I came across some videos on youtube where women bathe a new born by laying it face down between their legs. Like this and this. In case the video is unavailable, these are my main concerns: There isn't any interaction between the adult and the baby, no attempt is made to comfort the crying baby, the baby is exposed to the water pretty abruptly (even if it's at a comfortable temperature), there's too much rubbing going on - especially the face and head, they flip the baby over by one arm.

One argument I've heard used repeatedly is that people have been doing this for 1000s of years, and they've survived. But I found no literature or scientific evidence for or against this method. This is what I'm looking for.

My question is: is there any evidence or statistics about this method of bathing newborns being safe, or unsafe. Or being a cause for the baby to associate bath time with discomfort. (If there's any discomfort at all)

  • 1
    This comes across as a rant about the methods other cultures use to bathe babies.Although there is a good answer already, these kinds of questions aren't on topic here. Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 16:04
  • @anongoodnurse I edited the question, as much as possible without taking away the essence of what I truly want to know. But if it's still not suitable for the site, I will delete it.
    – learner101
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 18:13
  • I agree with @anongoodnurse this seems more like you have a problem with other cultures. At no time was anything rough happening, or anything out of the normal. In fact this method is probably far more safe then the "normal" in the US. Just because it's different dose't mean it's safe. I will attempt to edit the question and pair it down to something less "my way is the only right way", but you will have to make sure I don't loose the essence of the question.
    – coteyr
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 18:21
  • @coteyr I'm sorry it came across that way, but it really wasn't my intention. If it was, I'd have judged them and moved on. But I want to learn, instead. I think the "they've been doing it for thousands of years" part is important to why I wanted to ask this question in the 1st place, so I'll add that back.
    – learner101
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 3:25
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    learner101 - do you have literature or scientific evidence for or against other methods, such as the one you are familiar with? Why do you believe the method you know is safer? 1000s of years of babies surviving is a pretty good argument, no?
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


I only watched the first video, but it reminded me quite a bit of the way the veteran parents I know here in the USA handle their kids. (In this case, I am defining "veteran parents" to mean "have six or more children", and some of the communities I interact with have a lot of these sorts of families.)

In such families, the parents simply can't waste a ton of time. Operations that can cause meltdowns must be dealt with extremely efficiently, which honestly seems to genuinely make things better for everyone involved. If you have to spend twenty five minutes soothing one crying kid, it becomes far harder to deal with the other seven. Babies may not be as delicate as you think, and fast does not equal distressing.

The baby girl in that video was safe and able to breathe the entire time. She briefly fussed four times, but never cried. She also received an extremely thorough bath in under six minutes. If she were actually distressed, she would have made it known. (Babies are famously not shy about doing that.)

Thus, as for "literature or scientific evidence", I'm not sure what you would even look for. The baby remained safe, almost entirely calm, and with her mother the entire time.

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