I know several people who bath their children every single night. Every. Single. Night. These people obviously have more time and energy then I do since I feel accomplished when I get the little rug rats in the water every other day. Baring super dirty incidences, three times a week is more our style. Of course we have girls, and it may be that they stay a little cleaner. Most of the time.
We started both girls out in the infant bathtub set up on the kitchen counter. Some people put the small tubs into their bathtubs but I say why start on the crinked back and sore knees before you have too. As long as you never leave the baby in the bath by herself (and you shouldn’t for multiple reasons), they are perfectly safe up on the counter and no leaning over is required. Plus, you can just dump and wash out the tub right into the sink when you are done. We also use the sprayer (on low) to rinse off the soapy water from hair and body. We started out putting the tub into the sink like it’s designed but found it was nice to have the sink free for baby rinsing. We have the basic one but there are all sorts of fancy tubs available too. Just be aware what you place next to the tub. Babies have long arms.
The newborn sling is helpful in the first week to keep the umbilical cord out of the water but once it’s off I highly suggest putting the baby right into the tub. Both our girls greatly enjoyed the baths more once they were immersed in the warm water instead of out in the cold with only their little butt cheeks warm. If your baby doesn’t seem to like the bath, try fooling around with the water temp. Rose liked a coolish bath while Evelyn suddenly became Miss Happy Baby once I tried a slightly warmer than normal temp.
I never used the toddler side of the infant bath. The girls liked to lay comfortably in the Newborn side and were kind of pitched forward in the Toddler side. Once they were sitting up (at least partially on their own) we moved them to the “big” tub.
The No Longer a Newborn but not a Toddler Baby:
We did things differently with the two kids. When Rose was a baby, she was our precious only child and we had 2 arms (or 4 if we were both playing with washing her) so we started her out in a Ducky Tub inside of our bathtub. This thing was great. The sides were squishy (no conked head when she fell over), it didn’t take a long time to fill, and it was cuter then cute. She loved the freedom of sitting up and playing with toys and we loved how easy it was to rinse out and prop up to dry. We did have to kneel down now so I recommend either a folded towel (our cheap route) or buy one of those nifty knee pads for under your knees.
With Evelyn, we now have two kids on our hands and there is no way that Rose would fit into that cute Ducky tub with Evelyn (although I’m sure she would love to try). Thus comes in the Baby Tub Seat. This thing is great. Ours hooks on the side of the tub and Evelyn puts her arms over the edge and contentedly chews on a foam number while watching her sister splash around. Others suction cup right to the bottom of the tub which I think is even cooler.
With the baby, all you really need are a set of the foam letters and numbers. Those things will keep a teething baby happy for as long as you want to wash them. Once the kid starts to grow though, a more diverse number of toys can be given although Rose spends a large amount of her time just splashing around like a mermaid instead of playing with anything.
The biggest bane of a parents existence is the toy manufacturers insistence on selling every type of squirt toy possible. It is actually hard to find bath toys that don’t have some sort of squirting tendency. What’s the problem you say? Mold. Gross, smelly, black mold. Even if you make the effort to squeeze as much of the water out as possible that black stuff will grow inside of those plastic petri dishes and your child will be squirting it right into the bathwater when they use them. I used them for a year or so (you can see quiet a few in the picture below) until I started to wonder what the crud floating in the bathtub was. Yuck! I know you can plug the holes with glue but I didn’t know of any glue I wanted my girls to potentially ingest when they chewed on the toys.
I have also tried the tub crayons which, while fun for Rose, are kind of a pain. They do wash off fairly easily but if you are like me and don’t wash your tub every day, the kid will have little bits of plasticy crayon floating around with them until you do. And by washable they mean on your knees scrubbing with a sponge. If you wash your tub more than I do, or have a maid, Rose thought they were a blast.
I’ve done a lot of hunting and finally found a few toys that Rose uses a lot and I’m comfortable with on the ick factor.
1. Foam Letters. They stick to the tub, teach letters and numbers, and apparently taste wonderful. Need I say more?
2. Penguin bowls. Rose likes to use these to pour water from one thing to the next and make the little spinny thing spin. Or pour water on her sister.
3. Tea Set. This was a new purchase that has gone over like gang busters. Rose loves to have pretend tea parties in the tub (I fill the tea pot with fresh water) and I love that it is full of holes and dries easily. A secondary benefit was that it got her to stop drinking the bath water. She had something she could drink from that had clean water in it. I think I got ours at Walmart.
4. Elmo Sub. Another toy that floats around with cute little characters that dries easily. The characters themselves have no openings (bonus!). Rose’s take? It’s Elmo (duh). (Note that it is not available on Amazon right now but might be at Walmart or Target. This boat is the same concept.)
5. Foam Animals. While they don’t exactly “magically expand into shapes by just placing them in water!!!”. With a little manipulation they do pop out of their little capsule and expand into a little animal. Usually cheap (I bought mine at the dollar store) are a fun little thing to have around that can be ‘new’ each time.
Even if your baby has a full head of hair like Evelyn you really don’t need a separate body soap and shampoo for a while. Most baby soaps are gentle enough for both hair and body washing. We learned the hard way that Rose has very sensitive skin and even using simple Dove gentle soap made her break out. Any Johnson and Johnson product makes her look like she has measles.
We finally found that Aveno baby products worked well for her skin type and we never looked back. As a baby we used Aveno Soothing Relief Cream Wash which was great for her poor ezcema and once she was around a year or so (and had finally grown enough hair back) used Aveno Gentle Conditioning Shampoo for her hair. As her hair grew longer and more easily tangled (with it’s baby fineness) we also started to use the “Super Sensitive” California Baby Conditioner on the ends with good luck.
I took a risk and branched out with Evelyn and tried Aveno’s Calming Comfort Baby Bath when she started to get cranky at bath time. I can’t say if the lavender scent worked to calm her but I do know that she didn’t break out with it and she smells divine.
***A note on bubble bath. We used to use bubble bath with Rose then we noticed that, while potty trained, she was going to the bathroom a lot. Like a lot a lot. I read about bubble bath irritating girls urinary tracks so I stopped using it for a week. She stopped having the issue. Enough proof for me! Even though we used the hyper sensitive stuff (because of her exzema issues) it still seemed to give her problems. She was disappointed but soon forgot about it once the bottle disappeared.
Stuff to Make it Easier:
There are a few other things that I have found to make life easier in the bath.
1. Hooded towels. These are great to wrap the kids up in after the bath. It keeps their heads warm and usually come in fun characters which helps with the dreaded bath exit time (Rose looooves her bath and fights getting out every time). I have two per kid so that one is always dry and ready.
2. Facet protector. Once the kids are big enough to be roaming around in the tub a facet protector is a must. It’s like their heads are magnetically drawn to the thing. I started out with the frog you see in the picture above but, while cute, it doesn’t have a hole for the shower thingy. I picked up a whale one a while back from Amazon which installed easily and looked just a cute.
3. Toy/Soap Holder. I originally used a mesh frog thing that stuck on the side of the shower with suction cups to hold all of the toys. However, the suction cups were forever falling off and putting all the toys in was a pain. Recently I picked up a extendable bathtub basket that is fabulous. I can easily dump all the toys in there after the bath and they are fully dry by the next day. I also keep all the soaps and shampoos in there to keep them from constantly falling into the bathtub from their former home on the side of the tub. You can see ours behind Evelyn in the above picture.
Do you have any tips or tricks for giving little ones baths? I would love to hear them.