Mmm…Who doesn’t love the smell of a clean baby?
For generations, parents have valued bath time as a hallowed time for bonding with their children. It’s a time when parents normally put aside their phones and tech to share in a few minutes of undivided quality time - complete with songs, bubbles, toys and cherished adorable moments. According to a Johnson & Johnson survey of over 3500 parents worldwide, 84% of parents said bath time is some of the best quality time they get with their children. And while health professionals have long understood that regular baths are important for a baby’s hygiene, now researchers are learning that fun-time during the bath ritual is actually highly beneficial for babies’ brain development.
Washing a soapy baby isn’t easy. Mega Babies has put together a list of all the right gear you’ll need to make bath time safe and hassle-free. In addition, Mega Babies has rounded-up tips for using bath time music and activities as ways of enhancing your baby’s cognitive development.
Basic Baby Bath Time Must-Haves - Our Best Picks
1. Infant Bathtub
While some parents will be tempted to use the sink for their new baby for fear of a bathtub accident, using the sink also comes with its risks, such as slippage and hygiene. A dedicated baby bathtub is essential as it’s the easiest and safest way to bathe your baby.
Our recommendation is The First Years 4-in-1 Warming Comfort Tub, whose design helps you keep your growing baby comfortable during bath time. This modular tub creates a secure and comfy environment for babies and can be used until toddler years. The cleverly designed infant insert features a special water catch tray that allows for a steady stream of soothing water down your baby's neck and back. It also cradles newborns at a gentle incline and quickly switches to a medium incline for older infants. The tub is designed to be a baby sink bathtub as well; it fits most single and double sinks.
2. Collapsible Baby Bath
If you’re tight on space, we’ve found you a stellar solution. Our 2nd recommendation is the Boon Naked Collapsible Bathtub. It’s a foldable baby bath like no other. You can count on it from newborn to toddler. Recline it, expand it, drain it, collapse it and hang it up to dry. The best part is that its simple, one-piece design makes transitioning between stages easy without losing parts.
3. Hooded Towels
Regular ol’ towels are fine for babies, but what could be cozier than an ultra-fluffy hooded towel perfectly sized for your baby?
Our pick is the Childhome Bath Cape. It’s just what you need for your budding baby fashionista. The matching hooded bath towel and washcloth set comes in a cute leopard print. It's created with plush, thick, and ultra-absorbent terry, with an additional layer of soft cotton from the outer side for utmost warmth. After a bath, wrap your baby in luxury while getting her extra warm and snug.
A soft, durable washcloth makes bath time easier for you and comfier for your baby. Look for washcloths that hold up well after lots (and lots) of washes, and that come in sets for the best value.
Our pick for this category is actually an innovative alternative to the classic washcloth. The Innobaby Bathin' Smart Silicone Mini Fish Scrub with Suction Cup is perfect for gently massaging away your baby’s dry skin. It has over 3,000 ultra-fine micro bristles and additional massaging bumps on the reverse to break up and remove dry flakes and stubborn cradle cap. The Mini Fish is great for the entire family - mom can use it too as a facial scrub! Mini Fish includes a convenient handle that is easy to grip and can be suctioned to the side of the tub. The best part is that it air-dries and is naturally mold and mildew resistant. Just pour on the soap, lather up and enjoy!
5. Gentle Baby Soap and Tear-Free Shampoo
While there are plenty of baby-safe soaps out there, knowing which ingredients to look for - and which to avoid - can be confusing. Dermatologists seem to agree that it’s important to avoid cleansers with parabens, synthetic fragrance, alcohol, and formaldehyde, as these can irritate a baby’s skin. Safe cleansers for babies can include shea butter, aloe, coconut oil, oat, and ceramides; these can all be calming and soothing to a baby’s skin. The Honest Company Refresh Shampoo + Body Wash Citrus Vanilla comes highly recommended by dermatologists and moms alike, as it’s a tear-free, hypoallergenic product that checks every box.
6. Soft Hairbrush
Brushing your baby’s hair daily can help with blood circulation and relax your baby for a good night’s sleep. A soft baby brush protects your baby’s soft spot while massaging your baby’s scalp- preventing cradle cap. You can’t go wrong with the Safety 1st Easy Grip Brush and Comb.
7. Rinsing Cup
You'll need a little rinse cup with a handle to easily wash off your sudsy baby. Getting water in your baby’s eyes is the absolute worst! A rinse cup with a spout that controls water flow, such as the Skip Hop Moby Waterfall Rinser ensures a steady stream with no surprises.
Baby Bath Time Music for Cognitive and Language Development
Young children not only love to learn through music, but their brain connections are also strongly wired up by music. Singing during bath time can help your baby have fun as she practices her speaking skills while singing along to nursery rhymes. Toddlers acquire new vocabulary and knowledge through bath time music. Old-time favorite bath time songs include:
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat
- Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
- Five Little Ducks.
Check out these other super-fun bath time songs.
Bath Time Activities for Babies’ Brain Development
But it’s not just touch and music that makes bath time special for baby’s brains. It’s also the engagement of other senses, from smelling soap to watching bubbles burst to listening to water splash. According to developmental psychologist Andrew Meltzoff, the more senses you can engage during bath time, the better.
Here are some fun bath time ideas for babies that really wire-up the brain:
- Sponges! Water play with small sponges and cups helps develop your baby’s fine motor skills, muscle strength and dexterity.
- Bubbles! Who doesn’t love bubbles!? Simply blowing bubbles across their field of vision helps develop visual tracking skills. For older babies, popping bubbles builds hand-eye coordination.
- Cups! Scooping and pouring cups helps infants gain fundamental skills including dexterity and hand-eye coordination. They also learn about cause and effect, and numerical terms like more, less, full and empty.
- Paints! Non-toxic bath paints are great for toddlers over 24 months. Encourage her to finger pain on the bathtub wall and experiment with mixing new colors. This is great for developing self-expression and creativity.
Here’s to a Good Night’s Sleep
Experts have also found that baths can de-stress and relax your baby to promote a good night’s sleep. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, says that gently rubbing your baby’s skin in the bath “slows down the physiology, so it slows heart rate, it slows blood pressure, it changes brain waves in the direction of relaxation.” So fill those bathtubs for learning and playing, and maybe even getting a full night’s sleep (fingers crossed!). Mega Babies has got everything you need for bath time. Mega Babies wishes you and yours happy soaking and sweet dreams.