Bath Time for the Older Baby
Just as you've mastered the newborn bathing routine, you realize your baby is outgrowing the infant tub. When your baby can sit alone, it's time for her to graduate to the big tub, and time for you to tackle the challenges of bathing an older baby.
Place a non-slip mat in the bathtub for your baby to sit on and a cover over the faucet to prevent injury if he bumps his head. Start with a few inches of warm water until he is used to the big tub. Keep bath supplies within arm's reach. Never leave a baby in the bathtub alone, even for a second. Stay close to your baby so you will be there to catch him if he slips or falls over.
If your baby is reluctant to try the big tub, bring her infant tub into the big tub and fill both with water. The first time you bathe her like this, don't mention the big tub. She may surprise you and become curious on her own. Next time, you can show her how to sit in the infant tub and splash the water and play with toys in the big tub. You can also take a bath with your baby to get her used to the big tub. Never push her to bathe in the big tub before she is ready. If your baby doesn't enjoy baths, bring a doll into the tub with her. Teach your baby to wash her doll and narrate the process, making sure to mention how much the doll loves bathing.
When your baby is bathing in the big tub, he's ready for some real bath time fun! Introduce new bath toys, such as rubber duckies and floating bath books. As you soap and shampoo your baby, take a handful of suds and blow them out of your hands. Name body parts as you wash them and make up silly bath songs to encourage fun and learning. Play “Clappy, Clappy, Splashy, Splashy” and encourage your child to clap and splash. Remember, although most babies love splashing in the tub, few enjoy being splashed. If he likes to put his face in the water, teach him to blow bubbles. Plastic cups are fun to fill with water and then dump out. They also come in handy when it's time to rinse the shampoo out of your baby's hair, which can be a tricky feat now that he can sit and resist. To prevent the shampoo from going into his eyes, have him look up at the ceiling as you pour water over his head.
Never let your child stand in the bathtub. As soon as she is sitting alone, discourage future standing by telling her “Good sitting! We always sit in the bathtub.” If she eventually starts to stand, gently tell her “No standing in the bathtub,” and carefully help her sit down. If the standing persists, take her out of the tub.
As a baby starts eating solids and crawling, she will probably need to be bathed more often. There's no steadfast rule for washing older babies – just wash her when she's dirty. Daily washing can dry out her delicate skin. As your baby begins to play in the bath, bath time may be more stimulating than relaxing. If you find this to be the case with your baby, bathe her at least 90 minutes before bedtime so she has enough time to wind down before going to sleep.