"Holy crap. What is that? Is that smell coming from the baby, or me? I can't tell." Chances are, if you're a new parent, you've asked yourself this same question. You may be wondering, "can I take my baby in the shower with me?" Your baby is fussy, and you just want to feel what it's like to be clean again.
When I had my first child, I was definitely not prepared for how it would affect certain areas of my life. I had always heard the adage "sleep while the baby sleeps," and I would see these moms at Barnes and Noble playgroups with a toddler and a newborn and perfectly coiffed hair and glowing skin. I naively assumed that I would be able to keep up with my long showers and even longer beauty routine. (I am Eastern European and my hair is more than a little unruly. Thanks, Dad.)
I had no idea those women had sold their souls to Satan. OK, that's not fair. It could be a loan agreement. (Or my jealousy talking.) But for me, that sort of follicular freedom was fantasy. My son thought that it was his chief occupation in life to shower block me. As soon as I'd step into that delicious spray, the monitor would actually laugh at me before letting me hear my son scream at the top of his tiny baby lungs. I did eventually learn to manage.
If you're curious, and wonder, "can I take my baby in the shower with me?" I was, too. I asked pediatric nurse Serefina Ramos for the lowdown. "You shouldn't take your baby in the shower with you if you're planning on holding your wet, naked baby against your wet, naked body," Ramos tells Romper. "Hard no on that one. It might seem like a great idea because your baby loves you, and is calm in your presence, but there's just too much of a risk of dropping your baby. They're very slippery when they're all sudsy, and you're probably already tired. A fall from any height can be deadly for a baby, but a fall in the shower is particularly dangerous."
I asked her for suggestions, and if there was any way you could shower together. She said that if your bath is big enough, you certainly could bring baby into the shower with you if you kept the water at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and they were in a secured baby bath, but only if you're not washing your hair, because your focus shouldn't be so split between your baby and you in that environment. Ramos tells Romper that it is just safer to bring their bassinet or Pack 'N Play into the bathroom with you while they rest so you can shower. Park it right outside the tub, or better yet, leave them with your partner if you can.
Showering is just one of those things you get really good at doing really fast when you're a new parent, and ends up feeling more like a luxury than an expectation. So while many moms wish that they could combine baby's bath with their own, and maybe make the whole routine a little quieter, safety, as usual, prevails. Might I suggest the liberal use of dry shampoo? At least it adds body to your hair.