When our daughter was born in a local Shenzhen hospital, I didn’t give much thought to how the staff bathed her each morning before placing a flotation ring around her neck and carefully placing her in a deep bathtub so she could float in the water. She really didn’t appreciate how she was bathed as evidenced by her crying, but as soon as they placed her in the tub, she would calm down and happily float around with her arms and legs dangling in the tub.
Since then we have learned that this technique, although popular in China, is not particularly good for the baby’s spine and it is discouraged by western doctors and chiropractors. No doubt we have permanently damaged our daughter, though she still enjoys immersing herself in a pool.
At Beijing United Family Hospital, where our twin sons were born (six months and neither one has moved out yet, so we must be doing something right), the boys also got bathed regularly, but again their cries made it clear it was not the most relaxing experience for them.
Chinese hospitals, international hospitals, it doesn’t seem to make much difference when it comes to bathing newborns. They must always cry. That’s what I thought until I saw a video of nurse Sonia Rochel bathing a couple of babies at the Clinique de La Muette in Ramsay Santé. It is the most profound moment of a newborn in water I’ve ever witnessed and undoubtedly made the child feel like it was back in the mother’s womb the entire time. At one point the infant even falls asleep while being bathed. I’m not one to gush over babies, but this is one video any person with a child will enjoy watching a few times and make parents of newborns sigh with envy. You can find it on YouTube here or Facebook here. If you want to know more about Sonia herself and her techniques, she has a new website on bathing babies and newborn massage www.soniarochel.com.
photo by Flickr user: kevsunblush