As a new mom, I feel like I’m learning something brand new about the development of my baby, Ansel, every single day. Whether it’s an article sent my way from a fellow new mom or something Ansel himself does for the very first time, it’s a pretty wild and awesome ride. That’s why I was pumped to jet off to New York to spend the day with tons of celebs, bloggers and press (who all also happen to be moms!) as part of JOHNSON’S® latest campaign.

The JOHNSON’S® SO MUCH MORE™ campaign is all about celebrating the ritual of bath time, and the fact that it provides parents a valuable opportunity to nurture baby’s ability to learn, think, love and grow. I can certainly get down with that! :)

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I have to say, baths have not come naturally for me and Ansel. Here’s a quick pic of him during one of his first sponge baths:

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Clearly not a fan.

Over time, though, he’s come to enjoy them more and more. While I still have to hold his head up (I can’t wait for him to get strong enough to sit by himself!), bath time has extended from a couple minute “quick wash” to a good 10-15 minute play session. He loves to kick and babble with me while I wash him off. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

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As the #1 baby skin care brand, JOHNSON’S® has been at the forefront of baby’s bath time for over 100 years. (Note: Ansel is a huge fan of their baby shampoo!)

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As I’ve been digging deeper into this topic with JOHNSON’S®, I’ve had the chance to learn some facts and figures surrounding the importance of bath time. One of the most impressive things I learned is the fact that by age three, 85% of a baby’s brain is developed; every experience leading up to this time helps to shape baby’s brain. Research shows that the everyday rituals parents create become more powerful when multiple senses, like smell and touch, are stimulated. Here are 10 examples of how and why bath time is so important for your baby.

1. The Average Baby Bath Time Around the World is 23 Minutes: According to JOHNSON’S® Global Baby Bath Report, the average bath time for a baby between 0 and 3 years old is 23 minutes. (I’m only slightly behind the curve!) Compared to grown-ups, that’s actually a pretty long time. In addition to washing your little one, this time is great for bonding and learning. Using bath toys that feature numbers, letters and colors is a great way to help with their development.

2. Familiar and Enjoyable Scents Can Improve Mood, Calmness and Alertness: When a baby heads to bath time, it’s part of their routine. They enjoy familiar scents, and their mood can improve to be more calm and alert. In fact, studies have shown that babies bathed with a fragranced bath product (compared to those who were not) displayed 30% more engagement cues with their parent after bath time and spent nearly 25% less time crying before sleep.

3. Memories Evoked by Smell Are More Emotional Than Those Evoked by Other Senses: You know that feeling that comes over you when you smell freshly cut grass, the first snow or an old book? Nostalgia. Just like that, you’re transported back in time. Well, smell has the same effect on your baby, especially in the bath time ritual before bed.

4. Routine Massage Leads to Increased Cognitive Awareness: Not only does routine massage improve overall mobility and physical awareness, but it also helps increase cognitive development. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, babies who experienced routine touch and massage (compared to those who did not) were 50% more likely to make eye contact and three times more likely to have an overall positive expression.

5. Bath Talk Can Help Your Baby Learn: Because your baby is focused on bath time, it’s easy to start having “real” conversations as part of this special time. Routinely speak to them as you would any adult — but asking about colors, numbers, letters, whether it’s time to brush their teeth, wash their hair, etc. It can help hugely with language development.

6. Playing With Bubbles Helps Babies Develop Hand-Eye Coordination: One of the most interesting things I learned at this event had to do with playing with bubbles. As researched in JOHNSON’S® Global Baby Bath Report, playing with bubbles can help your baby develop hand-eye coordination and discover that objects exist even when they can’t be seen. That’s right. Bubbles = invisible objects that make your baby smarter. So cool.

7. Listening to Bath Time Music Stimulates Memory: I’ve read a lot of different things about how playing music for your baby helps stimulate the brain, but never thought about bringing that into bath time. In another part of JOHNSON’S® study, they found that playing music and singing songs during bath time can stimulate parts of the brain responsible for memory. To go even further, they found that certain types of music actually stimulate the parts of the brain responsible for visual imagery!

8. 64% of Parents Never Use Their Mobile Devices During Bath Time: Bath time is still sacred. Though we are all completely attached to our phones, it seems that bath time is still a ritual that is all about togetherness. The logistics of not wanting to drop the phone in the tub help — but we have to think this still has to do with straight up parent-child bonding. 48% of parents say they feel even closer to their child after bath time.

9. 8 Billion Baths Worldwide are Given Using JOHNSON’S® Products: How’s that for a statistic? I know I grew up with JOHNSON’S® products as a staple — the fragrance still brings back childhood memories. I love the fact that Ansel will have the same scent associations as I do.

10. Post-Bath Cuddles Calm Your Baby: Don’t forget what happens after the bath! Close skin-to-skin contact, cuddling and massage after bath time will help calm your baby before bedtime. I can state for a fact that Ansel always sleeps better on nights when he has a bath before bed.

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All in all, I learned a whole heck of a lot at this event and can’t wait to keep learning new things each day with my little one ;)

P.S. If you want to see more behind-the-scenes pics of my DIY nursery, head here!

This post is a collaboration with JOHNSON’S®.