Bathing a baby can be a very complicated task for new moms. Holding the baby correctly, preparing the tub, getting the water temperature right, and putting the baby into the water without crying can be hard to handle. It may seem easy at first glance but it can quickly change into a very stressful activity. Manufacturers of baby tubs have created something new – a special baby-bathing bucket that helps get through bathing time without tears.
Just like in mom’s belly
The difference between a regular baby bathing tub and this special bucket is the way we put the baby into the water. In a bathing tub, the baby is lowered into the water in a more or less horizontal position, while the bucket allows us to lower the baby into the water in a vertical position. This may not seem like an important change but the horizontal position is still new and foreign to a newborn baby and babies tend to cry when exposed to foreign stimuli. Bathing the baby in a vertical position imitates the position of the baby inside of the womb. The bucket is narrow enough to allow the baby to touch and feel its sides, which is a big advantage. The bathing bucket is the invention of Dutch pediatricians who tried to find a way to help babies transition from the safety of mom’s belly into a new environment. Judging from the feedback they got from new moms, we can say that they’ve succeeded.
Just for babies
The bathing bucket is meant for babies up to 6 months of age, though some manufacturers move this age limit up to 1 year. The bucket is very good for premature babies and babies suffering from colic. Of course, every baby is different and it’s entirely possible that your baby will prefer a tub. In that case, you shouldn’t force them to bathe in a bucket.
Mom Lenka moved to the bathing bucket gradually. The first time, she bathed her baby in the washbasin, which went entirely without any tears. The second time, they tried a bathing tub – a quality tub with a foam underlay. Little Gabi didn’t want to get anywhere near the tub and had a fit of hysterical crying. Lenka didn’t give up, however, and decided to try a bathing bucket. Gabi fell in love with it from the first moment and Lenka used it for 3 months.
“After the three months, Gabi began protesting against the bucket. She would use her feet to try and stay out of the water and she was angry when we tried to put her in. We decided to try the bathing tub again and this time, it was great. Gabi loved it. She splashed around in the water and enjoyed her bath. This taught me that a baby has to naturally get to a point where they enjoy bathing in a tub,” Lenka says.
Other moms agree with Lenka on this. Monika, the mom of one-year-old Samko says that she moved from bucket to tub when Samko was almost 6 months old. At that age, children are very lively and noticed their environment. Samko played with his toys and enjoyed the water. He wasn’t stressed at all.
No two buckets are alike
You might think that buying a special bucket just for bathing is a waste of money and that you can just use any bucket you have lying around if it’s the right size. This is a mistake. Bathing buckets have an anti-slide mat and their shape copies the shape of a baby’s body. Quality buckets are made out of safe materials, so you can stay calm even if your baby tries to take a bite out of it.
How do we use it?
Bathing in a bucket is easy. It’s important to have enough water. We put the baby into the bucket slowly, holding them in the ‘tiger’ position – the baby is resting on your forearm on their belly. If you’re holding a newborn like this, be careful to always support their head. In the bucket, the baby should be in a ‘ball’ position – curled up to imitating the position inside of the womb. The water should reach up to around the baby’s shoulders. If the baby can sit on the bottom of the bucket, add more water. The baby should always float, rather than sitting or standing. If the water you add is not enough, the bucket may be too small for your baby.
Experts agree on one thing – there is no single correct way to bathe a baby. They all like something else. If your baby is happy in the washbasin, tub, bucket or anything else, don’t try to forcefully change it. Remember that safety while bathing must always come first.