Posted by: Ingrid | October 29, 2009

The futility of bathing

Babies that is.  Rest assured that I bathe on a daily basis and plan on continuing to do so.

But babies?  Especially with little ones who can’t actually go anywhere, the dirtiest part of them sees a diaper wipe 8-10 times a day.  It’s not like they’re out rolling in the mud or finger painting with their mashed sweet potatoes, right?

I wish someone had told me when I was registering that baby bath stuff is sort of a waste of time and money.  I mean, someone out there is being paid big bucks to convince us all that our two month old baby needs towels and wash cloths and a baby bathrobe embroidered with matching ducks or frogs or platypus (Platypuses? Platypi?).  Maybe this is necessary for people who have an entire bathroom devoted to that particular theme that they use exclusively for their small child, but that’s not our life.  Sure a baby spa sounds like a good idea, but do you really think that your newborn is going to enjoy hanging out in his spa for hours or that you’ll have the energy at the end of the day to hang out with him, the whole time making sure he stays in an upright position?  Let’s face it, it’s the mom that wants the spa, not the two month old.

We are still trying to get the whole bathing routine down but eleven weeks in and we really haven’t gotten very far.  Baby books try to make the whole thing sound soothing.  Try a nice bedtime routine!  Bathe your baby.  Massage him with lotion while talking to him in a low voice in dim lighting.  Put his warm pajamas on him and sing him to sleep. Right.  It’s more like:

1.  Assemble all bathing accessories: 2 towels, a clean diaper, a washcloth, wipes.

2.  Procure baby.

3.  Undress baby.

4.  Realize that you need an extra towel now that baby has peed on towel number one.

5.  Go back and get a changing pad too, just in case.

6.  Fill up baby tub making sure the water isn’t too hot.

7.  Whip diaper off and set baby in tub before any spraying ensues.

8.  Wish for a third hand so that you could actually wash the baby rather than just keep him from slipping around.

9.  Decide that his top half can get washed the next time around.

10.  Decide that washing a baby’s hair is unimportant when he’s bald.

11.  Wonder when the “bath fun” stage with splashing and toys is supposed to start.

12.  For lack of anything else to do, pick up baby and quickly wrap in towel.

13.  Change towels after the shivering baby pees on the first towel.

14.  Diaper and clothe baby.

15.  Pass out from exhaustion.

I first tried bathing Isaac with both of us in the tub.  Then I tried showering with him.  Either way one of us or both of us ended up colder than we’d like to be.  As it’s moving on towards winter I am not really a fan of being cold and wet.  The other night we opted to bathe him in the large Tupperware that the hospital sent home with us.  It was his first bathtub and I figured he would still fit.


Which was kind of true.  Sort of. Maybe we should have invested in that baby spa after all!  At least I stayed warm, which was of course, the whole goal of this bathing project.

Bathtime was then extended because there is no use for a baby bathrobe (other than to be oohed and ahhed at during baby shower) but one feels obligated to use it and take pictures, if only to embarrass your child somewhere down the road.


Note the thrilled look on his face.

So mothers-to-be out there, take note.  What do you really need to bathe a baby?  Lots of large towels (duck embroidery not required), some washcloths, and a whole lot of patience.




  1. love this post. that is the cutest picture of him the the little tub.

  2. Can he sit up yet? As soon as he can sit, this gets a lot easier – you just put him in the kitchen sink. It works until he’s about a year old and it is GREAT. With a 6 to 12 month old I can give a bath and cook dinner at the same time.

    Also, may I suggest getting the water ready BEFORE undressing the baby? Saves towels. 🙂

  3. Yeah, Teddy got bathed about once a week (if that) until he could sit up by himself in the bathtub. Now I just sit on the side of the tub and try to keep him from standing up or crawling or trying to eat the water. He enjoys it, though. 🙂

  4. I am totally laughing. We can so relate. Who ever uses a baby robe? When? Ha ha. Love the picture.

    We used the baby tub (we have a pretty cheap baby tub that they lay down in) until he was 9 months. He could sit up at 6 months, but the baby tub was so much easier! At 9 months he started in the big tub and started playing with toys.

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