37 answers

Bathing a Baby in the Shower Without a Tub

This is a question I have for down the road a bit, but I thought I'd gather ideas now... Currently, my husband and I bathe our baby once a week in a baby tub on the kitchen counter with "spot cleanings" the rest of the time. Once he starts crawling, eating solids, etc. he'll need full baths more often, but we live in an apartment with only a shower stall and no bathtub. The set up in the kitchen requires a bit of time and effort, including getting all the dirty dishes taken care of, so trying to do this every night seems like too great a challenge. The bathroom is small and has a weird layout so there isn't really a lot of space to put the baby tub we have anywhere but in the shower itself. Has anyone had the same problem to solve? I could just put the tub in the shower and sit on a low stepstool myself but I was wondering if anyone had other ideas. I found a couple of websites that have baby carriers that are designed to get wet-- has anyone used one of these? We aren't planning on moving anytime soon!

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Personally I think this has an easy and cheap solution. You need nothing more than large dishpan, rubbermaid bin or basin of some sort. You can put a foam liner in it if you want. Put it in the bottom of the shower and fill it using the shower. Wash as baby as usual - rinse with a cup and/ or the washcloth. You can use the bathwater or just get water from the sink for rinsing. Older babies that can sit up are too big for their baby tubs and also hate to have water on their face. We use a cabin that has only a shower stall and we still bathe my 3 yr old this way when we are there.

My husband used to take the boys in the shower with him and just hold them. He'd hold them and get them wet then I'd shampoo their hair from outside the shower and we'd scrub them down tag team style. Dad would rinse them off and hand them out to me. Very effective, quick and they both loved it. By the time they were too big to be held they could stand on their own and they'd just climb in with dad - more less the same routine. Good luck!

Hi,

We didn't have this problem, but sometimes I would give my daughter to dad while he took his shower and when he was done washing her, I was standing there with a towel. I did this on days that I needed to be quick and it was fast and a lot easier than pulling the bathing stuff out.

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Hi,

We didn't have this problem, but sometimes I would give my daughter to dad while he took his shower and when he was done washing her, I was standing there with a towel. I did this on days that I needed to be quick and it was fast and a lot easier than pulling the bathing stuff out.

Not to be harsh but I find it somewhat disturbing that you arent bathing the baby every night. There is nothing sweeter than that clean baby smell. Bathtime is a chore the first 6 mos or so, but well worth the result. The ritual of a warm bath before bed (whether needed or not) is the most helpful tool for winding down the baby and beginning the "time to go night night" process.
The kitchen sink was the best place to bathe newborns since you can stand and reach everything right there on the counter top. I just threw a hand towel in the bottom of the sink to stop the slippage. When they are too young to sit and play you just wash them up and get it over with, sort of like cleaning your turkey for thanksgiving.
Advancing to the shower should be easy enough when he's old enough to sit without toppling over, and is a good way to get them used to water in the face so you don't have to battle that annoyance later.

We have a tub, which makes it easier, but my son has always been happy to take showers. Start him early, and turn the spray against the wall or away from his face. I used to hold my son in the standup shower when he was a baby because having a toddler who will shower can make your life MUCH easier.
I think you can teach him to use the shower, however it will mean that you have to be in/near every second and may end up wet.
good luck!

When my daughter was born we lived in a small apartment and I always set up her tub on the floor in the livingroom with towels laid out under it.

Dear P.,
I had a bath tub but I liked to give my kids showers even when they were small. I bought a yellow foam pad, that was shaped so you could lay the baby down on it. Then with the hand held shower head I had a soft sprinkle and "showered" our babies that way. They liked it. Once they were bigger I used the hand held shower head to give them a shower while they stood. I would buy several things: 1) hand held shower head. (I think most shower heads from the top can be changed.), 2) yellow foam bath mat/pad (if I remember correctly I bought it at babies Rus), 3) non-slip dots or mat when the child is older. I hope this helps. Good luck. A.

You might want to consider the inflatable tub. We transitioned our son at 9 mos till he reached the 25 lb max to the inflat tub and it was not as scary in a big regular tub. It's about 2/3 the reg tub size but fits snuggly. I bought the babies r us brand one for $13 and it was so worth it, still in good shape to use for my second baby soon. We've used it in shower stall while away at grandparents and he felt comfortable since it was his from home. And easy to deflate for travelling also!

Even though we have a bathtub, we still use the baby tub within the larger bath tub. I find that it saves water and 'confines' the space a bit so everything isn't everywhere. I sit on a low stool in the bath tub to bathe him while he's in the baby tub. (Or sometimes I'll just kneel from outside the large bath tub) I gather that when he's older (and can stand), you could probably just shower him (as i remember my parents doing for us when we were kids).

I just gave each of my boys a bath in our kitchen sink when they were that age :O) I just didn't have the energy to keep running upstairs for things like that :O) So, I bought one of those BIG sponge pads made for babies bathing, and I put it in the "sink tub" to sit on & lean up against instead of the cold sink. It also prevented their little butts from slipping like crazy. And, I turned their back from the faucet.....for obvious "curosity" reasons :O)

Around 10-12 months, we had to "graduate" because they get too busy to sit still long enough, and I felt it was time to move on....

Getting in the shower was really fun, just VERY slippery!

Is the floor of your shower stall deep enough to hold a small bath? You can always try to plug it up for a bath ;O) Or, you can buy a "tub" of some kind that can be used IN your shower to be a "bath tub"????

That's all I can offer :O) ~N. :O)

Hi P.-
We had the exact same issue. Ikea has a blue baby bathtub that is perfect for older babies/toddlers and we've used that for the past year or so (our son is almost 2 already!) We do still put away most of our dishes, etc., but then we put it up on the kitchen counter and go to it! It has worked out pretty well so far, but you are right, it is a bit of a pain to clean up the dishes, etc. before bathtime. Good luck!

Hi P.,

When our children started needing a more frequent bath, we would shower with them. I would get in the shower to take my shower, my husband would hand me the baby, I would wash the baby, hand the baby back out, and get on with my shower. This was very efficient for our small space.

D.

Hi P.-
Plenty of moms have this same issue. Take a shower with your child. YOu are going to get wet anyway, so why not. The both of you get clean and it's bonding time. For even further down the road, when he starts to get bigger, walking, etc., have daddy shower with him. He will notice that he and dad have the same parts and make up and can ask all the super fun guy questions. It's perfectly natural and normal for you to bathe and bathe with your little one until all they need is a small bit of supervision.

I used to just take a shower with the little ones when I was too lazy to fill the tub. It worked just fine. And once they can sit up, you can set them on the floor of the shower to play while you wash them up. Filling the baby tub up in the bottom of the shower until he is too big is also a good idea :).

My son is 1 1/2 and he loves the shower. We started him in nightly bathes which is a hassle but I think it will pay off because your child will have a love for water. We did not baby him too much. When it came time to rinsing out shampoo we let the water run down his face. As he got older and moving into the big tub we made sure that he got splashed with water and that there was no fear of having water on his face. Once he was walking he would walk right into the shower and we never stopped him. It speeds up bath time so much. Good luck

Dear P.,
I started putting my babies in the shower sooner than 4 months and they loved it. Either dad or I would get in the shower with them, wash them, let them feel that nice water on their backs (as long as the pressure isn't too hard for their tender skin, we had adjustable sprays), then hand them off to the "dry" parent while the one in the shower finished up. It takes a little practice, but I got to where I could even do it during the day by myself. I'd use a towel to get the baby dried off so it wouldn't be so slippery and then slip on my big terry robe and bundle us both up in it while drying. I already had the baby's clothes layed out and ready in the crib along with a towel for my hair.
If your baby gets used to the shower, the older they get, the easier it gets because they can sit up by themselves and then stand. My son's favorite toy in the shower was a cup that we used to rinse his head off. He liked filling it up and pouring it out while I finished washing myself.
I'm sure there are probably some pretty great new-fangled gizmos these days to make showering easier.
I'll be interested to see which ones are mentioned as I know of a new baby coming along soon.

Best wishes and enjoy your baby!

I used the sink with a ramp type of thing for the baby to lay on and it was great because it was safe. It was a royal pain with the dishes but I did it anyway. I'd have to clean it out, too. I can send you my "cloth on a wire ramp" type thing if you'd like. Just email me. It was a great saver. Then later I would switch to a baby tub in the bathroom on the floor and put it up when you're done. Or put the tub in the shower on the floor and get a kneeling pad. I can send you one of those too. Anything to help out a mom. : ) Later when your baby is older they have a sitting up chair for babies that goes on the shower floor. He uses that at 10 1/2 mos. old. Okay well good luck. I hope that helped . Let me know if you'd like me to send you those 2 items.

some of my friends bought a rubber laundry basket and used that...

once he sits, he can a take a shower with you or your husband, just watch for soap in his eyes when you shampoo. My boys love to shower with us, Also my friend bought a metal round tub, I think she bought it at Home Depot that fit in her shower and she would give her daughter baths in this metal tub
hope this helps

My dad would shower with the kids (as many others here have suggested) and then hand us off to my mom so he could finish his shower. We loved the closeness and actually my brother disliked bathes so this was the best way to clean him. My dad says he loved the one on one time with us (even if it was brief).

Personally I think this has an easy and cheap solution. You need nothing more than large dishpan, rubbermaid bin or basin of some sort. You can put a foam liner in it if you want. Put it in the bottom of the shower and fill it using the shower. Wash as baby as usual - rinse with a cup and/ or the washcloth. You can use the bathwater or just get water from the sink for rinsing. Older babies that can sit up are too big for their baby tubs and also hate to have water on their face. We use a cabin that has only a shower stall and we still bathe my 3 yr old this way when we are there.

A couple of suggestions for a container that you could use as a tub by setting it on the floor of your shower stall... I got a wheelbarrow liner at one of the home supply stores that we use for an activity tub at our daycare. It's about five or six inches deep and large enough for a toddler to sit comforatbly in. I also thought about one of the larger storage tubs you can buy in Target or WalMart... or other places... Most of them are a bit deep, but maybe during the holiday season you could find one of the ones designed for storing decorations that would be more shallow, and they are usually wider and longer than some of the everyday containers. You will probably want to measure the dimensions of your shower floor before going out to purchase anything, and take along your measuring tape when you go to the store to be sure whatever you get will fit.

Reese showered with me until Camden was old enough for them to bathe together. When she was little (before sitting) I would just have her sit outside of the shower in a bouncer or something (naked, with a towel underneath) and clean myself, then pull her in to get clean. Then, when she learned to sit I just brought a ton of toys in with us and plopped her down away from the spray. When I was pregnant with Cammy this was a lifesaver because my back hurt so badly it was impossible for me to bend over the tub. Once you get the hang of it it's easy as can be!

I'd recommend getting a handheld shower nozzle, that way you can get the water down closer to where your LO is (my kids are 8 and don't care for showers when the water is coming from way up at the regular nozzle and being able to get the water down closer to their level is a big plus). Maybe use something like a small rectangular concrete mixing tub if you prefer the "bath" route and use the nozzle to fill it, later on the tub can be a mini ball pit, water table, or other play item. Hardware stores sell these in various sizes for around $10, looks sorta like this although the ones I've seen all have smooth sides
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&p...

We lived in a 700 sq. foot apartment with our son until he was 10 months. We got a baby bathtub and put it either on the counter straddling the bathroom sink or when he got bigger and wigglier we put the baby tub in the bottom of the shower and bathed him that way when it was cold and in the warmer months plunked it on the dining table on top of an old beach towel to catch splashes. My brother took all 3 of his kids in the shower - but our place was 40 years old and the tile etc. looked gross so I just couldn't ever get up the nerve to try that. the tile was grey - so how can you tell if it's clean??

We had this same problem when my oldest was a baby. Once he outgrew the bath that sits in the kitchen sink I started bathing him in one of those rubbermaid tubs that you use for storage. It sounds funny but it really worked well. I would sit on the floor just outside the shower. After the bath you can put all the toys and soap in the tub, put the lid on and shove it under the bed. I used one of the shorter ones, not those super deep ones.

Greetings Pegee,
We removed all the tubs from our homewhen we remodeled as my husband was in a wheelchair.
When we redid our kitchen, I made the men crazy because I insisted I wanted a sink big enough for a 4 year old & after 3 tries the contractor and his 4 year old daughter found it!
I have the cutest mermaids & pirate that play in the sink when ever they are here at Nana's.
Children are very versitial and adapt so much easier than we give them credit for. Good Luck, Nana Glenda

Its fine to take your baby in the shower with you, I had a friend with the same situation, she would bath her baby once in a while at friends houses. You could always sit in the shower as the baby can get slippery against your skin.
Also if you don't mind cleaning the kitchen sink your baby could sit in there for a wash, easier once he can sit up.
good luck

I would get a big bucket/tub like the kind for bobbing for apples. Get a small garden hose - cut it to the size you need and get the adaptor to fit your sink. Fill the tub this way -no need to clear out sink. (we did this to fill our birthing tub).

The shower is fine to get baby clean - but baths are more soothing. He can play with toys in it and relax before bedtime. It's a great ritual to start. You won't get that same effect with a shower. Plus, the shower is a bit forceful and no one else will be able to bathe your baby this way.

hello! i'd reccomend getting one of those shower-head attachments that gives you a hand-held-on-a-hose-shower-head function so you can fill the baby tub in the shower w/out actually running the regular, over-the-head shower (which would get YOU wet, too!); it's also nice down the line for washing/rinsing a toddler w/out a bath!
best,
S.

Fyi, once he's standing it'll be easy. My son was standing alone around 10 months. He's 17 months now and always showers with dad.
I know that probably seems a long time away. Hope you get some good suggestions!

Hi P.,

I've not read any other responses so I'm sorry if I'm repeating anything. Anyway, my husband and I have taken our now 2 1/2 yr old in the shower since he was about a week old. He loves having the water coming down on top of him. When he was little I would strip him down to a diaper and put him just outside the shower in a bouncy seat (with a toy as he got older) and get in the shower myself. I would wash and then quickly get out and bring him in with me. I held him and was able to wash him just fine. No carrier or anything. Once we were finished I would wrap him up quickly in a towel, put him back in the seat and dry/dress myself before getting him dressed the rest of the way. I do recommend that if you only have a shower and that will be your option, you need to start getting him into it now. Many little ones who have not experienced the water in the shower do not like that water on top of them or in their face once they are older. Several of our friends who have "bath only" kids freak out with water on or near their faces. Good luck to you!

We have always bathed our kids in the shower! Dad is the bather...... he has taken each of ours (we have 4 ranging now in age from 11 years to 22 years) in the shower as soon as the cord fell off! The first several times, no soap is needed so no slippery baby ;) After that, he was very careful to use minimal soap and have me standing by with the towel to take the baby from him so he could finish his shower. We don't have a usable tub or a place to put a baby tub anywhere in our home.... Hope this helps!

Back in the fifties, when my brother was three and I was six, and there was no tub in our house, my parents put a small metal tub on the kitchen floor and we bathed in that. We only took baths every other night... My parents used the shower.

I bathe DD every night in her baby tub which is in our tub. I'm guessing that would be the same concept as you putting the baby tub on the floor of the shower. She plays for a bit and then I rinse her off w/ the hand held shower. We've had this daily ritual since she was about 8 weeks old and she absolutely loves this time.

We've taken showers with both our kids...held them when they were small, but they get so very slippery, so we had to be very careful. When they were able to sit up well, we just sat them in the middle of the shower with water toys, cups, etc. By this time, they had already become used to water in their face. This has worked out so well. It's so easy and so much quicker than a bath.

My husband used to take the boys in the shower with him and just hold them. He'd hold them and get them wet then I'd shampoo their hair from outside the shower and we'd scrub them down tag team style. Dad would rinse them off and hand them out to me. Very effective, quick and they both loved it. By the time they were too big to be held they could stand on their own and they'd just climb in with dad - more less the same routine. Good luck!

You could check online for one of those European baby buckets. They are narrow and deep so it wouldn't take up as much room and they are supposed to hold a baby up to three so you would get a long use from it. I cannot remember the name but I am sure if you searched online you could find it. Good luck! I too live in a small place and its so much harder to store things and have living space!

get a shower head that is removable and has a sprayer

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