Fun fact no one shares with you before you have a baby: most newborns are not fans of getting clean. And, because you aren’t able to fully submerse a baby in water until the umbilical cord has fallen off and their belly button has healed, there’s a fun few weeks where you need to give them sponge baths while simultaneously not letting the rest of their body get cold. All while baby cries hysterically because babies. The silver lining: babies don’t need to be bathed every day. (Phew!)
But with the right baby bathtub, bathtime can be less stressful for everyone. First you have to decide where you plan to bathe baby: The kitchen sink? The tub? A shower? Then decide whether you’re cool getting a tub that’s really just for the newborn stage and getting another tub as they grow, or if you’d rather be one and done. Also consider your storage space (or lack thereof). Some of these tubs can hang from a hook, while others will need to dry in the tub itself. Our recommendation: do whatever keeps bathtime easy for now.
Here are our picks for baby’s first splash sessions:
BEST FOR SINK BATHS
If you plan to bathe baby in the sink, you won’t find a cushier option than this adorable blue whale bather. It’s nice and soft to protect baby from hard edges while the mesh in the middle allows water to easily drain away from baby’s body and the velcro loop makes it easy to hang to dry. The bather is machine washable. We’d recommend this if you know the bather will dry between baths. If you live in a humid climate, you might want to use something more like the PUJ below.
BEST FOR TRAVEL
This simple, no frills tub can certainly work well as your go-to at home, but it really shines on the road. It’s compact, foldable and is made of a non-absorbent material so it dries quickly. It won’t work in a tub, but it’s perfect for most sinks. After bathtime, simply hang from the center hole, dry, and repack in your suitcase to head home.
BEST FOR GROWING WITH YOUR BABY
If you’re looking to buy one tub and be done, The First Years tub is perfect as it accommodates newborns through 25-pound toddlers. The detachable sling provides the right amount of support and safety for your newborn. As baby gets bigger, you can remove the sling and place baby directly in the tub using the end that reclines. Once your baby is confidently sitting on their own, they can move to the other end where they’re able to sit fully upright and play. The tub is easy to clean and the sling is machine washable. You will need a place to dry and store this tub when not in use.
BEST FOR FUSSY BABIES
If bathtime is a struggle, check out the Shnuggle. As the name implies, this bathtub is small, giving baby the feeling of being snuggled in the tub. It also supports baby in a more upright position than many bathers, which some may find more comfortable, and it ensures baby’s lower body stays warm during splash time.
BEST FOR BABIES ON THE MOVE
If you’ve got an early crawler or walker on your hands, consider buying a bath seat instead of a tub. The seat, recommended for babies from 5-10 months, keeps bath time safer, and therefore more enjoyable for everyone, by ensuring your little one stays safely seated throughout. And it means you have two hands to actually clean baby versus keeping one hand on them at all times in case they slip.
Editorial Director of MamasUncut. Currently back on the East Coast. Most days spent chasing after two young kids and our very patient rescue mutt. Learning that parenting never really gets easier it just gets … different. Love running and water views. Also all the coffee.
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