Help! How do I manage bath time with a newborn and a toddler?
Answer by Sophie White. A Norland Nanny and founder of Raise Workshops - New parent support workshops.
Bath time with a newborn and a toddler can be a daunting task. However if we break it down into sections then we can make it much more manageable and enjoyable!
Firstly gather all you will need for after bath. Towels, massage oil/moisturiser, pyjamas and nappies and place in the bathroom within arms reach. Depending on your baby, you could offer a small feed before bath time. Babies are getting tired by this point of the day and sometimes need a little milk to keep them calm and content during bath time.
Place your baby on a soft change mat or a folded towel on the floor by the bath and start running the bath. Close the bathroom door to keep your toddler in the bathroom with you.
Undress your toddler and pop them in the bath, then undress your baby and place them in the bath. There are some helpful bath seats out there that will save your arm, for example I find the Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support a good one.
Place a wet flannel on your babies tummy to keep them warm. Wash your baby - for the first few weeks your baby only needs water when being washed as a newborns skin is much more sensitive than ours. When you want to start using soap, something like Child's Farm body wash is a good choice.
Keep bath time short and sweet for a while. Take your baby out of the bath first and wrap them in a towel. If your toddler is still happy in the bath, let them play whilst you dry your baby on the mat you placed by the bath earlier and if you have time you can give your baby a little massage now. Again no need for massage oil until your baby is 6 weeks old. Pop a nappy on and their pyjamas and then leave them to have a little kick on the mat.
Now time to wash your toddler, get them out, dried and dressed into pyjamas.
Playing some relaxing music at this time can help keep a calm environment.
Have some books and quiet toys laid out for your toddler in their room or yours and offer your baby a longer feed or the rest of their bottle.
If it all goes Pete Tong, don’t panic. Always take your baby out of the bath first and place them on the mat/towel by the bath. You can then take your toddler out. If your toddler needs to be dressed first (because sometimes they just cant wait!) then wrap your baby in their towel to keep warm. If both are crying, try and sort your toddler first as often they can be calmed quicker and then you can quickly go back to calm your baby.
If your toddler refuses bath time with baby in tow, fill a baby bath using your shower hose and place it next to the bath and pop your toddler in the main bath first and then undress baby and place them in the baby bath. If you need to get your toddler out or anything, always remember to take your baby out of their bath first.