Can You Bathe a Baby After Eating?

Is it really necessary to wait 2 hours to bathe a baby after eating to prevent them from suffering digestive issues? Find out what the experts think!
Can You Bathe a Baby After Eating?

Last update: 05 November, 2021

Do you remember those afternoons while you waited after a meal to be swim in the sea or in the pool? In the same way, it’s always been said that if you don’t wait at least 2 hours to bathe a baby after eating, they’ll get cramps. But how true is all this?

Recently, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics in Primary Care has written a press release stating that this is a myth and that the reasons for this phenomenon have nothing to do with submerging one’s self in water.

Why does cramping occur?

A thermometer on a hot summer day.

First of all, we must clarify what we mean when we talk about cramping or indigestion. We’re referring to a complex and potentially serious phenomenon that’s produced by a sudden change in body temperature, while the digestive tract is in full swing.

The process of digestion involves increased blood flow to the abdomen, which increases the temperature of that part of the body. When bath water is very cold, that heat is quickly lost through the skin and hydrocution shock can occur. This causes a redirection of the blood towards the vital organs and the intestine stops working momentarily.

This is a critical situation, which is accompanied by symptoms such as severe belly pain, vomiting, altered consciousness, blurred vision, chills, sweating, and dizziness. And in this context, urgent action is needed to prevent death.

What steps to take to help your baby

In addition to avoiding sudden changes in body temperature after eating, it’s best not to offer large and copious meals on hot days.

Likewise, try not to stay under the sun’s rays after eating or practice intense physical activity for a while. When in motion, the blood is directed to the muscles and this also limits the digestive supply.

Therefore, on summer days, it’s better for children to eat something light and rest in the shade before returning to their energetic play.

When’s the best time to bathe a baby?

Bathing your baby is a daily activity that helps them relax and have fun while splashing in the water.

Although it doesn’t matter what time you do it, it’s important to create a habit and maintain a fixed routine with more or less stable schedules. For example, before going to sleep, to facilitate rest, or in the morning, if you’re baby tends to get excited with activity.

In either case, make sure that the water temperature doesn’t cool the child’s body too much, especially when you opt to bathe a baby after eating.

Tips for when you bathe a baby after eating

A baby wrapped in a towel the shape of a duck.

As we’ve mentioned, in principle, there’s no problem if you want to bathe a baby after eating, as long as the water’s at a warm temperature. That is, similar to that of your body, which is between 95 and 98.6 ° F.

For this reason, it’s essential that you use a water thermometer to check this parameter and avoid both cooling and accidental burns.

Finally, we recommend that the baby’s contact with water be progressive: First the feet, then the hands, and lastly, the rest of the body. This way, you’re little one will gain confidence and lose their fear of water. Also, it will help you to see their reaction and ask for help if you need it.

With all these tips, you can now enjoy the bath in peace. 

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.