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Bathe Babies in Cold Water Maya Child Care

FINCA TATIN, Izabel, Guatemala- Petra screamed. “It’s alright, babies are suppose to scream in the bath,” the Maya woman who was bathing Petra reassured Chaya. Petra continued screaming. The Maya woman continued bathing. “I usually mix together hot and cold water together when I bathe her,” Chaya passively suggested to the woman who was making [...]

FINCA TATIN, Izabel, Guatemala- Petra screamed.

“It’s alright, babies are suppose to scream in the bath,” the Maya woman who was bathing Petra reassured Chaya.

Petra continued screaming. The Maya woman continued bathing.

“I usually mix together hot and cold water together when I bathe her,” Chaya passively suggested to the woman who was making quick work scrubbing down our screaming baby in the local fashion.

“Babies are suppose to be bathed in cold water, it will get rid of the heat rash,” the Maya woman spoke as she scrubbed. “I have five daughters and they always go right to sleep after they are bathed.”

Apparently, the Maya in this region of Guatemala bath their babies in cold water, in deaf opposition to their protests. Apparently, Maya babies scream just like Petra was doing as the busty woman in a hand woven blouse and skirt poured another bowel of un-heated water over her head.

Babies always scream in the bath.

Chaya stood back and held he motherly instincts to coddle her screaming child at bay — the Maya woman has five daughters, she must know what she is doing.

The bath was soon over, and Petra was placed into a clean towel and returned to her mother. She did not go right to sleep — she looked traumatized as she dug for Chaya’s breast — and we chuckled about the ordeal and determined that the ways of Maya bathing were probably not for our baby, who has already become pampered with warm baths.

Though a few hours later her heat rash did seemed to look better, Petra’s skin also felt a little more taunt and dry rather than soft and soggy.

The next day the bath was repeated. Petra screamed all over again.

But afterwards she went right to sleep. Later in the day the heat rash dissipated from her skin — Petra look alert, her skin was smooth and white again, the cold bath proved effective.

Maya Child Care – Bath Babies in Cold Water

Filed under: Central America, Guatemala, Health, Travel With Family

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3426 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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  • craig | travelvice.com June 13, 2010, 4:51 pm

    Why was she bathing your daughter in the first place?

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com June 13, 2010, 6:32 pm

      They like to care for Petra, we appreciate the help. We all work together all day, so the baby gets passed around.

      Petra seems to be getting use to her daily cold bath, which is not really that cold. It really cleared up the heat rash.

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      • Krista June 14, 2010, 5:33 pm

        In Morocco, traditional mothers will bathe their child’s feet in cold water, in order to get them to sleep more quickly. I am not sure of the science behind it, but it seems to be a solution for kids in hot countries. Hope it keeps helping Petra’s skin.

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        • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com June 15, 2010, 12:56 pm

          Interesting to know. Baby skin is real sensitive, especially in hot climates. It probably cools their bodies quite a bit to dip their feet in water. Good idea.

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