By Kathy Walsh

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– A hospital in Fort Collins is offering a new option for baby’s first bath called a “swaddle immersion bath.” The bath can keep the newborn calm and anxious parents happy. The experience is a far cry from the traditional sponge bath.

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If you’ve ever seen a baby get a sponge bath, you know it looks stressful. The baby is naked and cleaned with a wet cloth or sponge. A newborn often cries uncontrollably.

When two-day-old Blakely Smith had a swaddle immersion bath, she barely made a sound. It’s a new option at UCHhealth Poudre Valley Hospital.

Parents Alyssa and Kevin with daughter Blakely (credit: CBS)

“I’m just going to pour this water over her,” explained Registered Nurse of 38 years, Edna Sailer.

Wrapped loosely in a warm blanket, Blakely was placed in water, about 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

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“I’m going to be right here by you,” said Sailer to Kevin Smith, Blakely’s father.

A first time dad, Smith, happily followed instructions.

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“Keep everything covered. Perfect!” Sailer said.

Under the watchful eye of his wife, Alyssa, Smith unswaddled Blakely’s tiny limbs, one at a time, then washed it, rinsed it, and reswaddled. The baby slept through it all.

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New dad Kevin Smith with his newborn daughter Blakely (credit: CBS)

“They’re (newborns) in a very calm state,” said Sailer touting the benefits of a swaddle bath.

She encouraged Smith to gently massage his baby girl’s back, bonding with her.

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“It’s very soothing to them,” the RN said.

Blakely even dozed while her dad scrubbed her head. It was all over in under 10 minutes.

Newborn Blakely gets a swaddle immersion bath (credit: CBS)

“It’s not stressful at all,” said a relaxed Smith. “The whole process is soothing for her, for me as a parent.”

“This is our standard practice now,” said Sailer.

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At Poudre Valley Hospital, after a child is 24 hours old, parents are offered the option of a swaddle immersion bath for their newborn, instructions on how to do it at home or a head wash for the baby.

Sailer spearheaded the change. She did a study at the hospital that showed 93 percent of babies cried when they had a sponge bath compared to 38 percent of babies who cried during a swaddle immersion bath.

Newborn Blakely (credit: CBS)

Now, UCHealth plans to implement swaddle immersion bath protocol at the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies.

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Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.