Focus on Fathers
The Baby Wipe Bath
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 2, March-April 2002, p. 62.
One Saturday, a few weeks after my oldest child was born, I developed a fever. After Josef had his morning nursing, I started his daily bath routine. My husband, Franz, knowing I did not feel well, offered to take over and I went to bed. Lying there, I listened to him talking to the baby and Josef's gurgled responses. I decided to go into the room where they were to keep them company. What I found was Franz washing the baby with baby wipes! No fluffy towels. No carefully heated water. No lotions. Just one happy dad and one happy baby. I went back to bed. And Franz found the great satisfaction of caring for his baby. Like me, Franz deserved the privilege of growing into parenthood, to find a style that was comfortable for him and to develop confidence as a father.
Seventeen years later I can safely say Josef has suffered no adverse effects from his baby wipe bath. I am glad I did not interfere with Josef's bath that day. I learned an important lesson that has stayed with me all these years and through all four of our children: fathers are not mothers. They do things differently and children can thrive on that difference. When I think of all the things Franz has done with our children, I realize how limited their experience of the world would be if they only had me, or a father who was just like me. As our children grow, I see many of their father's qualities in them. I expect that as the years go by, I'll continue to see signs of Franz's influence. I know what a lasting and positive influence my loving father has had on my life. I know that one day my children will agree with me that a good father is a blessing, and the benefits of being well-fathered are long-lasting.