How to have a happy bathtime with your baby
The best advice on what you do and don't need to enjoy beautiful bathtimes with your baby:
- You don’t need a baby bath for everyday use, although you might consider investing in a blow-up or fold-away travel one for holidays abroad if you’re staying in accommodation where there are only showers. Try the Disnesy Nemo Inflatable Bath, from £16.99, ages 0–6 months, from Tomy (www.tomy.co.uk). Flexibath is also an award-winning baby bath that folds after use, £30, ages 0–4 years, from JoJo Maman Bébé (www.jojomamnbebe.co.uk).
- If you want a baby bath for home, consider getting one that sits on top of the adult bath to save your back. Supabath has an integral soap dish and plug and fits most standard UK baths, £22.99, suitable from birth, from Mothercare (www.mothercare.com).
- There’s a huge range of baby-bath seats and supporting rings available to help your baby to sit in a full-sized tub. Usually, these have suction cups to hold them in position on the bottom of the bath. Always remember that a bath seat or ring is no substitute for your presence, and never leave your baby unattended in the bath for even a nanosecond. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that caregivers take more risks with baths when they’re using bath seats or rings – they fill the bath too deep, nip out of the room for something or dash to answer the phone – so don’t let yourself get a false sense of security if you do buy one of these products. The Ergonomically Shaped Bath Support from Mothercare holds a non-sitting baby comfortably, £14.99, ages 0–6 months, from Mothercare (www.mothercare.com). The Jane Fluid Bath Ring seat supports your baby in a sitting position with a suction base to hold it in place, £19.99, ages 6 months–7kg, from Babybits (www.babybitsonline.co.uk).
- As far as soap is concerned, the golden rule is that less is definitely more. Your baby’s skin is good at keeping itself supple and moist, and water will wash away almost any dirt – it’s not until your baby starts eating solid food at around six months that you’ll really need to use soap at all. The only exception is his bottom, which you may occasionally need to clean with baby soap. Try Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap, £4.99 (www.burtsbees.co.uk).
- Shampoo isn’t essential either for the first two or three months. After that, buy a very mild shampoo and restrict hair-washing to once a week. Check after you’ve used a shampoo for the first time that there’s no skin reaction. Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, £2.79, has been around for more than 50 years and is available everywhere.
- Baby bubble bath and bath oils might be enticing, but they’re not really necessary. Babies are born with a fully developed set of oil glands, so they don’t need to be greased with lotions and oils, and some medical experts recommend bathing less often as a good way of dealing with dry skin rather than bathing more often using products for dry skin.
- Surprise, surprise: talcum powder is not necessary for babies, either. It is not something recommended by experts and may even be harmful if inhaled by a young child.
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