Bathing your baby in a European-style baby bath tub is a little bit different than using a traditional baby tub since baby will be sitting in a deeper, round, bucket-type tub. In European-style tubs, baby usually curls up into a supported fetal position, which can make it hard to effectively clean baby's bottom and legs. Here's how to bathe your baby in one of these tubs while maintaining the relaxed, soothing environment.
Time Required: 20-30 Minutes
- Decide where you'll use the bath tub. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the bathroom. You just need to be comfortable and have access to baby's bath supplies and a towel, because once you get started, you won't be able to leave baby in the tub to grab anything you forgot. Some parents like to put the bath tub in the kitchen sink or on the counter, and some sit on the bathroom floor or in a bigger tub as they bathe baby. Do whatever works for you. You should be able to reach into the tub easily, and lift baby out easily.
- Gather your bathing supplies, and double check that you have everything. Once you get started, you can't leave baby to grab something you forgot, so it's worth the extra second to check it twice. Infants don't normally get that dirty, so you can probably make do with a hair and body wash, a wash cloth or two, and a towel for finishing up. A little cup for rinsing is helpful, too.
- Fill the bath tub with warm water. Check the temperature with a baby bath thermometer. It should be warm, but not hot. In a European-style baby bath tub, the water level is supposed to be near baby's shoulders. It may take some practice to get the water level just right, so when you find the perfect level, place a sticker or mark on the tub so you can easily fill the tub perfectly next time.
- Slowly slide your baby into the tub, making sure you keep a hand on baby at all times. Let baby's legs fold into a crossed fetal position at the bottom of the tub. Be particularly sure the first few times you use the tub that the water level isn't too high and baby's face isn't at risk of slipping too close to the water. Support your baby in the way that feels most natural to you. Some parents like to keep their arm behind baby's back and neck with a hand under one arm. Others keep their arm across baby's front and under an arm. What's important is that baby is cozy, and that you can comfortably hold and wash baby.
- Your baby may want to relax for a bit in this type of bath tub. The womb-like environment is soothing and can provide relief for some babies who suffer from colic or are fussy for other reasons. The water tends to stay warmer in European-style baby bath tubs, so it's OK to let baby soak for a little while. Just don't get baby's hair wet until you're ready to finish the rest of the bath. A wet head will make it easier for your baby to get cold before the bath is done.
- With your free hand, dip a clean wash cloth in the water and gently wipe baby's face. You can use a little cup to put some water on his or her hair, or just use your hand to add enough water for washing. Add some tear-free shampoo (or combination hair and body wash) and use the cup to rinse.
- Wash baby's upper body with the wash cloth and a small amount of baby body wash. When you're ready to tackle baby's lower body, lean baby forward over your arm, with baby's head toward your elbow. Your hand will support baby's lower body. When you lift up a little, the water level will go down, so you won't need to lift baby very far in order to wash off that diaper cream or make sure those sweet baby knee folds are clean. If your baby has good head control, you can also lean baby slightly over the tub edge (armpits on the edge), but this may take more practice until baby is strong enough to help a bit.
- Let baby settle back into the water for a final rinse. Then it's time to wrap your baby in a warm towel, do a little massage with some baby lotion, and get dressed as usual. Go back and empty the baby tub once baby is sufficiently dry and in a safe spot. Leaving a tub full of water around poses a drowning hazard, so be sure to make draining the tub a priority.
- If you're concerned about your newborn's face slipping too close to the water, try a lower water level a few times. Your baby will still enjoy this bath style if the water is only up to his or her tummy or armpits, and you'll feel more secure until you get the hang of supporting baby in the tub.
What You Need
- European-style baby bath tub.
- Baby hair & body wash.
- Wash cloth.
- Small cup.