Bathing baby is vital in many bedtime routines. But when can your baby move from their baby bath into the family tub? Do you need a bath seat or support? At what age can they sit in the bath without a seat or support?
It’s a big step and it can seem daunting, to you and your baby. Don’t worry though, this article should answer any questions you have and make the transition exciting.
Table of Contents
When can Babies Sit Unassisted?
The first thing that I want to stress is that there’s no golden rule for any childhood milestones. Babies will all develop at their own pace and unless you or your GP have reasons to be concerned about their development, please try not to compare your baby with others.
Having said that, there are some rough guidelines that health professionals use to assess your baby and give you some milestones to look out for.
Most babies will begin to sit unaided at around eight months old. Between six and seven months, babies should be able to sit with your help and this a great way for them to strengthen the muscles they need to sit unassisted.
Transitioning out of a Baby Bath Tub
One of the first things on a “What to Buy When You’re Expecting” checklist is usually a baby bathtub. They’re not essential and you can bath your newborn without one but a lot of new parents opt for them as they make bathing a wriggly baby easier.
It’s important to note that just like the baby milestones, there’s no hard rule on when your baby should stop using a baby bath. Usually, the main reason that parents upgrade and transition to a big bath is because their baby has outgrown the baby bath. This can happen at any age.
Regardless of when you decide that your baby doesn’t need their baby bath and when your baby can sit in the bath without a seat, there are some steps that can help make transitioning out of a baby bath tub easier.
Start bathing baby in the bathroom
One of the key selling points of a baby bath is that they’re portable. You don’t have to bath your baby in the bathroom if you don’t want to. My bathroom is tiny, you can fit one person at the side of the bath and that’s it. So, if you’re like me and you want to get other family members involved in bathtime, being able to move the bathtub to the living room is ideal.
But when it comes to transitioning to a big bath tub, the change of location can confuse your baby. For a couple of weeks before you ditch the baby bath, try having bathtime in the bathroom. This will familiarise the surroundings and won’t make the step up to the family tub so overwhelming.
Invest in some safety products
The unsafe nature of the family bath is something that can put parents off wanting to bathe their newborn baby in it. But, as with all aspects of parenting, there are some gadgets out there that can help.
For example, faucet covers are excellent at stopping hot water from leaking onto your baby and it can prevent them trying to stick their finger inside the tap. You can also buy bath thermometers which will put your mind at ease when you’re filling a larger bath. Have a Google and you’ll find all the safety products you need to make bathtime a breeze.
Get some bath toys
In a baby bathtub, there’s only enough space for your baby and the water. There’s no room for a rubber duckie. To entice your baby into the bigger bath, get some colourful and interactive toys for their bath. This could range from stacking cups to a floating octopus. You can usually get bath toy versions of regular toys so try and get some that are a close match to their favourite “dry land” ones.
Put the baby bath into the family bath
It goes without saying that the family bath is a lot bigger than the baby bath and this can feel very scary to a baby. They’re used to being in a small space and all of a sudden, they’re plonked into somewhere that feels very wide and open.
Try and put the baby bath inside the family bath. It might look silly and it could cause your back to ache for a while but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Buy a bath support or seat
These are especially good at supporting your baby when they’re in the family tub and keeping their head out of the water. Many can be used from newborn so you know that they’re safe at any age. They’re also ideal if your baby can’t sit up unassisted yet but their baby bath is a bit snug.
There are different designs and styles but as with everything, you have to choose one that works for you and your baby.
Using a Baby Bath Seat or Support
A baby bath seat is exactly as it sounds. It’s normally made of hard plastic and it’s designed for a baby that can already sit on their own, such as this one from Angelcare. They usually have little rings attached to the handlebar which encourages children to enjoy being in them.
A baby bath support, such as the Angelcare Bath Support, is the kind that you can use from a newborn. They’re designed to be laid back, instead of upright, making them perfect for babies who don’t have good head control yet.
There are pros and cons to both of these products.
The benefits are:
- Your hands are free to wash your baby without relying on help from the other parent or another family member.
- They keep your baby safe whilst they’re in the water.
- Baby bath supports can be used in the family bath from newborn.
- Bath supports are usually made of fabric or a soft silicon making them easy to clean and comfortable.
The negatives are:
- Bath seats can restrict a baby’s movements while they’re in the water. They might be secure but they won’t be able to play with any toys and this won’t build confidence in the water.
- They can lead to a false sense of security amongst parents. Remember to never leave your baby unattended in the tub.
- Both bath seats and bath supports are bulky and can be difficult to store, especially when they’re wet.
- Bath seats don’t accommodate babies with chunky thighs and some babies can be hurt getting in and out of a bath seat.
As discussed, there are pros and cons to both bath seats and supports. What works for one parent might not work for another and it can come down to trial and error to find the right one for you.
When can Baby Sit in the Bath Without a Seat or Support?
The simple answer is whenever they can sit unaided for long periods of time. Your baby needs to have that strength to support themselves in the water, otherwise you run the risk of them falling over into the water. It’s not age dependent, more milestone dependent.
As I said at the beginning of this article, it usually happens around eight months old. But one of my children sat unaided at six months and another at ten months. I didn’t have any concerns around their development and even though one was slower than the other babies at baby group, he’s now performing as well as his peers.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I stop using a baby bath?
Whenever you feel comfortable. But the usual tell is when your baby is getting too big for their baby bath.
Do you need a baby bath seat?
No, it’s not something you need as long as you’re confident bathing your baby without one. Try and get a non-slip mat for the bottom of the tub for added support and comfort.
How to get baby to sit in bathtub if they don’t want to sit?
Unfortunately, this is a phase that all children go through. When my children refuse to sit down, I’ll give them a warning and if they still don’t, I’ll take them out. This usually works but there have been times where I’ve had to pull the plug. Safety first!
Can you use a Bumbo in the bath?
While it’s marketed as being waterproof, it’s not recommended to put your Bumbo in the bath. It doesn’t have suction cups to secure it to the tub and as there’s no lap support, it’s easy for your baby to fall face first into the water.
Moving from a baby bath to the family tub is a big step and it can feel daunting, especially as you know this move means your baby is growing up. But with the steps and advice above, you should feel armed with the right information to make that transition and have your baby sit in the bath without a seat…even if you shed a few tears along the way.