1 week old Maya in the tub with me
Maya has always loved water. Even when I was pregnant and I was having two baths a day to ease my aching hips, little fetal Maya would kick up a storm as soon as I relaxed into the tub. When she was a newborn, she would cry because she hated the sponge baths in the little baby tub and really preferred to be submerged as much as possible. Baths in the big tub with me were a hit!
As she grew, she started to like the baby tub because it meant she could kick water all over the floor. We still only bathed her sporadically… I really think that people over-bathe babies and dry out their skin. As long as you are keeping their diaper area very clean and checking for crud in their armpits and neck folds, you shouldn’t need to give them daily baths. Maya would have baths once a week.
But then… we started solid foods and the whole game changed. Now the kid can use a bath 3 times a day (no, we don’t bathe her that much!). My new “favourite” thing is how she rubs everything she eats through her hair first. You’d be surprised how well banana works as a styling gel! And pre-chewed food always seems to find its way into her belly button or diaper or even into her socks.
Now I will say that she never wears a bib. She just hates them and focuses on ripping off the bib instead of eating her dinner. So Maya spends most meals au naturel, which allows for her to practice eating and body painting with tomato sauce all at once. What a rich learning experience! (You can see a picture of her mealtime art at the bottom of this post)
2.5 month old Maya in the little bath
Around this time, she started taking baths in the laundry room sink because as lovely as the deep tub was when I was pregnant, it broke my back to crouch over it. Not to mention how hard it was to wrangle a soapy, wiggling toddler in all that water!
So far, the laundry room sink baths are going really well and I’ll probably keep those up until she outgrows it.
Plus the kid LOVES her baths. She goes crazy as soon as you dip her feet in the water, splashing and giggling and squealing. She loves to lean back and have her hair washed, and even thinks its funny when she nearly drowns because she kicked up a sink-sized tidal wave that walloped her in the face. She’s just as enthusiastic about swimming in the pool, and in the ocean. Simon is excited because that means he’ll have a surfing buddy in a few years! And I’m glad that she is so comfortable, joyful and confident in the water. What a little fishy!
Yay! It's bath time!
Now I think Maya has a natural love of water, but here are some ideas to help your baby love the bath:
- Lie out everything you need before starting the bath. Make sure it’s all within reaching distance. NEVER leave your child alone in the bath, even for a second.
- Try taking very little babies in the tub with you. Your body will keep them warm and the closeness is soothing for them. Ask your partner to help out by sitting nearby (it can be hard to juggle a baby and soap in a deep bath!), and you can hand him/her the wet baby to dry off when you are done.
Getting her hair washed... happy girl!
- Dunk a washcloth in the warm bath water and put on baby’s chest to keep them warm in the little tub (see the picture of Maya, above) Re-dunk the cloth often to keep it warm!
- Save washing hair until the very end of the bath. Water on the face and a cold, wet head can really make a happy bath time deteriorate fast!
- Bath toys are a great distraction for older babies! Bring some empty containers into the tub and pour water back and forth between them.
- Leave some time at the end of the bath for baby to play and explore the water. Teach him to splash!
- Try to get baby out of the bath before she melts down. Leaving the bath on a good note will make her look forward to it next time!
- Dry baby off as thoroughly and quickly as possible. Cold babies get really grumpy.
- Remember to have a positive attitude! Babies are very perceptive and will pick up on your stress or frustration. If you’re still feeling uptight… have your partner wash the baby, and you go have a relaxing bubble-bath of your own!
Do your kids love their baths? What are your favourite bath time tips?