Tips for Making Baby Bath Time a Success

I guess it is bath week here at Speechbaby. I’m really just looking for an excuse to post my little man’s pics of when he transitioned to the big boy tub. It was a big milestone for us, which happened just before I started blogging, so I’ve been wanting to get it into my virtual baby book. Wanted to share some tips that worked for us as well. Here ya go!

I started off on the wrong foot, which actually happened to be the right foot I think when it came to bathing my baby. I never fully understood where baby tubs were meant to be used. It seems that infant tubs are supposed to be used on the countertop or in sinks. Unknowing, I used mine inside our bathtub. Aside from the first two weeks when we were doing sponge baths waiting on belly button and circumcision healing, my baby has always been bathed in our bathtub. So when it came time to transition from the infant tub to the big boy tub, everything went smoothly. He was used to the surroundings and loved the freedom of the big tub. I recommend putting the infant tub inside the bathtub from the get go or sooner rather than later. This lays the foundation of comfort and security for when baby transitions to the big bathtub.

My son transitioned to the big tub at six months old. The minute he was able to sit up good without support, we said sayonara to the infant tub. I always found baby tubs to be cumbersome and once baby started to get some size on him they were ill-fitting and awkward. We tried plastic tubs and soft tubs. I went through four different ones before finding one that worked for us. So needless to say, I was very happy when he made the transition. It made bath time much easier and fun!

Bath time is a very sensory experience. It can be scary and overwhelming for a baby. Providing lots of reassurance and positive reinforcement (verbal praise and comfort) during those first baths is very important in helping baby establish a positive association with bath time. You want to make it a very loving, caring and happy environment. Below are some tips to help create an enjoyable bath time experience.

Tips for making bath time a success:

  • Make sure the area is warm and comfortable. Babies get cold easily. When my baby was a newbie, I always turned on a space heater and closed the bathroom door a few minutes before bath time to get the area warm and cozy. We use this Vornado Baby Sunny Nursery Heater.
  • Be prepared. Have everything ready to rock before undressing baby.
  • Timing is key! Bathe baby when he/she is in a good mood, not hungry or too tired.
  • Check the water temperature. Baby’s bath water should be comfortably warm but not hot.
  • Use tear-free, hypoallergenic, moisturizing and gentle products
  • Introduce baby to sensory experiences early on. Gently pour water on baby, rub their skin with different textures, make rubber ducky squeak, show and let them touch bubbles, run the water, drain the water. I began gently pouring water over my baby’s head, letting it drip over his face from his first bath and he loves it now.
  • Use two wash cloths, one to bathe with and the other (wet with warm water) to drape over baby’s back or chest/belly to keep them warm and secure feeling
  • Model gentle splishing and splashing for baby and let them go to town. This will help baby to feel comfortable around water and get enjoyment from it. Warning: Splishing and splashing will carry over to the dog water bowl and I haven’t figured out how to conquer that fun activity yet. My son looks at me like, “what do you mean, it’s ok to splash water in the tub but not here?!” Yes son, that’s exactly what I mean and one day you will understand!
  • Play music during bath time. I play fun, upbeat music for daytime baths and calm, instrumental tunes for night-time baths. Pandora’s Rockabye Baby channel is my fav!
  • Play with toys. Bath toys are a great distraction for cautious bath takers. Simple cups from the kitchen are loads of fun too.
  • Talk to baby!!! Label items, name body parts as you bathe them, make animal sounds, sing. Babies remember the sounds and language they hear during bath time so let them hear it!!
  • Tell baby what you are going to do to them BEFORE doing it. “Mommy’s going to wash your hair.” “Here comes the water, ready 1, 2, 3.” “It’s time to get out.” Do this from the very beginning!
  • Make bath time short and sweet to begin with and lengthen once baby adapts and seeks enjoyment in it.
  • Smile and smile some more. Get your permagrin on! If baby senses that the bath giver is calm and relaxed, he/she is more likely to feel that way in return.
  • This goes without saying but I’m saying it: never leave baby unattended, always be hands on or within arms reach of baby even when they are really good at baths!

Baby may resist or upset with bath time at first. It’s a new and stimulating experience that will likely require some time to adapt to. Don’t worry, bath time will become a breeze with exposure and practice. I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. Please share any other suggestions that you’ve found helps babies feel confident and comfortable with baths and water.



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