Tub Tips: A Guide to Baby Bathtubs

Finding a bathtub that works for Mom and Baby alike makes tub time fun and relaxing for everyone. But how do you know which type of bathtub to choose when faced with endless options on the shelves? Our guide helps you find the style that suits your baby best, at every size, age and stage.

Baby Taking a Bath

First Baths

Perfect for newborns, European style, pail-like tubs may look like regular buckets, but they’re built for providing tiny babies with womb-like comfort, relaxation and safety. Highly recommended for preemies and used in NICUs around the world, these tubs are designed to promote soothing and bonding experiences for babies and caregivers alike, and can even ease colic and gassiness in fussy infants. They use less water and energy than most other infant tubs, and will usually accommodate children well into toddler-hood. (Up to about 35 pounds.)

Endless styles of infant bathing seats and cradles are available for parents to choose from. These items are usually lightweight, portable and easy-to-store. Look for one with a contoured design, as well as ample head and neck support for your wobbly little frog. Bathing seats and cradles should sit stably on the floor of an adult-sized tub; make sure the one you buy has a non-skid base for maximum stability. It should also feature anti-microbial, easy-to-clean materials to stave off bacterial build-up, so you can keep your focus on bathing your baby, and not on scrubbing her tub!

Ideal for city-dwellers, collapsible, in-sink infant tubs conform to the size and shape of your sink, and then unfold to dry and store flat. Buy one made from soft, comfy foam, and watch your baby splish-splash her way happily through her bath.

Spa tubs come with all kinds fancy features your infant may or may not enjoy. (Some babies find the bubbles and spray overstimulating.) These tubs are safe — their reservoirs prevent parents from accidentally spraying too-hot water directly from a faucet onto their babies’ skin, and their showers are controlled by compressible buttons — so if they appeal to you, you should feel free to give them a whirl (Get it? Whirl?) and see if they work for your little one.

Baths for Bigger Babies

Infant through toddler convertible tubs are budget-friendly options for parents looking to make a one-time purchase that’ll last. You’ll find lots of brands and styles to choose from, too; most feature a removable mesh sling for infant baths, and, with the sling removed, function as seats or ‘tubs’ for self-supporting tots.

Bath seats allow bigger babies to sit up in an adult-sized tub, making the transition to bathing without a seat, later, more natural for them. Most fit babies aged six months to about two years, and provide a safety bar across baby’s belly so she won’t fall over (or forwards, or backwards) to become submerged in the water. Look for one with strong suction cups on the base so the seat will attach to the tub’s floor, and remember that while your baby may seem like he’s held securely in place, you’ll still need to supervise him throughout his bath for safety.

Baths for Toddlers

When your baby has outgrown her bath seat, or simply wants to use the adult tub on her own, use a no-slip bath mat or appliques to keep her from losing her balance on the tub’s slippery surfaces. Make sure you use warm — not hot — water in the tub, don’t fill it past her waist (in a sitting position), and have plenty of tub toys on hand for lots of squeaky-clean fun!

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