Bath Time Help: Easing the Transition to the "Big Kid" Bathtub

There comes a point in every growing baby's life when, alas, the infant tub becomes too small. While some babies take to the "big kid" tub immediately, many have a hard time making the transition.

How do you make the move easier for baby? Try these parent-approved strategies:

  • To familiarize baby with the new environment, place your infant tub inside the full-size tub during baths for a week or two.
  • One of the best investments you can make is an inflatable tub insert. This fits inside your bathtub, creating a soft, secure mini-tub for baby.
  • Fill the tub with water before placing baby in it. To a noise-sensitive child, running water can sound like Niagara Falls.
  • Make sure the water temperature is perfect. Always test it beforehand by immersing your hand up to your wrist. Or, dip your elbow in the water instead. (Don't rely on your fingers and palms, which are not as temperature-sensitive.)
  • Baby-proof your tub. A soft spout cover and slip-proof bath mat help prevent accidents—and your child will use them for years
  • Make bath time fun, with intriguing, age-appropriate water toys.
  • If baby is afraid, try joining her in the tub for a while. Many babies can relax and enjoy themselves if mom or dad is there.
  • Give baby some positive experiences with water—out of the bathtub. Fill a dishpan with water and "bathe" some of baby's toys.
  • Baby can't relax if you can't relax. Get yourself a good tubsider seat or kneeler, so you can supervise comfortably. (Of course, never take your eyes off baby...even for a nanosecond.)

If baby continues to be afraid, don't force the issue. Continue using the infant tub or sponge bathing for a week or two before trying again. With a little time, almost all babies learn to love bath-time.

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