When you can, consider stripping your baby down to their nappy - or better yet, let them be fully naked altogether! Being naked is an important way for your baby to engage & interact with their environment. This is a great activity that can start as soon as baby is born and continue all the way through childhood.
The benefits of letting your baby play naked:
When naked, your child is able to better experience the physicality of their body making contact with the world. These experiences help create feedback loops that allow your baby understand & establish what is called a ‘body map’, laying the foundation for the development of “proprioception” – awareness of the position & movement of our body and its relationship with the world. A well-developed sense of proprioception is essential for many joys in life: walking, dancing, running & prancing!
Skin-to-skin contact is important for newborns BUT it remains so throughout our lives. Skin-to-skin is known to enhance the production of oxytocin, a hormone important for creating loving and secure relationships.
When it comes to motor development, research shows that babies (whether new or experienced walkers) walk better when naked. This is because bulky nappies limit leg manoeuvrability and artificially lengthen & widen an infant’s stance, disrupting both movement and balance.
Naked time is also one of the best remedies for nappy rashes and an excellent aid in fighting yeast infections. Rashes and yeast infections are often due to excess moisture – the skin, our biggest organ, needs to breathe.
It can take some trial & error to effectively manage bodily fluids during naked time. A way to minimise accidents is to do it right after you’ve changed your baby’s nappy. You can lay down towels & blankets or use a water-proof mat. Make the most of naked time by creating fun sensory experiences – tickle their toes, gently blow over their skin, cuddle them, massage their arms and legs and let them feel and explore different textures.
References: Vittner et al (2018); Whitney, Lingman & Adolph (2013)