August 18, 2016

The Importance of Bath Time for Body and Brain

Written by JOHNSON's®

From a rubber ducky to splashing about, bath time is more than a chance to get baby clean—bath time is the chance to improve baby’s development in loving and still cleansing ways. By incorporating simple interactions like gentle touch, eye contact and singing 1, cognitive development of memory, language and even emotions are enhanced from the start.

Multisensorial stimulation, what baby feels, sees, hears and smells, has scientifically proven positive effects on baby brain development. And by making the most of interactions like bath time, caregivers make natural actions like singing and touch extraordinary ones for baby’s brain.

Within the first three years of life, a baby’s brain experiences exponential growth of their neural pathways. Within these pivotal years, the foundation for communication, understanding, social development and emotional wellbeing are formed.2 By engaging in multisensorial stimulation during bath time in the first pivotal years, babies receive development benefits while being well-cleaned and receiving a soothing massage.

For instance, engaging baby in eye contact during bath time can facilitate early nonverbal communication and direct eye contact can enhance neural processing.3 Integrating auditory elements into bath time like singing or speaking with baby can lower baby’s heart rate and reduce stress while improving baby’s memory for language development.4

Actions as simple as a song or loving gaze are natural moments for so many caregivers when having bath time with baby. Pediatricians sharing the benefits of multisensory stimulation are encouraging caregivers to make the most of these moments to help baby development during a formative time. By partnering together with parents, the science of simple moments like bath time unlocks lasting positive development for baby.

Learn more about how everyday moments like bath time can be extraordinary ones during the International Congress on Pediatrics by visiting JOHNSON’S at Booth 101. Watch more videos like this one by visiting the Crowd 360 Baby Science hub as well as the Baby Science Resources page featuring materials just for pediatricians!

1 Field T. Touch and Massage in Early Child Development. Touch Research Institutes. 2004;1-258.
2 Eliot L. What’s Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York, NY: Bantam Books; 1999.
3 Farroni T, Csibra G, Simion F, et al. Eye contact detection in humans from birth. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002;99(14):9602-9605.
4 Graven SN, Browne JV. Auditory development in the fetus and infant. Newborn Infant Nurs Rev. 2008; 8:187-193.