Safe & stress-free bath time
5 Steps to Stay Safe in the Tub
Baby bath times are known for evoking a tender bonding moment between parent and child. This touching experience helps you feel closer to your tot as they experience a brand new world: it’s a special and fun time that should be cherished in a tranquil environment.
However, we know that this isn’t always the case. The prospect of bathing your infant can cause many new Mothers and Fathers to fall into a blind panic, terrified by the thought of putting their newborn at risk in the tub.
We understand. It’s daunting, getting used to holding your tiny little bundle of joy in the water as you keep them squeaky clean.
That’s why we wanted to provide you with the tools to have a stress-free bath time with your little one with all the information you could ever need in one handy guide. So get out the rubber duckys, grab your snuggliest baby towel and get ready for a pain-free pamper session: baby style!
1. Picking the right tub for you
There are a lot of different tubs and bathing options on the market: how do you choose the right one for your baby?
If you plan to place a baby bath either in the tub or on a flat surface (a popular choice for those who suffer with back pains), there are certain features that are worth looking out for to make their bath time as tranquil as possible.
Baths with contoured surfaces are particularly comfortable for little ones, and provide a smooth shape that will feel natural to your child. For extra softness, you can find ones that are lined with plush sponge interiors.
In addition to comfort, it can be helpful to choose a product that will support your baby in the correct position. Some parents choose baths that have slings or rings attached; these keep them closer to you and higher in the water, and can be removed once the tot starts to grow. However, some safety groups advise against this method and claim that it may not be anymore helpful than a regular bath. Another option to ensure this stable position is picking a bath with a gentle incline. A good solution here could be choosing one with an adjustable base: ideal for accommodating your growing child.
There is also the choice between having a bath that is foldable and one that is not. Those who are pushed for space may opt for the first: however, it is worth bearing in mind that, whilst more convenient, these can be less sturdy. An alternative could be choosing a bath that flattens down and / or can be hung up by a hook or suction cup. Not only will this keep the tub out of the way and out of reach, it will also allow it to drain fully to avoid mould. Whilst weighing up your options here, be sure to seek out a tub that has a plug in the base: you’ll want to make sure it can get as dry as possible.
Remember, you can also bathe your baby in the sink for their early months: a method that can make parents feel more secure as it keeps their newborn as close to them as possible. Be sure that there is enough room (and that you move them to a tub as soon as they have outgrown it) and that you can either slide the tap valve out of the way (to avoid any head bangs) or that you can put a soft cover on them. There are also tubs made especially for early year sink baths that allow for comfortable and highly secure bathing.
2. Prep, prep, prep!
So you’ve chosen the bath: now you need to prepare the space! It is generally acknowledged that 2 / 3 baths a week is fine, as long as you clean their face, neck, hands and diaper area daily. A lot of this choice is down to personal preference, but this tends to be a good number to aim for.
Before you even run the bath, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and raring to go. That means all the toiletries you need are on hand and easy to grab when holding your little one in the water. You need to have one hand on your child at all times in the bath, so keep soap, a towel, clean diaper and clean clothes close to you. In fact, it’s a good idea to either hang the towel over your shoulder or buy one that can clip on to you. This way, you can wrap your baby up as soon as they leave the water to stop them from catching a chill… and it protects you from an onslaught of splashes!
If you have decided to bathe them directly in the bath (without an additional baby tub), you should add a rubber mat for secure seating. Even if the child is too young to sit in the bath, it is likely you will share a bath with them at some point, so it is crucial to avoid any possible slips.
Baby tub or not, fill up wherever you are washing them 2 – 4 inches. You want the water to be comfortably warm, but cooler than the temperature us adults might prefer. Test it with your wrist or elbow to gauge whether it feels suitable or not. It is also recommended that parents change the default setting on their water heater to 120°F / 49°C rather than the typical 140 / 60: it takes just 3 seconds for a child to get third degree burns from this higher temperature, so eliminate the risk by lowering it. Also ensure the tub is filled before putting in your tot: running water can change temperature suddenly, and you don’t want them to face a sudden burst of hot or cold.
In terms of products, mild ones for sensitive skin are highly advised. Look for items with no added perfumes or dyes to irritate skin. If your child has particularly sensitive skin, you can add rice starch to the water to help soothe any discomfort. You can also bathe in plain water so long as you clean the diaper zone and skin folds well.
When choosing the appropriate time to wash your baby, you will need to take into consideration their personal temperament. Some babies find the water stimulating, so it can be good to get them splashing away first thing in the morning. For others it calms them down, ideal for mellowing them out before bedtime. Experiment with both, but try to build it into a routine as soon as possible: predictability will help to keep them calm during the whole process.
3. Keep calm and carry on bathing
For some babies, bath time can bring with it a sense of panic. But fear not! There are many simple things you can do to turn it into a moment of serenity.
As mentioned, building it into a routine is the first step towards crafting a more relaxing atmosphere. Next, you should provide a soothing dialogue throughout: even if the child cannot understand you, the melodic sound of your voice will help steady their nerves (whilst distracting them!). Here is the perfect opportunity to practice your favourite show tunes!
Don’t just pour water on their heads and expect them not to be frightened. Slip the water over them a tiny bit at a time, keeping their eyes covered with one hand to avoid suds slipping into their eyes. In case soap does slip through, have a face cloth handy to gently wipe it away. You could even press this to their forehead to avoid any sore eyes entirely! As kids are natural mimics, you can even carry out actions to try to make them move their head slightly back (more suitable as the child gets a bit older). Throw your own head back or point at the ceiling. Your child is sure to follow.
If your baby only has a little amount of hair, you can even go for a spray bottle rather than pouring the water over them. This way you can control the flow and keep them even more relaxed.
And always have a firm hold on your little one – not only for their safety, but to help them feel secure in your hands.
4. Fun in the tub!
Toys glorious toys! Even from a young age, you can introduce fun games to grab their attention and stimulate their senses.
Before they are able to grip items, having a partner / sibling hold up black and white cards can be a really great way to start engaging and developing their vision. They’ll love looking at the patterns and shapes: this is also a brilliant way to distract and calm them.
Ready to hand them a toy? When they’re still small, choose one with no holes that is soft and biteable. We recommend toys without holes as it avoids the build up of grime and mould: altogether a much more hygienic item for your child to be nibbling on! Natural rubber ones are ideal, as they’re brilliant for them to nibble when teething and explore the various bumps and ridges.
As the baby gets a little older, they will love toys that they can pour water out of – such a simple pleasure, but one sure to delight! There are a huge range of toys on the market that are perfect for this – ones with bright and bold colours are always good for commanding their attention as well.
Dropping toys in the tub in general is a really handy way of making the bath more appealing and less scary for your child. However, you might also want to consider storage possibilities for when they’re not splashing around! There are many handy containers that scoop up all their play things before suctioning to the wall: they’ll help avoid any night time disasters such as slipping on a rubber ducky as you go to brush your teeth or tumbling into a tower of pirate ships!
5. Post bath TLC for your little one
Now they’re squeaky clean and smelling of roses, what’s the final part of the ritual? Some tender loving care, of course!
Many parents love to continue this sweet moment post bath by giving their child a baby massage (particularly when bathing at night). A delicate almond oil designed especially for babies will not only be gentle on their skin, but will also leave them irresistibly huggable.
Which takes us to our final point… don’t forget the post bath SNUGGLE! Because, let’s face it, no baby bath is complete without a cuddle from your little monkey!