One of the most emotive and beautiful videos you are ever likely to see in your entire life is ‘Sonia Rochel’s Thalasso Baby Bath and which will make even the most hard-hearted person stop and marvel at what they have just witnessed. Thalasso is Greek for ‘the sea’ and though this does not actually use seawater, it still is a remarkably gentle bathing technique developed by Sonia Rochel, a specialist baby nurse with over thirty years’ experience working with new-born babies, predominantly at the Clinique de la Muette in Paris, France. In a recent interview Sonia revealed that this isn’t a technique to be used long-term on babies, but more her way of simply welcoming them into the world. Sonia is acutely aware that a new-born baby will be missing the warmth and security of the mother’s womb, so the gentle caressing of the baby’s skin with warm water is not an unnatural sensation.
What is surprising to learn is that it is actually the baby who directs proceedings, not Sonia. As she explains, very few people realize that from the very beginning, a baby tries to communicate with us, but we don’t listen to what it is saying; we just hear the noise it makes. In addition, when bathing the new born child, she allows it to move freely and adjusts her hands accordingly. As she explains further, when in the water the baby tends to move as it did in the womb, so any intervention from her would be against the baby’s natural tendencies.
Sonia had some important words of advice to give, aside from advising parents not to try this unsupervised. When helping parents bathe their child using the Thalasso baby bath technique, she checks to see that the parents are not nervous, as this can easily be transmitted to the baby and make it feel uncomfortable. She also advised not to bathe the baby when it was hungry as that in itself is a distraction from allowing the baby to relax. Sonia also tells parents not to be afraid to gently immerse the baby, allowing water to enter its ears or cover its eyes. If done gently this is not an unpleasant experience and will actively lead to the baby enjoying bath time much more as it grows older as any sense of fear will have been removed.
At the end of the interview it was Sonia’s hope that people would alter their perception of what bathing their baby was for. Too many people she felt were hung up on the desire to ensure their baby was clean from head to foot and that they were missing something so much more important, and that was their baby’s emotional well-being and allowing their baby to relax completely in a naturally enveloping environment.