So you’re thinking of taking your little one with you in the tub or shower. It’s such a great idea because it’s so rewarding to have another way to have skin-to-skin bonding time.
For breastfeeding moms, it might be more relaxing to feed your baby since the warm water helps with the let-down reflex.
Before you stop reading and start turning on that water, though, you may want to make sure you have everything you would need for a safe and fun splash time with the kiddo!
First things, first. Are you both ready?
Before taking a shower or bath with your baby, ask yourself if she’s ready for it. Babies may start having a bath or shower once the umbilical cord has fallen off. Before that, you may just give her sponge bath.
A shower may seem scarier than a bath. That running water can seem like doomsday for the little one. Everything in her perspective is quite enormous and scary! So, you may start by just getting her used to getting in the shower with you, then slowly introduce her to the running water.
Now that she’s ready, are you?
I mean, do you have everything accessible? Make sure that before you two start washing up, you have everything you may need within a hand’s reach.
You should have soap, toys, and towel where you don’t have to extend your arms, increasing the risk of slipping or accidentally letting go of your baby. Yes, it happens.
It may seem scary, too, especially for new moms to think of showering with the baby. It’s not just the floor that can get slippery. Your body can be slippery too, with the water and soap. If you want, you may try wearing a thin shirt just to have a bit of traction and to prevent your baby from slipping off of you.
Also, make sure to cover your toilet seat. Children have reportedly accidentally drowned in toilets even when supervised, so it’s always best to be safe. If possible, you may install spout covers so that baby doesn’t accidentally turn the water on. Yes, they’re fast as lightning our little ones! So, baby-proofing the bathroom is a good idea!
Check that water!
Since you will be sharing the water with your little one, the temperature should be adjusted primarily for her comfort and safety. If you have a thermometer, you may check the water temperature and make sure it’s around 36 – 38 degree celsius. Place the thermometer under the water stream in the shower or the tub once you’ve filled it up.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you may go the more traditional way by using your wrist or your elbow. It should not be too hot or too cold. It just needs to be warm enough that it won’t cause scalding.
You may think it’s not too hot for you, but, remember that your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive. Bear in mind that it should be cooler than your usual “hot shower/bath.”
For showers, the water temperature can change rapidly. So, you need to take that into consideration when showering with your baby. You may buy shower controls, although those tend to be a bit pricey.
For baths, make sure to get the water ready and not fill the tub with your baby in it. Start with cold water first, then warm and check the temperature as you go.
Make sure to mix the hot and cold water well so that you won’t have hot or cold spots. Think of warming food in the microwave; mixing food after warming it up gets rid of the hot spots.
When filling the tub with water, you don’t need to fill it to the line. A few inches deep is good enough. Just right enough for her to get washed, but, safe enough so she won’t accidentally drown even while she’s supervised.
Bye bye bubbles.
Yes, babies love bubbles. You love bubbles! Epsom salt, lavender scent, and rose petals, yay!
Also, especially for girls, bubble baths may not be a good idea. Even women are advised not to have too many bubble baths. Doing so can increase the risk of your little one developing a urinary tract infection. Also, it lessens the risk of suds getting in your kiddo’s eyes.
Epsom salts, though considered relatively safe, can pose some problems. Other than it’s relaxing effects, it has often been used to relieve constipation.
Babies are as quick as lightning, so if you do use Epsom salts, watch them carefully, making sure they don’t accidentally eat any of those salts. Just to be safe, make sure to ask your doctor!
Babies are sensitive to scented soaps. You may even be better off using unscented, tear free soap. Also, the rose petals may just be a choking hazard.
By the way, this shouldn’t be an hour-long bath. It only takes a few minutes to bathe your baby, so you may want to get her out before both your skins get all wrinkly.
Watch out for that slippery floor!
If you haven’t already, it’s best to have a non-slip bath mat. When holding your baby, whether in the shower or the tub, it prevents both of you from slipping and facing the most unfortunate accidents.
Also, as much fun as it is to teach your baby to take a few steps and walk towards you, the tub may not be the best place for it. Even with a non-slip mat and a lightning speed mom reflex, it can still be very dangerous. Make sure she is in your arms, and you’re the only one doing the standing.
Ask for help.
I feel as if we say this a lot!
Asking for help is seriously a life saver. It may be hard for single parents, but taking a shower or a bath with your little one is safest when someone will be able to hand the baby over to you or take her from you when she’s done.
Once the shower or bath is ready, get in and have your partner hand over your baby to you. Once you’re done, call out to your partner, ideally having a towel ready to grab the baby and you may continue with your bath.
You may also use a baby chair. Before you get in, place your child safely in her chair. Once you’re ready to clean her up, take her from the chair. Same steps when you’re done.
Never, ever leave the room!
No matter what, never, ever leave your baby unattended.
Even with all the baby proofing, or if the tub just has enough water or no water at all, it is never safe to leave your baby alone in the bathroom even for a millisecond.
So, as I’ve said, make sure you have everything ready, so you don’t have to get in and out of the bathroom with the little one once you start.
Ready for that water!
When taking a shower, make sure that you’re the one facing the water stream. Especially, as mentioned earlier, the water temperature in the shower can change instantly, so it’s safer for you to be the one taking in all the hot or cold water.
Splash some water now and then on your little one, so she stays warm. Make sure you have a good hold on her.
Obviously, your baby will have more fun with toys when in the tub. So, get those rubber duckies out, too, even if you’re in the bath with her.
It can be another way to teach her some words, shapes, letters, or simply just have fun with her!
Lastly, you may be wondering, how often do you have to bathe your baby?
Honestly, it’s up to you, but it is advised to shower or bathe your baby once, twice or thrice a week. Her skin is sensitive, so constant contact with soap can affect it. If you feel like she needs to get cleaned up, you may just wipe her with a wet towel now and then. Especially in between those cute little fingers and toes.