Sunday, January 10, 2010

splish splash, I was takin' a bath (with Ruby)

Ruby wholeheartedly loves the water. Not only does she get so excited about bath time that she starts kicking her legs and squealing in anticipation as soon as she hears my husband turn on the water for it from the next room, but she is mesmerized by the sight of running water and can distinguish its sound and look for its source.

My best friend, Coral, suggested that it's because she is a water sign (Cancer). I don't know about that, but what I do know is that Ruby was never all that interested in the water until--at about eight weeks--we started to do the baby baths in tandem. Until then, she was indifferent at best about bath time. Now it is something we all look forward to each night as part of our nightly bedtime ritual. I have found that it's great for bonding and fun for all of us.

I usually take the baths while Jude sits and supervises (for safety purposes, since a baby can drown in even a half an inch of water). Every once in a while, though, Daddy takes on the role of the bather (which brings about the whole question of whether or not he needs to wear a swimsuit: I don't think it's necessary, but he always does because he says it seems strange not to).

In the very beginning, though, it's hard to do your baths together. For one, mommy needs rest and may be healing from childbirth and told not to take a bath (I was told only to shower for six weeks). Also, baby is floppier in the first couple of months and can't sit up on you very well. People commonly buy baby bath tubs these days--mini tubs that can sit in your tub or outside it. But, if you live in the city, chances are you are trying to conserve space and don't need yet another hunk of plastic that you'll only use for a few months. To save space, I suggest a bath cushion like this adorable one from Safety 1st. This is what I used with Ruby. It didn't have anything to hang it up by, so I pierced a hole in the bottom of the frog and ran a little bit of rope through it to make a loop to hang it up by.

For entertainment in the tub, it's simple: she likes anything that involves water being poured. Her consistent favorites are a squirt bottle (the one that they gave me in the hospital after giving birth for my "home care") and a cup. She also likes squirting toys, too. I am pretty careful that anything Ruby comes in contact with is BPA-free, but especially anything for eating and/or bathing, since the chemicals can leach out into the water. Haba makes some good squirters and cute cups for bath time. Also, I love the Skip Hop bath toy storage unit--it stretches to fit all your stuff and the mesh lets the toys drain and dry.

As for cleaning products, I keep it simple here, too: Burt's Bees Baby Bee shampoo/body wash and their bar of buttermilk soap. The scent is heaven and I have been using the same bottle of the shampoo/body wash and the same bar of soap for the past six months and they are each only about half gone (and we bathe her with soap-down every night and shampoo every two-three nights).

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