The first time I bathed my new baby, I was terrified. Were you? It really wasn’t until weeks later that I was comfortable with the wiggly, slippery little baby who actually loved his bath more than just about anything else. ‘Babies’ and ‘bath’ are two words that seem to fill up loads of time as a new parent. Fortunately, bath time is also a great time to connect with your baby and encourage him or her to explore all of their senses! Here’s a primer to help you and your baby get the most out of the experience.
7 Bath Time Tips for Babies
Your baby’s bath time is the perfect beginning stage of developing trust and routine together. Between the little things that you say to your child, to the eye contact and touch your baby is receiving, you’re sharing all sorts of information that begins to build that connection between parent and child. These are moments that make lasting impressions.
Bath Time Tip 1: Find the Right Spot for the Tub.
Get rid of the hair spray and lip gloss, and make way for your baby’s tub. Because your bathroom counter is likely the perfect location for a baby bathtub. It saves your post-pregnancy back since you can stand instead of stoop. It also gives your baby a chance to look into the bathroom mirror as they begin to develop self awareness. The kitchen counter is another good alternative. As you begin to transition into the big bathtub, simply move the whole baby tub into the bathroom tub to help your child get used to the new environment—without also having to get used to the grownup-sized tub.
Bath Time Tip 2: Find a Bucket that Keeps Water Away from Baby’s Face
Here’s the thing: in my personal experience, most babies aren’t too crazy about the idea of water on their face. For when you’re up to your armpits in soapy bubbles, you might want to consider a special bucket with a soft plastic edge created just for this problem. (These were invented, no doubt, by a parent deserving of a gold star.) Check them out here.
Bath Time Tip 3: Keep Your Bath Toys Dry When Not In Use.
When I bought the squirty water toys for my baby, I must admit to using them on my unexpecting cat. Just once. (Okay, maybe twice). They’re actually adorable bath toys that are super fun for your kiddo, and great for developing motor skills. But beware of yucky, slimy stuff that you won’t want anywhere near your wee one—these colorful toys can collect both water and mold inside. Be sure to squirt out all the water at the end of every bath time.
I used to store my baby’s bath toys in a laundry bag made of netting; I could hang it from the shower head to drip dry and keep everything neat. You can also give your child plastic containers with smooth edges of all shapes and sizes. Check out this watering can we love. Super cute.
Bath Time Tip 4: Talk to Your Baby
Sing in the bath like you do in the shower! Believe it or not, your baby likes your voice above all others—and he doesn’t care if you are off tune. And go ahead and talk, talk, talk. Baby bath time is a terrific time to connect with your child one-on-one. Describe what you’re sensing and doing as you’re giving them a bath: “This is warm, wonderful water!” You can explore so many words to help build their vocabulary. A sweet “I see your tummy” as you’re scrubbing their belly with a wash cloth introduces your toddler to the names of body parts, and “Let’s see how many toes you have” lets you introduce counting.
Bath Time Tip 5: Have your Supplies Ready
The last thing in the world you want to do is take your eyes off that baby in the tub, so have every single thing you need within reach before filling the tub. Setting up a station where you keep all these supplies will make the whole process simple!
No big surprise here your baby is likely to enjoy a massage as much as you do. (If only they could reciprocate!) Baby massage time is a very cool way to bond with your child, and there are some great videos on YouTube to give tips on just how to do it. Here’s an example. And the WeeSchool App has a special collection of bath time tunes, available in the app at the end of February. You’ll both look forward to this special time together as you build baby’s routine.
Bath Time Tip 6: Make a Bath Time Routine
Consistency is helpful for everyone, especially for growing minds. Bath time is a special part of the day that works best when you create a routine for it, as it will train your baby to expect—and enjoy—it.
- Keep special toys reserved for the bath that your child loves and make them bath-only items.
- A few drops of essential oils in the water can lend an incredible sensory experience that you’ll both love.
- A special song or music helps establish memories as well as build a special connection with your baby. Again, the (free!) weeSchool Bathe app can help you establish your own music or sound routines to complement bath time.
And last but MOST important: Safety!
We would be remiss if we did not share all the golden rules of baby bath time.
- NEVER, EVER, EVER leave a baby alone in the bath. Don’t take your hands off him or her for just even the weensiest second.
- Only an inch or two of warm water is advised for the littlest babies, and 100°F (38°C) is your target temperature. No hotter!
- Plain water for washing is plenty, but you can use baby-safe moisturizing soap if you prefer.
- Use a soft sponge or cloth to bathe baby. Begin at the face and work your way down. Be sure to clean the skin hidden within creases and folds.
- Have a soft, fluffy towel at the ready to wrap up your bundle of joy when bath time is over. It’s not just cozy for her: it will help you keep a good hold on a slippery little kiddo!