Co-Bathing - Mothering Forums
1 2 
Family Safety > Co-Bathing
Jaesun's Dad's Avatar Jaesun's Dad 09:54 PM 03-09-2010
I didn't know it was officially called "co-bathing" but since the term "co-sleeping" is so common I thought I'd google it. Turns out it's a term.

Anyway so our son is now 6½ weeks old and we have mostly been bathing him sponge bath style in a little plastic baby tub we bought. He hates it! He's very good for diaper changes but really does not like being sat in that blue tub and getting wet.

So the other day I rinsed myself off a little under the shower then filled the tub a little way (a few inches) with warm water (not hot like I usually make it for just myself) with no bath salts or any of that other usual stuff. Then I had DP hand DS to me and I bathed him up that way. He loved it! I never let him go under past his shoulders (but got his hair with one hand while I held with the other) but let him "float" a little while holding him securely and he really seemed to enjoy being in the water. He was giggly and smiling and I felt like it was a good, albeit quick, time for daddy/son bonding. When he was clean I handed him back to DP and then went ahead and filled the tub with hot water, dropped in the salts and finished my bath while DP dried him off. Other safety tidbit of note: there was a soft non-skid mat in the tub so he was never over a hard porcelain surface.

We talked about this a little after, DP said she didn't trust herself to do the same (mostly as she is not as strong as I am to hold him) and we thought maybe when he is a little stronger that this might be a really bad idea. So many warnings to the effect of "your child can drown in one millimeter of water in one nanosecond" being so frightening. At the time I suggested it I thought it was under the "don't try this at home" category.

Then I googled it. Seems there's credentialed folks that actually encourage this. One Dr. Sears for example:

Originally Posted by
Here's how we have enjoyed bathing our babies. Take your baby into the bathtub with you. Get the water ready and undress yourself and baby. Hold her close to you as you get into the water and then sit back and enjoy the warm skin-to-skin contact. If your baby still protests, sit in the tub first and show her how much you are enjoying the bath. Then have someone else hand your baby to you while you are sitting in the bathtub. ... When bathing together in a tub, take special precautions to avoid slipping. While you are getting used to bathing with baby, it is safer to hand baby to another person or place her on a towel as you get out of the tub.
I really enjoyed our bathtime and DS seemed to really enjoy it too. I felt like I was able to get him cleaner than we can in his plastic baby tub and I got to listen to playful giggles instead of distressed screaming. I see many people thinking about getting their infants involved in "swimming lessons" as early as a few months of age and though most of what I find on the Internet easily that encourages this point back to Dr. Sears I at least feel comforted knowing that some experts don't think co-bathing is insanely dangerous parenting.

I still really only would feel comfortable with the DP hand off (I wouldn't want to try to get out of a tub alone holding a baby!) and I'd want to keep it as safe as possible but I think I'd like to try to do this "co-bathing" thing a little more often.

Thoughts on pros/cons/things to keep in mind?

Marsupialmom's Avatar Marsupialmom 11:51 PM 03-09-2010
There comes a point you might want to add underwear for yourself! They like to grab things that float.

Have fun enjoy bath time.
lifeguard's Avatar lifeguard 11:51 PM 03-09-2010
Ds only had 2 baths in the little plastic tub. When he was really little we would always do the hand off thing 'cause it was so much easier to do that but it wasn't too long before I was able to get in & out of the tub with him alone. Works great for us & he's always been much happier than in that silly little tub.
Honey693's Avatar Honey693 12:09 AM 03-10-2010
DD always showered or took a bath with me. We tried using the baby tub once or twice and it was such a hassle. Taking her in the tub or shower (I sat down when I had her) was a lot easier on both of us and DH would dry her off for me.
HeliMom's Avatar HeliMom 12:12 AM 03-10-2010
we have DD in the tub with us and wouldn't have it any other way.
KristyDi's Avatar KristyDi 12:18 AM 03-10-2010
DD and I had baths together all the time when she was an infant and we still shower together. I really cherish those memories. In fact on of my favorite pictures of dd comes from one of those baths.

I always filled the tun as usual (but with slightly cooler water). DD also had some problems with eczema and adding oatmeal to the bath (tied up in the toe of old pantyhose) really seemed to soothe her skin.

I was frequently alone when dd and I wanted to bathe so I had to figure out how to get in and out safely without someone to hand her to. I figured out that if I stacked a couple of folded towels in a laundry basket (not always empty) and put it close to the tub then I could lay dd in there and wrap one towel around her to keep her warm then I could get out without worrying about dropping the wet slippery baby.
alegna's Avatar alegna 12:23 AM 03-10-2010
As infants any other way is WAY too much trouble

mommy212's Avatar mommy212 12:31 AM 03-10-2010
I have recently tried this with my 4 month old son, and he loves it! I can do it when he's in a bad mood and he will be calm and happy, and he sleeps like an angel afterward. But I was also wondering (not that I think this time comes up anytime soon) but how old is it still appropriate to take baths with your opposite-gender child?

As a side note, one time I made the water too hot to put him all the way in but I dunked him once or twice to the shoulders and then laid him on my chest above the water so he wouldn't overheat. Worked like a charm instead of draining and refilling the bath.
sweetpeppers's Avatar sweetpeppers 12:34 AM 03-10-2010
I did the baby bathtub thing once or twice as he screamed and screamed, then I took a bath with him and he nursed and loved it. I think it's the only way to go. Very relaxing for me too.
PNCTink's Avatar PNCTink 01:00 AM 03-10-2010
Both of our DC much preferred bathing with me and DH than the blue tub so we stuck with it. It also seemed more natural.
SeekingJoy's Avatar SeekingJoy 01:09 AM 03-10-2010
We bathed or showered with our little ones from shortly after birth on. It still happens several times a week.
MamaChicken's Avatar MamaChicken 01:13 AM 03-10-2010
Never bathed a baby any other way.

And this morning I had a shower with two 17 month olds and a not-quite-3 year old. Fun stuff!
To-Fu's Avatar To-Fu 01:16 AM 03-10-2010
I've also never done it any other way. You can fill the tub up as much as you want, even. The temperature is the thing to watch. My son loved floating and feeling the water all around him. I think it must have been womb-like!
jrabbit's Avatar jrabbit 01:26 AM 03-10-2010
Zoe's 14 months old now - she let us know early on that baths, even with ME were unacceptable. River, water park, pool, shower - all ok. Bath - NO WAY.

At some point, we began handing-off into the shower, so I'd hold her, wash her, then give her back to DH. she loved it! NOW, I have a no-slip-pad on the floor of the tub. She sits/stands/whatever while I shower. What's particularly amusing is her newest habit: she will stand in front of me, leaning on me just about - if I turn around in the shower, she will turn around, too - she must face the same way as I do. when we get into the shower, she wants to hold a mini-shampoo-bottle in each hand. I will plug the drain to give her water to play in, but she prefers to just stand there with me. She seems to think that showering is just "standing in the water". It's adorable!

but, on-topic - I have always preferred to bathe with my babies. Much easier that way - and fun, too.

Peppermint Poppies's Avatar Peppermint Poppies 01:31 AM 03-10-2010
We've bathed both our kids this way. We usually do a hand-off to the other person, to avoid getting out of the bath holding the baby, but if that's not possible, we put a pile of towels on the bouncer beside the bath and place the baby there before getting out.
Katie T's Avatar Katie T 02:04 AM 03-10-2010
[QUOTE=KristyDi;15165887]DD and I had baths together all the time when she was an infant and we still shower together. I really cherish those memories. In fact on of my favorite pictures of dd comes from one of those baths.

That is a adorable picture!
major_mama11's Avatar major_mama11 07:25 AM 03-10-2010
I have bathed with DD since she was 6 weeks old, and we still bathe together most nights now that she's 4. DS I rarely bathe with, because he's just too acrobatic and he tends to be more careful when there's no one sitting in the tub with him.
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 09:17 AM 03-10-2010
Our kids have bathed with us since they were born until they were around 3, dh loved bathing with them both!
justKate's Avatar justKate 12:38 PM 03-10-2010
Yep! DD bathed with me for all of her baths (except the poopsplosions) for her first year. In the last few weeks she has started to find my presence in the bath more annoying than fun, but it was good while it lasted.
RheaSilva's Avatar RheaSilva 01:47 PM 03-10-2010
Co-bathing is an awesome idea if he enjoys it. Afterall, baths are a necessity so they may as well be enjoyable!

OP, your son is so adorable!!
MJB's Avatar MJB 02:07 PM 03-10-2010
Both my babies bathed with me most of the time as babies. My second son stopped sooner because he liked taking baths with his big brother once he was able to sit up and play. I plan to bathe with #3, too, at least until she's old enough to hop in with a big brother or two.
Jaesun's Dad's Avatar Jaesun's Dad 03:45 PM 03-10-2010
Thanks everyone for the encouragement and stories. I guess it's unanimous here 20 thumbs up or so and no thumbs down :-)
LionessMom's Avatar LionessMom 04:14 PM 03-10-2010
i will add another thumbs up for bathing together. my DH is always at work when i want to shower. lol. so i always just took her in with me. as a NB she would sit in a seat outside and watch. then when DD1 was big enough to move her face away etc she joined me by sitting in a little bath seat. loves to shower with me. it is the only way i can get DD1's head wet. our tub isnt big enough for us both, but the shower now accomodates me, DD1 sitting and DD2 in a little seat. i plug the drain so it fills up enough to keep them warm. i get out first to get a towel. then DD1, then DD2. then we all go to our room to dry off and get dressed. it seems like alot of work but i love doing it together. i really wish we had a bigger bathtub lol.
snoopy5386's Avatar snoopy5386 04:54 PM 03-10-2010
DH showered with DD almost exclusively until she was 14 months or so. She started taking baths at that time for the play with toys factor. Suddenly at almost 4 she wants to shower with us again.

I was never comfortable with it as an infant, she was too slippery for me, but DH has lots of chest hair that makes him more "grippy" I think.
He'd line her bouncy seat with a towel and put her in that (in just her diaper), bathe himself, pick her up, bathe her, put her back in the bouncy and wrap her up and then get out and dry himself off. Then they both got dressed.
FREEmom1120's Avatar FREEmom1120 05:00 PM 03-10-2010
This is the only way we do it. dd1 is old enough to be in the bath by herself now (with us in the bathroom), but dd2, not so much. So I get in with both of them. I can bathe them, bathe myself, wash my face and my hair. We have lots of fun.
meemee's Avatar meemee 05:05 PM 03-10-2010
my then dh and 4 week old dd have taken baths together. or rather showers. she is 7 now and she and i still take showers together. her dad now has a v. small shower so they cant.

not once has she slipped or have we dropped her.

if you feel confident go ahead and do it.

i still love cobathing with dd.
TopHat's Avatar TopHat 05:22 PM 03-10-2010
We have always showered with our DD. When she was a newborn, I would take a shower then DH would pass her off to me to get her a little wet. I do No Poo so we don't use soap or shampoo on her- and at that age it was just about getting her a little wet. As she got bigger and could sit up, she sat in the tub while we showered. She is 23 months and still sits and plays in the tub when one of us is showering. DH is comfortable with it as long as she's still too short to "bump into him". When she gains those few extra inches, she'll probably just stick to showering with me.
aidanraynesmom's Avatar aidanraynesmom 05:33 PM 03-10-2010
Since the night his cord stump fell off! I couldn't wait for it to go so we could hop in!

Ds is 5 now and I think he's bathed twice alone. I loved that time. Being a military wife I needed to to get a bath myself. I eventually learned, at around 4 months, how to hold him on my lap with my knees up to wash my hair. I plan on doing the same with number 2.

We've never had a baby tub, and sometimes forget that other people do it any other way.

I always just laid him on a towel, dried myself and then dried and dressed him. Or, while at my parents' my mom would come in and lay him on a towel and dress and diaper him. Dh when home would come take him from me. We would stay in there for hours!
~Charlie's~Angel~'s Avatar ~Charlie's~Angel~ 05:42 PM 03-10-2010
Not only have we both co-bathed with our sons, but we both co-shower as well. Sometimes, its the only way mama can get one if its a weekend and Dada had to work overtime. Jump in with both kids and they think its a party.
Laur318's Avatar Laur318 05:43 PM 03-10-2010
it's safe if you feel safe. if something feels off, it probably is. like the way you mentioned handing the baby to someone else. good thinking. i did this when i had a new baby too. it was pretty much the most helpful thing my dh did to help with the newborn, really.

i still have to bathe with my son. he is in a bath time protest at 11 months though, and even this isnt helping much now. he wants to stand up and cling on. ugh.
1 2