Baby bath time doesn't have to be a regular shouting, anxiety-inducing tussle to get dreaded by you and your baby. With just a bit of planning - and the right products - bath time can become a fun, relaxing and sensory experience for your little one - and for the mommy as well.
Bathing baby varies with different ages and different stages, but overall, having fun in the bath all comes down to selecting age-relevant toys, songs and water games, plus using products that are sensitive to, and will help nurture and protect, baby's delicate skin. Here we've thought of eight fun ways to make bath time a highlight in your family.
MESSY CRAZY HAIR. There's nothing cuter than a baby with a Mohawk. A game of crazy hair is like dress-ups in the tub, plus you have the chance to wash your little one's hair as well. The very best part is that once the game is over, there's no messy clean up - just watch everything suck away down the plughole.
All you need is a bottle of shampoo - ideally a brand which is 100% natural - some bath water, a mirror and a wild creative imagination.
OUTDOOR BATH. Hot night and don't fancy being holed up in the stuffy bathroom during bath time? Then give your baby a cool, refreshing bath outside. Simply turn your play pool into a temporary outdoor bath.
You may like to add some warm water to the pool too - and perhaps you could even make your very own bubble bath. Add bath toys and any plastic utensils or containers you have like cups and plates - as well as small stones, leaves and flowers - to the bath water. This form of water play is loads of fun-filled and really motivates play for babies and toddlers.
COLORFUL WATER BATH. Turn the bath water green and portray your little one is a crocodile in the swamp, or pink-ify the tub for your princess and have her bask in glorious pinkness. The possibilities for imaginative play with colours in the bath are endless and provide learning opportunities and sensory experiences to boot.
While you don't need to go too far to find a wide range of products on the supermarket shelf that promise to change the colour of your child's bath water, you have to be mindful of the kinds of chemicals that are used to create the magic happen.
SHOWER POWER. It's not technically bath fun, but showering is an excellent way to shake things up a bit when playing in the bath is starting to lose its appeal - or when you feel your child is old enough to progress from the bath to shower. The gentle flow of water from above is a great way to spark their imaginations. It's also much easier to wash their hair and rinse out the shampoo in the shower - just make certain you use a gentle face washer to cover their eyes when you do this to avoid stinging eyes. Add a bucket to the bottom of the shower and watch as your kids delight in it filling right up to the top with water. If it's big enough, they may even hop in it and pretend it's a custom-made ever-filling little bath!
Showering may take some babies a little getting used to. For newbies, hold them near to reassure them and introduce them to the water gradually. See to it that the water doesn't hit baby's face directly and limit the amount of time your little one stays in the shower. It may prove a senses overload to one so new and little. As soon as your baby can walk, she'll be fine to shower without you holding her. But also for safety, see to it there is a non-slip mat in the shower to avoid slippery accidents.
BATH TIME PUPPET PLAY. There's nothing like a bathtime puppet play to entertain the baby while you clean his little body. Just put your hand inside the friendly duck or frog wash puppet with a movable mouth so they can have a chat with your little one. It's sure to provide some sweet bath time fun.
And, as your child grows older, urge him to create his own bath time puppet play for you. Ducky may duck under the water for a game of hide and seek while Froggy could leap from lily pad to lily pad in search of that elusive little duck.
WHERE’S THE SOAP. Try to hide soap under the bubbles. Think of this game as a bath version of the classic Peek-a-boo. Make the soap disappear in the water and then magically reappear before your baby's eyes. It'll provide plenty of giggles - and opportunities to clean your little one without them even noticing.
Just be conscious that if you're using soap in baby's bath, you shouldn't use the same one on your little one's skin as you use. Instead, use a soap which is suitable for baby's delicate skin.
TWICE THE FUN. Is your back hurting from leaning into the bath? Then jump in the bath with your baby. Depending on the size of your bath, this may be a little bit of a squish for you. But I can guarantee you that your kids won't mind it one little bit! Babies just love skin-to-skin contact and you'll get to enjoy some priceless bonding time.
You can play the "name the body parts" game. But when bath time ends, just don't forget to take extra care when getting from the bath. It's always worth having someone on standby to make sure you and little both get out of the bath safely.
WATER BABIES. While there's lots of bath time fun to be had for the older baby and toddler, bathing newborns is a whole different kettle of fish and should be done in a plastic baby bath or a clean, shallow sink. Newborn safety and comfort is of utmost importance when bathing. While initial nervousness about bathing your newborn baby is common with many parents, eventually you will get used to managing your slippery baby in a confident manner - and he will know to love dabbling in the warm water.
In the beginning, your baby may only last a few minutes in the water before wanting to get out. But the fun doesn't need to stop there. Once dry, and before dressing, lay your baby down on a soft bed or change table and give them a soothing, gentle massage. Lather a little bit of a natural, pH-balanced moisturiser that's specifically formulated for the sensitive skin of babies. Developing a gentle, soothing bath time routine like this will help your baby to develop positive associations with bath.