loving it yet and opens his mouth and moves its little head and hand around. But, you see Sonia calming the baby down with a slow and calm “shhhhhhhh“. The baby look at her with eyes wide open, holds her finger and relaxes. You can almost see the baby feeling the sense of security and knowing that everything is going to be ok. The rest of the video you can see the baby progressively relaxing, opening its mouth and yawning, closing its eyes, and moving into fetal position. It’s simply beautiful!

Like you hear on TV, “please do not try this at home”. Remember that this video has a very experienced nurse performing this and that this baby is a newborn that is still very comfortable with the aquatic environment. Older babies lose the ability of being able to hold their breath under water naturally.

The goal of sharing this video was not that people would try bathing their children in this way in their homes, but more to share the amazing ability of babies to read signs from their caregivers. Babies need to feel safe and secure in order to relax and learn/enjoy their environment. Because babies are just learning everything, the best way to help them calm down, since they do not know how to do it by themselves, is to be calm around them. That does not mean you will have a non-crying baby or that you will always know what to do, but it helps the baby feel more regulated and the problem-solving might become easier.

So enjoy your baby and show them they can feel safe because you are there to protect them. These are the stepping-stones for a successful cognitive, social-emotional and healthy development.

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2 thoughts on “Newborns, baths and relaxation

  1. I just love this post. Watching the babies relax while being cared for, held securely, bathed and massaged was relaxing and beautiful. I noticed the second little one was able to self-soothe by getting thumb in mouth while being massaged; such an early sign of capacity for self-regulation. Beautiful!

    • Thank you so much for commenting! It is in fact so beautiful and seeing babies being able to “trust”, relax and self-soothe at such a young age, is absolutely amazing!

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