How to Pick the Best Baby Bath
There's a few things to know about bath time with children! First and foremost, babies don't like baths to begin with. Some do, but for the most part babies less than 8-12 weeks don't love bath time. With that being said, bath time plays a crucial role in your routines. First, it is an anchor. An "anchor" is a point in time of day or an action that happens at the same time each day. For example, when a child eats lunch, they come to learn and expect that nap time follows. If there is one parent in the house who returns home at a similar time each day, that will become an "anchor" for the children in the home and they will learn that this anchor means the day is coming to a close, dinner is next, and bedtime is soon.
Bath time will serve this same purpose for your child. Not necessarily a newborn, but whether you take a full-blown bath every night or not, having your child's body safely submerged in warm water will do wonders for their sensory system and provide them with this anchor in their day. A warm bath is also the answer to a baby (older than 8 weeks) that won't stop crying. Usually, a warm bath will be a reset. With this in mind, you want to be mindful of two things:
- - Growth Spurts: You want to make this a place that children can come to relax--especially because you will use the tub as a place of comfort for so many growth spurts (teething, gas, the first vomiting or diarrhea, when your baby can't/won't sleep because they are learning to crawl, the first ear infection, etc). This means making it a place that your baby doesn't feel overstimulated. Adults tend to give tiny humans a bazillion toys in the bath (which is okay if the bath is at a time of day that engaging their brain is the goal), but sometimes less is more.
- - Exploratory Play: The bath will be a place that as your baby grows, so does your time spent doing baths. With the right balance of safety and freedom to play, your cold can share with you their imagination, expressive and receptive language skills, and their ability to pick up on routines. The bath can be a place that you share intentional toys like colors and numbers or letters. Maybe you talk about shapes and sizes with various sizes of cups that, also, share cause and effect (pouring). You’ll be able to see associations that your child has picked up like swimming like a fish or spitting like a fountain! We’ve set the foundation for the bathtub to be a place of comfort and safety for them, now let them shine! Keeping safety in mind, this non-slip mat and this faucet cover are definitely two must-haves for any baby that is rolling over or mobile!
Most families we support never have any problem with mold or mildew growing on a baby tub. However, you aren't the first parent to question this! There's been a lot of success in using a vinegar (1/3), Water (2/3) and lemon juice (1 tablespoon) mix in a spray bottle. When you get done with the bath, you simply spray the tub with the mix and let it dry. If you're worried about the vinegar and lemon juice on your baby's skin, you can simply give it a once over with the shower head before filling up the baby tub!
The Best Baby Tubs
I’ve narrowed it down to my top two picks (and a crowd favorite) plus why those are my top choices! You have a few options when it comes to bathtubs for your tiny human! If there’s one thing I have learned from working with hundreds of families over the last 10 years, it is that there is no one-size fits all in anything… and I mean nothing. When it comes to picking the right tub for your baby, there are so many options. We often get asked about 3 things when it comes to tubs and babies--preventing mold, making sure it can grow with your child, and storing that is easy/compact. While there are no “easy to store” baby baths, there are these handy hooks that you can hang in your shower so you can hang the baby bath. This allows the baby bath to drip dry, too, if wet fabric is really icky to you like it is to me!
- - Summer Infant is a great brand! I like this one because it sort of grows with your child! It supports their development of sitting up, too! I really love that this one can go on the countertop (for a newborn) or directly in the bath. It can be easily hung with the hooks mentioned above.
- - Next up is Angelcare. This is a super common one. It doesn't grow with your child, but it does allow them to sit up (once they are to that stage) which is nice! I love the minimalistic look of this one. It hangs beautifully with the hooks mentioned above, too.
- - We also have gotten great feedback about this foam flower bath that sits conveniently in your sink! We’ve also gotten the question, “How long will my baby be able to fit in it?” Parents report anywhere from 4-8 months, but I think 4-6 month is probably more realistic. Remember how I mentioned that your baby was going to want to be on the move--well, the sink won't be able to accommodate that very well.
Head, Shoulders.. Knees & Elbows??
Something that folks never consider is where you will be giving this little baby a bath! For a newborn, on the kitchen counter or even in the kitchen sink is totally fine, but that won't last long because before you know it, your babe will be too big to fit! This means you will be moving to a bathroom in your home. With that, you are going to be spending a lot of time on the floor. As your baby grows, you will find yourself spending more and more time on bath time (remember the exploratory play).
The more time you spend during bath time, the more your knees and elbows take the blow... literally. This bathtub knee pad can be super helpful! You can always use towels, too! This is Knees and Elbows in one.
Finally, remember when I mentioned that your child will learn to love bath time? Well, this means you will need to provide them with a safe space to do all that exploration! Usually around 6-8 months we see children put up a fight to be able to move about in the tub. Your gut instinct is probably to stop this because we associate water with young infants as a danger.. but what if instead, you slowly gave your child more room to safely explore? I recommend getting an inflatable toddler tub that is cushy and you can control how much water (and how many toys) are in there with your baby. In order to be "ready" for a toddler tub, your child must be able to sit by themselves. A child should never be left unsupervised without water, but eventually, you'll be able to sit on the floor or the toilet and they won't need your hands-on assistance! Following that, they will start to explore the toddler tub.. but with time, they will start to ask to get out to have the freedom of the whole tub. If you want a quick, handy fix for this--a laundry basket works just as well, but requires you to fill the entire tub rather than just the toddler tub. For examples, google "babies in laundry basket bathtubs."
If you are worried about ensuring the water is a safe temperature, this bath thermometer is a quick and easy way to see just how hot the bath is before putting your baby in!
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