Why do babies kids and adults have hydrophobia & why is the first bath so important

Many children experience birth as a traumatic event. 9 months of complete and utter happiness in their mother’s belly end when they’re taken from this serene and peaceful place, not always in the most natural and comfortable way into the air of the world followed by an unpleasant shower at the hospital.

The aggressive birth, followed by the unpleasant shower results in the fact that more than 70% of new born babies born in a C-section operation suffer from a “water trauma” from the age of 3 months and it can go on till they’re 4 years old or even later if not treated. If the new born would have been delivered normally then this trauma could have been avoided, but it’s not always in our control and is not necessarily the cause for this type of trauma. The hardest part of this being, that there are parents that until their child was 4 years old never had one fun and easy shower with him/her. Every shower time is a continuous nightmare for both the parent and the child.

The frustration as a parent is the fact that a shower is not a luxury and every child has to shower daily so these parents try to make up excuses for their child’s behavior. They think it’s probably like this for all children and that it will take time and it will pass. Some parents who want to get this “shower time” over with as quickly as possible create even more damage to the child because they try to wash him/her quickly and sometimes soap will get in the eyes, the water pressure is too strong, or anything else that can make the shower experience complete catastrophe.

Ori Sela, the professional manager of Water World and WEST swimming technique, and a veteran coach in the unique field of teaching babies and children with unique disabilities to swim who also specialized in treating these kind of water traumas in young kids says that many times friends have called him over and asked him about the correct way to hold a new born baby in the tub. The most frequent questions being: What should I do? Why is he crying? How do you make him stop? “It’s unbelievable how sometimes just one good shower makes a world of a difference for the parents and turns the shower time into a fun happy time for the whole family” Ori says.

Ori tells us about his experience as a first time father to his eldest son:

“When my first son, Tom, was delivered, the nurse held him on her forearm and gave him a quick 30 second shower. He was crying the whole time and didn’t stop for 5 minutes after it was finished. From that moment, every time someone would turn on the water, Tom would cry. When we were released from the hospital a few days later, since I noticed right away that he has some sort of trauma from his first experience with water, I decided to do something to change this trauma right away. I drew a warm bath for him and after removing his clothes gently, I put him in the water while making sure to hold him close to my body, while caressing him with my wet hands in a soothing and relaxing way. Since this experience, this new water experience I gave him, every time he sees water he smiles. Heck, the only trouble we have with him now is getting him out of the water which is an impossible mission.

In the picture:

Ori’s baby, 4 days after he’s been born, have a warm bath with light massage for the feet and the body.


A few “swimming tips” for your child’s first bath:

  1. Warm up the bathroom so it’ll be approx. 35-37 degrees Celsius. You can even heat up the room by turning on the hot water stream in the shower for two minutes and letting the steam warm it up.
  2. Remove your child’s clothes slowly and gently, preferably while singing a calming song or hymn.
  3. Check the water temperature in the bath with a thermometer or with the palm of your hand.
  4. Hold the baby as tight against your body as possible and gently take water from the tub with your hand and smooth the water all over his body. Massage the baby with the water before putting his whole body inside the tub.
  5. First put his feet in and keep on rubbing water from the tub on the rest of his body
  6. Smile and smile some more and he will love the water even if it takes time

**We believe it’s important to love the water and play with them from day one, kids that swim from 3 months are better swimmers, their muscles are longer and their swimming techniques are much better when they grow up.(In the picture Tom, Ori’s kid and Tami his wife)


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