I’d love to share some things that I’ve learned about small space living with a baby. I hope to do some more posts about this in the future but I’ll start with bathtime.
We’ve lived in two different apartments since my daughter was born. The first with a full-sized bathtub and, currently, one with just a shower. In each place a different method for bath time has worked best in terms of efficiency (cleaning, time setting-up etc.) and space-saving.
Before my daughter was born I was very intimidated by the idea of bathing a little baby. I had images of this wiggly and slippery baby sliding all over the place while I tried to move her from the bath to a towel. I expected I would be most comfortable using a small plastic tub on our kitchen table with the towel laid out right beside it. (Initially, I hoped to bathe her in our kitchen sink with a Puj Tub but my husband wasn’t keen on it.)
So I went looking for a collapsible tub that would be easy to store. I looked into getting this Boon tub, but ultimately couldn’t commit to the price-tag — especially since I knew we’d be moving out of the country not long after she was born. (I hoped to find it secondhand but it was still selling for $50 at our local consignment store.) I ended up buying a basic plastic tub secondhand and, to store it, we shoved it up high in a closet on top of our winter gear (not ideal).
We used the tub a few times but it was a process: Lay out towel, soap, washcloth and clean diaper. Fill up tub. Check water temp. Carry tub to table. Check temp of water. Add cold/hot water with cup (new mom here!). Disrobe baby etc. (Note: this is a really good guide for bath safety.)
One day when my mom was visiting she showed me how my great aunt taught her how to bathe a baby. This method word so much better for me, my baby, and our space. (Note: This method worked until she started sitting on her own and now she sits during her baths)
In an apartment with a bathtub
Basically, you lay a small towel on the bottom of your regular bathtub. Fill it with about 5cm (2in) of water and lie the baby on the towel in the tub. I kept one hand tucked under my daughter’s head to keep her from turning it side to side and breathing in water and used my free hand to quickly clean the rest of her.
This was just enough water to keep my daughter warm for the bath while keeping the water far enough away from her nose and mouth. The towel kept her from slipping on the bottom of the tub and clean-up and prep was quick. My baby also turned out to be much less slippery than I’d feared – you bathe them in water, not oil, after all – and moving her from the tub to a towel on the floor next to the tub was just as easy as my dining table method without the potential-to-fall-off-table fear.
This method was also great for travel since we could bathe her easily in any normal bathtub.
In an apartment with a shower
In our current apartment we only have a shower, so we went back to using a hard plastic tub.
Since our shower is large enough the tub can sit on the floor under the faucet, without me having to carry it somewhere else. For storage, we drilled some holes in the side of the tub and added a string so we could hang it on a hook under the shower head (I’ve used these Ikea suction hooks in two bathrooms and they have amazing staying power). It stays out of the way when we shower, but is easy to unhook and fill for her bath (which we do a lot more often since she started to eat solid food!).
Laura also bathed her babe in a shower stall, but didn’t have space to hang a tub on the wall so used an inflatable tub! This was great for an older and more mobile baby, as she happily crawled in and out of the tub (while supervised), without Laura having any worry of it flipping.
Any other tips or tricks for bathing babies or storing bulky plastic bathtubs? I’d love to hear.