PARENTS

The Newborn Diaries: Bathtime With Baby

30/03/2011 11:19 | Updated 22 May 2015

Diana's moving up in the world: Not only has she moved into the big girl bed, but she's also in the big girl bath now, too!

Before the big move to the official bath of the house (also used to hose Bolshy the bulldog down once every couple of weeks, usually after an unfortunate peeing on himself/stepping in poo incident), Diana used to get bathed in a bucket.

I kid you not.

Highly recommended by our NCT teacher, the bucket – known formally as the Tummy Tub – is a clear plastic bucket that's purported to be the best bathing tub for infants (meant to simulate the experience of being in the womb for babies). You just fill up the water to a certain level, plop the babe in, and wash them.

Even though the Tummy Tub looks like your average, ordinary bucket, it costs an extortionate £20 (yes, it was a totally ridiculous, extravagant purchase but new parents will fall for anything. I say this as a veteran with seven months' experience under my belt).

I also say this because even though I have been known to make ridiculous purchases in my time, the bucket was purchased at the insistence of baby D's father, so this is all on him.

Because the thing was such an overpriced rip-off, I determined to use it much as possible. So it was unfortunate when the midwife told us not to bother bathing Diana for the first few weeks.

In the beginning, the bucket wasn't a bad (if infrequent) option. Baby D had plenty of room to sit and move around, and seemed to enjoy the experience. Also, I felt safer with the bucket than I would have putting her in the real bath.

As with everything else on my parenting adventure, even as the baths increasingly became regular, I failed to integrate them into any kind of schedule or routine, like all of the sensible mums I know. Smart mums calmly bathe their babies before bedtime so the infant starts to associate bathtime with sleep.

Mums who don't think ahead give their baby baths at completely arbitrary times (still, I'm embarrassed to say), so baby has no idea why they are being plopped in the water in the middle of the night one day and randomly post-breakfast the next. In our case, baby D usually ends up in the tub after a particularly big poo or projectile vomiting session (Yes, that's started happening. How I miss the days of spit-up in my mouth - now it's all over me).

Lately however, the bucket has become precarious, to say the least. Diana's growing size means that she's been wedged in the bucket in a sort of L-shape, standing up and leaning over. So if she tries to flail or move too abruptly - as a baby, her current goal in life is to grab everything in sight - she's at risk of knocking the bucket, with herself in it, over.

She's also too big to sit in the thing at this point, and I think baths are supposed to be relaxing (at least for the person getting bathed). Standing squished in a bucket is probably not that calming for baby D, which is why I decided to move her into the real tub. And now that she can sit up, it's actually quite an enjoyable (as opposed to terrifying) experience for both of us.

She splashes around, giggles and is fascinated by all surrounding objects – who knew a sponge could provide so much excitement? Next stop: Bath toys!

As for the Tummy Tub, aka bucket, all isn't lost. It doubles as an excellent at-home foot spa, for those rare moments when mum can give herself a pedicure.

For more musings on new motherhood, follow me on Twitter @JenBNYC.

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