One of my favorite things about having young kids is co-bathing. I know some people think it's weird or even taboo, but in my house — and in plenty of other people's houses — it's common practice. In fact, I feel pretty confident in saying that there are thoughts every mom has when she's co-bathing with her kid because, while it isn't everyone's choice during bath time, it's a pretty normal choice to make.
For the first few weeks of his life, I tried bathing my son in a small plastic thing stuck inside a large plastic mini-tub that was placed in my actual tub. I even gave the same plastic thing a try in my kitchen sink. In the end I found it weird and, to be honest, I didn't particularly like it. I felt like I couldn't get close enough to my newborn and that he was going to slip out. And rinsing his back off? Yeah, very few things made me more nervous. I could almost envision him, slippery and wet, sliding from my grip and falling to the floor or hitting his head on the side of the tub (I tend towards worst-case-scenario thinking).
It made bath time super unpleasant and not the warm, loving, bonding time I'd always heard it was supposed to be. Needless to say, I was discouraged. As a new mom I, of course, assumed I was doing something wrong and bath time became a huge source of stress and anxiety. Luckily, I stumbled on an article that suggested bathing with your baby was not only normal but healthy for all involved. Bath time was saved! After more than four years and two babies, I've realized that not only are a lot more co-bathing families out there than I previously thought, but we all think basically the same things:
"Please Don't Drown. Please Don't Drown. Please Don't Drown."
Might as well start with the most dark and twisty though, right?
The first time I ever bathed with one of my babies, I was terrified. He was still very little, 6 or 8 weeks maybe, and I just knew I would end up dropping him in the water and he would drown (an unnecessary fear, because co-bathing with your newborn, when done correctly, is completely safe). I got more and more comfortable as time passed and as he got bigger, but during those first few co-bathing sessions I was convinced something horrible was going to happen.
"Please Don't Poop. Please Don't Poop. Please Don't Poop."
Only slightly less terrifying than your baby potentially drowning is that, at any moment, your baby could poop in your bathwater. While you're in it.
When they are young it's a crap shoot (*laughsnort*) as to whether or not a floating log (or two) fill interrupt your co-bathing experience. As they get older it, thankfully, becomes less of a concern. The first time my kid pooped in the tub I moved faster than ever before and attacked the tub with every chemical I had in the house.
"Time for Second-Bath"
Co-bathing is fantastic, but it comes with an unusual set of problems. Not all soaps, shampoos, and cleansers are created equal, so what you use on yourself may not be great for baby skin. You can't really make the water as hot as you'd like if you're bathing with a little one, either.
So, I always take baths with my kids but I never bathe myself while they're in the tub. Instead, I get second-bath! I wash my hair, use my scented soaps and body washes, and get the chance to stand under hot water alone for however long I want (or more like however long I can before someone needs me for something).
"We Need A Bigger Tub"
When your baby is a tiny, adorable little newborn, space isn't much of an issue. Once they hit toddler-size, however, the standard sized tubs seem way too small.
They are the perfect size for tub snuggles, though. Just don't expect to lounge or relax much yourself.
"Please Stop Pouring Water On My Head, Kid"
Sometimes you just want to sit in a tub of warm water and relax. You don't want to play and you don't want to get splashed and you don't want to sing "Row Row Row Your Boat" for the 17th time in a row.
"OMG This Is The Best Thing Ever"
There's no denying it, co-bathing is awesome. Warm and cozy, skin-to-skin contact with your baby and great for nursing if you nurse. Honestly, it's the best thing ever.
"OMG This Is The Worst Thing Ever"
On the flip side, sometimes you just want to be alone and claim some bodily autonomy. Which can be difficult if, like me, you have a tiny bath-junkie-tyrant who demands to join you every time he hears the water running.
"Stay Little. Please, Oh Please, Stay Little."
The saddest thing about bathing with your kid is the absolute certainty that it is not going to last forever. One day your sweet baby or your joy-filled toddler will be too big to co-bathe. One day, you'll take your last bath together, and you might not even realize it was the last one.