When my two children were babies, I struggled through many a bath with them in a shallow little white plastic baby tub. It was hard to keep the baby warm in the water and it was also hard on my back to lean over the big bathtub to bathe them. We actually preferred sink baths (which are quite messy). Bathing together in a big tub was not an option because we didn’t have one available.
So, I was delighted to recently discover a new type of tub for infants and to receive one for review purposes—The Tummy Tub has an appearance similar to large bucket with a flared out top. It can hold a nice level of water to keep the baby comfortable, but still safe. The idea is that it duplicates some of the elements of being in the womb for babies, thus making the bathing experience more pleasant for everyone. You can also purchase a separate little stool/stand for the Tummy Tub so that you can sit comfortably with it instead of leaning over and straining your back.
I’m pleased to have this new resource available to show to my clients. During our last week of classes when we cover postpartum, newborn care, and breastfeeding, I bring along a variety of products to demonstrate and let parents see and touch and experiment with hands-on. I bring a variety of baby carriers, plenty of cloth diapers, and now a Tummy Tub as well.
Another instance in which hospital policy may not match the evidence is with regard to suctioning the baby’s nose and mouth immediately after birth. Some doctors may suction all babies routinely. Others have a policy to only suction if meconium (baby’s first bowel movement) is present.
However, the newest protocols from the American Academy of Pediatrics say not to suction while the baby is on the perineum at all–whether or not meconium is present. A fellow independent childbirth educator, Jeanne Anderson, was certified in neonatal resuscitation by the American Academy of Pediatrics this year and shared the following information about the AAP’s 2007 guidelines:
“Their latest research indicates that the baby will spit up the meconium on its own, and if it is one that will develop respiratory problems, they will happen regardless of perineal suctioning. The newest protocols are to birth the baby and only wipe any visible mucous from the mouth/nose with a towel as you are handing the baby to the mom and
visually evaluating him/her. If the baby needs more resuscitation it will show up as poor respiratory effort, lowered heart rate or poor color, which can then be addressed. Normal infants will only need help less than 10% of the time.”