A baby bath tub is probably at the top of your registry. And why not? Your baby’s first bath is one of the earliest milestones you’ll enjoy with your little one. You’ve probably been picturing yourself humming relaxing lullabies while your baby coos and splashes. There will be plenty of that. But also some screaming and obsessing over water temperature, maybe a slippery, flailing little body. And… what’s that floating in the water??
There are tons of options for bathing your little one, but the best infant bath tubs are safe, comfortable, and easy to clean. Read on for tips on choosing the perfect first bathtub. With a little preparation, you can create the relaxing, bonding bath time routine of your day dreams.
As with just about everything baby-related right now, you’ve got tons of options for bathtime. There’s the traditional baby bathtub that fits into the average kitchen sink or sits inside an empty adult bathtub. There’s a bath seat, which is an itty bitty chair that can help a larger or older baby sit up in a sink or tub — this one is particularly handy if you’ve got multiples. And then there’s a bath support, which can be a small cushion, sling, or reclined seat that fits into a sink or baby tub, allowing even the smallest newborns to rest comfortably during bath time.
As you’re thinking through your options, consider storage space, the size of your tub or sink, and where you’re most likely to give the baby a bath.
A lot of prep goes into bath time, and it’s important to get things ready in advance to ensure that the baby is comfortable and safe. As bath time approaches, warm up the kitchen or bathroom — or turn off the A/C.
Shower caddies aren’t just for camp or college. A caddy for keeping baby bath supplies in is super handy. You don’t want to put the baby in the tub only to realize that you’ve forgotten soap or a towel. And, of course, never leave a baby in the tub alone, even to just grab an item in the next room.
The recommended safe water temperature is 100 degrees F. Remember to test the water that’s sitting inside the tub or sink to ensure it’s not too hot before you put the baby in. Many baby bath tubs come with heat indicators and there are even cute bath thermometers available to help you stay in the safe temperature range.
Even when the water temperature is perfect, a newborn may get fussy at the shock of being in this new environment — especially when the water starts to cool down. Soaking a hand towel or swaddle cloth in the bath water and then using it to cover the baby’s exposed skin above the water line can help keep your little one warm and comfortable.
And finally, after bath time is over, you’ll want to clean the tub and then let it air dry thoroughly. And if there is an accident — which is bound to happen at some point in your baby bathing journey — disinfect the tub (a vinegar and water solution will do the trick) and let it dry.
Ready to get your little one clean and cozy? Dive into our list of the tubs to help with your newborn’s first bath.
This popular bath tub option is one you can keep around for a long time. The convertible tub includes a soft sling for a newborn, an insert to help keep older babies upright, and even enough room for a toddler to bathe in once the inserts are removed.
The Frida Baby 4-in-1 Grow-with-Me Bath Tub boasts four different positions, allowing you to use the tub from 0-24 months. In addition to an adjustable sling that can be placed in two different positions for newborns to six-month-olds, the tub includes a seat and safety bar that can be used for older infants, as well. A built-in hook on the outside makes drying the tub a breeze.
At just $19.99, the price is right on this convertible tub, which includes a sling for newborns. Remove the sling and you’ve got a tub roomy enough for a growing baby or a toddler.
This inflatable infant bath tub is not only great for travel — it’s also probably the cutest tub on the list. Easy to inflate and deflate, the Munchkin Duck Inflatable Baby Bathtub can turn your hotel or vacation rental tub into a clean, safe space for your baby. It also includes a heat indicator to let you know when the water gets too hot. Keep in mind, though, that a tub this size is ideal for babies six months and older, making this a great addition to your registry if you’re looking forward to traveling with your baby down the road.
If you’re planning to use your sink for a bath, Blooming Bath’s Lotus Baby Bath Seat can turn an ordinary sink into a plush and adorable newborn tub. Simply place the flower in the bottom of the sink, add water, and the petals create a soft, cozy space for even the smallest newborn.
The BEABA by Shnuggle Baby Bath Tub looks like a sleek, chic bucket that comes in soothing colors. It’s designed to keep your baby more upright — which may come in handy if you’re dealing with reflux. It’s also intended to be used anywhere — including the sink, tub, or bathroom floor — which may come in handy if you’re unable to squat by a bathtub or stand at a sink comfortably.
The Angelcare Baby Bath is designed to be put directly in your tub and cradle newborns to six-month-olds safely and securely. The mesh support is gentle on baby’s skin and easy to clean.
The Summer Infant My Bath Seat is simple to set up in any standard sized bath using three locking suctions cups and keeps your baby upright with plenty of back support, leaving your hands free. This seat is ideal for babies between five-and 10-months-old.
If space is at a premium in your home, the Boon Naked 2-Position Collapsible Baby Bathtub might be the fold away tub of your dreams! When it’s fully opened, the asymmetrical tub has a narrow side intended for reclining newborns and a wider end for older babies and toddlers. When it’s folded down, the compact tub is easy to store in small spaces or hang up to dry.
If you’ve got twins on the way or an older sibling who's already here, the Stokke Flexi Bath in X-Large could double your fun but not your time. This tub is 25% larger than the original Stokke Flexi Bath, making it possible for siblings to get in and fit in. Conveniently collapsible, the Stokke may come in XL, but it folds away to take up less space. A newborn support accessory is also available.
The Boon Puff+ will make you re-think your own bath habits. Intended to fit in a sink or full-sized tub, this inflatable bather includes swaddle wings that keep your baby warm and comfortable. Easy to inflate, deflate, clean, and dry, the Boon Puff+ comes with a travel bag for use at home or away.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sponge baths as needed until a baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off. After that, your baby can be fully immersed in water. The AAP recommends bathing a newborn no more than three times per week because frequent baths can dry out a baby’s skin. On that same note, some doctors recommend fragrance free lotions and soaps. Heavily scented products can also dry or irritate a small baby’s skin.
Bathtime for your baby is about more than simply getting clean. It’s an opportunity to bond with your baby, create a stress-free environment, establish comforting routines, and develop secure attachments. Plus, it’s super cute and a lot of fun. Enjoy the bubbles and giggles that are headed your way!
Mariah Craven is a mom and writer who works with campaigns, nonprofits, companies and individuals committed to changing the world. She lives in Austin with her husband, toddler, baby, and rescue dog and is always on the hunt for the best taco, cocktail, and whatever workout allows her to keep enjoying both.