Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Johnson's Baby Giving Bath Time at Virlanie

Did you know that more than just starting the day fresh, and then washing off the day's dirt and grime,  your kids' bath time can be so much more? 

Studies have shown that sensorial stimulation is critical to a child's happy, healthy development. Of course, bath time is one ritual where all sensory activities come into play. 

They hear us as we talk and sing to them, and as gushing water from the tap collects around them.

They take in the scent of their shampoo and body wash, as they gleefully splash around in the tub.

They try to catch and pop bubbles as you shampoo their hair to a lather. Getting moisturized after, and being buffed and puffed with powder before getting dressed, it's the stuff childhood memories are made of. 

But more than fun stuff, what we do during bath time also happen to impact many aspects of our children's lives - from their mood and alertness to body weight and bone mass, and even how they will learn and fare in school as well as socialize with others.

Given this, imagine how much more kids who grow up in orphanages need all the hugs, massages, and multi-sensorial bathing experiences they can get.

So when Johnson's Baby invited my mommy friends and I to join them in a Virlanie home in Makati, for a bath time tutorial with the caregivers, of course I said yes!

Virlanie Foundation which runs the home we went to, was established in 1992 by Dominique Lemay, a French social worker, with the help of his Filipino friends.  

Virlanie cares for children in need of special protection - those who are among the poorest of the poor, the abandoned, abused, exploited, neglected, and orphaned.  

Through its various programs and services such as housing, education, health and family reunification/adoption/independent living among many, the children are given a chance for a better future, by "giving back their smiles". 

I would like to think that in our own little ways, the moms and the good folks from Johnson's Baby brought smiles to the kids, and their caregivers that day.

Ate Myrna and company taught the caregivers of Virlanie how to bathe their alagas

We were joined by three midwives from the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), headed by Ate Myrna, to teach the caregivers how to bathe their newborn, baby and a toddler wards. Watch these newborn, infant and toddler bathing videos, so you can learn too!

To recap, here are some highlights I've learned from watching the midwives demonstrate how to bathe a newborn, infant and toddler:


- Bath time helps calm baby and give him a sense of security, thanks to swaddle bathing! I didn't know that newborns can be swaddled while bathing too.  Apparently, swaddle bathing helps the baby feel more secure in the water. They stay warmer, with less risk of sudden drops in temperature, and promotes a calm and stress-free experience for them. Kind of like still being in a uterine environment.
- Before immersing baby, make sure to swirl the water so there are no hotspots.
- Gently cleanse around your baby's eyes with a cotton pad dampened with clean, warm water. Use a new cotton pad for each eye and always wipe from the inside corner of the eye outward. Then, using a soft washcloth, wipe around your baby's mouth, nose and whole face, working from the middle outward. Wipe the creases in her neck and don't forget behind her ears! 
- For younger babies, wet a baby washcloth with warm water and use a gentle cleanser formulated for babies, like JOHNSON'S® baby HEAD-TO-TOE® wash. If your baby has more hair, you might try a gentle shampoo, like JOHNSON'S® baby shampoo. 
- Wash the diaper area last and always wash from front to back. 
- Let your baby take a few moments in the bath to enjoy the warm water. Pour cupfuls of water over her body to keep her warm.
- After drying baby, seal moisture with lotion and then pat with powder.


- Bath time is more than just cleaning, it's also a way to excite his senses. 
- Baby graduates from using cotton pads on the face, to washing face using cloth. 


- They can finally use Johnson's Baby Cologne after patting on powder!

Meanwhile, us moms did our bit, by sharing our ideas on how the caregivers can connect with kids. Conci Navarro demonstrated a Hi-5 dance, Michelle Aventajado taught them some yoga moves that they can do with the bigger kids, Jen Chua Caedo Tan taught them how to use a baby sling and highlighted how it can help them care for multiple kids at once, while I shared with them the benefits of reading to children, and finished off by reading an excerpt from one of my all time favorite books, Aesop's Fables.

We spent our entire morning and lunch time at Virlanie, talking to the caregivers, listening to their stories, playing with the kids, and just giving them little ones as many hugs and attention as they wanted. 

While our hearts were bleeding for these tiny beings who have already gone through difficulties early in life, and deserve so much more, we left their home secure in the knowledge that they are cared for and loved by their caregivers as if they were their own. They have found a safe place in Virlanie, and that in itself is something to celebrate and not be sad about.

I would say, we went to Virlanie thinking we were going to teach and share something of ourselves, but instead, we left learning so much from them. Two lessons stood out for me:

1)  Happiness in simple things. Their home was devoid of the comforts we are all accustomed to, their meals and snacks are basic at best, we did not come bearing lavish gifts, but the children and their caregivers were happy to see us, greeted us with curiosity, if not shy smiles, or beaming faces. One does not need a lot to be happy. To live in a home where one is cared for and treated with kindness is in itself a blessing.

2) The power of touch. The children of Virlanie are lucky to be raised in an environment where they are looked after by women who are caring and good natured. It was obvious to us that they were truly concerned about the children and did not hold back in showering them with hugs and affection. They didn't mind having the kids climbing all over them, two or three at a time.

And maybe this is why most of the children at Virlanie are outgoing, sociable and yes, happy and healthy. 

Touch is #SoMuchMore
For the most touch-deprived Filipino babies, every touch means #SoMuchMore. Watch the story of how the caregivers in Virlanie Foundation become mothers with every touch.

For more about Virlanie Foundation, visit www.virlanie.org and Like the Virlanie Facebook page.

For more on Johnson's Baby visit www.johnsonsbaby.com.ph and Like the Johnson's Baby Philippines Facebook page.

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