Begin in the Bath

Baby and Caregiver Bath: As soon your baby had some torso and upper body strength (usually 4 to 5 months for full-term babies), and you are ready to make the change, baby can graduate to the adult bathtub with a few inches of water in it. Always sit in the tub with baby, providing constant contact to keep baby’s body upright. Encourage splashing, playing with the water, and positive reactions to water on the skin and face. Use a washcloth dipped in water and pressed over the shoulders and back to keep the upper body warm, as there will not be sufficient depth to the water to cover the back when baby is sitting. Also bring a plastic cup with you that can be filled with water and poured – for baby to play with or to pour water over the hair (tilt the head back gently by having baby lean back as you sit behind baby, to reduce the amount that gets in baby’s eyes).

Caregiver Moving Outside the Tub: As soon as baby can (1) crawl reliably and pull his/herself to standing, (2)show careful movement, and is (3) comfortable in bath water, you can sit outside the tub during bath time. Continue to keep the tub level low. Now baby will crawl or scoot around, play further, splash, and explore the tap. Inflatable protection can be placed over the tap and faucet handles, as can caregiver hands (never leave baby unattended).

Bath Precautions: It should be noted that bath water should be warm, not hot. The bathtub floor should have a non-slip surface; suction-cup rubber mats or tub grip stickers can be used.


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