Co-bathing is gaining popularity among parents, particularly of the millennial variety. It's not a revolutionary concept, really. Basically, you hop in the tub with your baby. It's perfectly safe, and it has great benefits like relaxation for mom and baby, like skin-to-skin contact and regulating the temperature with your own body. It's not without its disadvantages, but you may find that it's the right fit for you and your child. There are sacrifices you make when you co-bathe, but they're totally worth it.
I didn't intend on co-bathing. Until my baby's umbilical cord fell off, I sponge bathed her. After that, I used a little baby bathtub and only bathed her every few days. The problem was, she absolutely hated the tub. Even when she could sit up on her own, she would cry during her bath. Eventually, I just decided to get in there with her. She was much calmer when I held her on my lap, and as time went on, she started to love bath time. She's now a toddler who bathes alone happily, but I still bring her into the big tub in Mommy and Daddy's bathroom on occasion. When we've had a particularly frustrating day, I like having that time together without distraction to wind down.
I'm a big proponent of co-bathing, but as with anything, it's not for everybody. If you can get past the following, I think you'll find it's actually quite wonderful.
Your Loss Of Privacy
I get it. You can't even pee in peace. You always have a little person following you around and wanting to peer into the toiled you're sitting on. Bathing or showering may be the only time all day when you get some damn privacy. Unless you shut yourself in the pantry for a snack and mindful breathing.
Co-bathing means your child is attached to you for a little more time that day, but it's honestly so relaxing I don't think you'll mind.
Your Lack Of Modesty
When you co-bathe, you kind of have to get comfortable with being naked (good luck wrangling a slippery baby and trying to wrap yourself in a towel). Fortunately, if your experience is like mine, the entire process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery has eliminated any semblance of modesty in you. (Not that it was ever really a virtue I personally possessed).
I understand that a lot of moms can be uncomfortable with their postpartum bodies. The great part is, however, babies aren't judgmental! And toddlers don't have the vocabulary to talk about stretch marks. Think of it as a great opportunity to practice modeling body positivity for your child.
Your "No Poop" Guarantee
It's a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that babies poop in bathtubs. My daughter has done it twice, but I wasn't in there with her either of those times (thank goodness). It was so disgusting. I mean, I deal with poop all day long, but there's something about it being where it really shouldn't that really makes my gag reflex kick in.
If you're going to co-bathe, it's just a risk you're going to have to take. I'm not too worried, honestly, and my catlike mom reflexes have saved me on numerous occasions.
Your Ability To Adequately Clean Himself
Standard bathtubs are not very big, especially when you have an adult, child, and all the miscellaneous bath time paraphernalia. There's not really room for you to wash yourself (and if you're hanging on to a newborn, it's not safe to try).
I recommend looking at this as a time for relaxation. I know your free time is in short supply, but save the scrubbing and shaving for another occasion.
Your Alone Time
Bath time for me has always meant bubble bath, candles, a book, and maybe a glass of wine. By myself. The good news is, you don't have totally sacrifice your alone time (just the wine, because I never drink when bathing with my child).
One solution I found was to run a bath for myself and have my husband bring the baby in after 10 or 15 minutes.
Your Deliciously Hot Water
I love nothing more than a scalding hot bath. Like, I want to come out red. Unfortunately, to be safe for a baby, the water should be body temperature (at most a few degrees above). That's not super pleasant for me.
Still, that's another benefit to the above suggestion: starting out with some alone time gives you the hot water you crave and time for the water to cool down enough for baby.
Your Dry Floors
Unless you have a partner to help you (and I don't at the moment), it's really hard to get yourself and your baby out of the tub and dry without creating a deluge in the bathroom.
Honestly, mopping up the floor is a decent trade-off for the joy I get while watching my stark naked toddler (is there anything cuter than a baby booty?) run away from me, dripping and squealing with glee.