Tuesday, July 5, 2011

getting ready for baby: bathing must-haves

the first time any of us were getting ready to have a baby, we didn't have a clue what we were doing. so much of first-time mommyhood is trial and error. i see brand new mommies-to-be stumbling through babies-r-us looking dazed and confused and i wish i could take their hands and guide them through the process. this series of posts is our way of doing just that. you don't have to take your registry scanner and copy everything we have here but you can take this advice and let it help you in your journey. if you haven't read our first two posts, check them out here:

getting ready for baby: diaper bag must-haves for newborns

newborn bath-time:

one of the first things you'll have to tackle when you bring your precious bundle home is the task of giving him or her a bath. bathing is very different for newborns than it is as your child grows so the bathing supplies you'll need are divided by your baby's age. again, we're not experts, just experienced mommies. here is what has worked for us:

baby bathtub or a bath sponge - it is much easier to put your baby into something that is made for their little size. i personally like the baby bathtubs that have the little newborn net inserts specifically designed to keep a newborn comfortable. little, soapy babies are really slippery. it's great to have a place where they can sit and not have to be picked up until bath-time is over. having them only partially submersed in water also helps in the bathing process. it may seem like an unnecessary purchase but you'll be glad you spent the $20.00 or so to purchase something for your newborn. chach, on the other hand *loves* the ease of the bath sponge. like i said, find what works for you.....ever mommy and every baby is different.
The First Year's Infant To Toddler Tub with Sling, Blue

Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge
wash cloths - there is a reason this one is plural. first, you'll need one just to wash your sweet baby. i've also purchased the little newborn cleansing cloths and those work just as well. it's important to have something to wash with as your baby grows. in each little fold of your baby's skin, you'll find a new and unpleasant smelling treasure. i had babies who spit up and i would find stinky milk in the oddest places. wash cloths help to get your baby clean all over. if you have a little boy, you'll want to bring another wash cloth along to bath-time. for some reason, when babies hit that warm water, they instantly want to pee. for little boys, that means a spray that goes straight up, all over you, into their own faces, onto your counter-tops. a second washcloth strategically placed over your little sprinkler can solve this problem.
Johnson's Head-to-Toe Dry Disposable Washcloths, 10-Count Boxes (Pack of 12)
Luvable Friends Washcloths, Yellow, 12 Pack
baby wash - save yourself a step and purchase the body wash and shampoo in one easy bottle. if your baby has sensitive skin, buy a wash like aveeno or another brand specifically designed for your baby's needs. the baby wash doesn't need to be fancy...just needs to get the job done. you really don't need to break the bank buying something over the top to wash your baby with. save your money, buy something inexpensive to wash them with and then get them a cute outfit with all the money you save...or better yet, save up for some fabulous portraits of your newborn.
Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, 15-Ounce Package (Pack of 6)

hooded towel - hooded towels are a life saver. newborns don't generally enjoy being pulled from the warm water of a bath into the stark freezing air outside the water. a hooded towel gets your baby's head covered and they are instantly warmer. i always left my baby wrapped up as much as possible while i got the diaper on and applied the baby lotion. for convenience and for a happy baby, you'll be glad you have one or four of these. i will say that you'll want a few of these. anytime your baby is naked for any amount of time, they will pee. it's just inevitable. it may not happen every time or even every week but it will happen. having an extra towel or two will keep you from going crazy...or staying up until midnight to get one washed. if you have a baby who spits up. you'll also end up with baby vomit on your towels. work to preserve your sanity and have a couple of extra on hand. you'll be glad you do.
Trend Lab Dr Seuss ABC Hooded Towel

baby lotion - maybe this is a luxury, maybe not. everything i've read says that any contact you have, skin to skin with your baby helps to foster the mommy-baby bond (or the daddy-baby bond). a little baby massage after bath time with some baby lotion is a great moment for both the parent and the baby. there is also something very soothing to a newborn about having lotion rubbed on their little bodies. this combined with the relaxing scents that accompany baby lotion and you have just established part of a night-time routine. anything extra that signals "night-time" to your baby will help to establish good sleep habits...and one bottle of lotion lasts forever. it's worth a couple of dollars and you will end up loving those moments with your baby.
Johnsons Baby Bedtime Lotion - 15 oz

infant to toddler bath-time:
as your baby grows, he or she will eventually be ready to move to a full sized bath-tub. this is really up to the comfort level and preference of each parent. my babies were long so tended to outgrow the newborn tub rather quickly. they loved being able to splash around and kick in the big bathtub as soon as i would let them. here's what i found helpful as my babies grew.

a bath sponge or a bath support - babies do love to lay down and kick in a couple of inches of water but the bathtub can be pretty hard on their little heads. there are great bathtub supports for babies that keep their heads cushioned and out of water while letting their legs dangle and splash away. my babies loved these.
Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge
toys - bath-time always became another playtime for my kiddos. it still is. my kids love to take baths. toys help to foster this fun time for your baby. buy some simple play things that your baby can pick up and chew on in the tub. they'll think the toys along with your undivided bath-time attention are the greatest parts of the day.

Sassy Bathtime Pals Squirt and Float Toys
Munchkin Snail Stacker Bath Toy
Green Toys My First Red Tug Boat
toy storage - toy storage becomes important. if toys don't dry out, they will start to mold and mildew. a toy storage container where toys can drip-dry between baths is key. some people love the frog pod (chach does and has never had any problems with hers); mine never stuck to the bathtub. pretty much anything with a suction cup or a sticky eventually fell to the floor. still, some type of storage is helpful. i found a bath shelf to house a bunch of toys and a bath bag that i could hang over the faucet worked best for me. anything that houses toys will work and you may have to try a few to find one that works in your situation. besides letting toys dry, if you share a bath with your baby, it will also keep you from having to step around toys on those rare occasions you actually get to bathe yourself.
bath seat - as your baby gets more and more stable and mobile, you'll want a bath seat. these suction to the bottom of the bathtub and allow your baby to sit upright in a tub and easily reach for their bathtub toys. this makes bath-time more enjoyable for you and baby as they grow.
Dreambaby Deluxe Bath Seat
bucket or water pitcher - you need something to pour over your baby's head to rinse them off. a bucket, a large cup or a little water pitcher helps get baby rinsed off in one quick motion.
Safety 1st No Tears Rinse Cup
tubside kneeler/stool - this isn't a necessity but it is helpful. you as the parent will end up spending most of bath-time on your knees bending over a bathtub. this can be super uncomfortable. a bath mat or a little stool can make the time much easier on your body and much more enjoyable in the long run. you know the saying, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." this holds true for bath-time too. i've learned there's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself...you'll enjoy parenting so much more if you do.
that's it! is there anything else we missed? i know there are tons of other products out there, little duckies that say "hot" or "cold" on the bottom (when did our hands become insensitive to temperatures?), little visors you can put on your kids to keep water out of their eyes (i always make my kids close their eyes...they learn that skill early on), or a complete blow up bathtub that you can put inside a regular bathtub (really...it's just a regular bathtub in miniature. if they can sit up in the small one, they can sit up in the big one) and other items that are pushed on new, unsuspecting parents. if you happen to love those items, by all means, use what works for you. i tend to buy less and then have less to donate to charity later. regardless, every parent is different and every baby has his or her own unique needs. start with the basics and then discover what else can help you on the parenting journey.