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You’ve learned the art of doing more than one thing at the same time. Tying one shoe while using the other foot to rock the bassinet. Eating a sandwich while holding your little one in your other arm and tilting the bottle with your chin. Running the Roomba for that “white noise” your newborn loves to fall asleep to. (Sure, this is multitasking — cleaning and soothing!)
So it makes sense that you might consider getting baby clean while you get clean, too. Two birds, one stone (proverbially only, of course). But is it OK to co-shower with your baby?
In short, this is OK if you take the right precautions — and there are definitely some considerations to keep in mind. Plus, don’t expect that you — or baby — will necessarily get all that clean without careful planning. Here are the deets.
You want to be careful about showering or bathing your baby too soon. Typically, when you bring your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, you still need to wait up to 2 weeks for their umbilical “stump” to fall off.
That’s when it’s OK for their little bodies to be submerged. (We’re counting a shower as submersion, since it can be hard to control where the water goes.)
Before this happens, it’s best to stick with a sponge bath or washcloth wipe-down if your baby needs it.
Related: How to give your newborn baby a bath
You may shower daily, but your newborn doesn’t need to — bathing once or twice a week is fine until they start eating solids. At that point, life gets more messy, and you may want to bathe them more frequently, whether in the shower or bath.
Without the proper tools, it’s not the safest option, and here are some reasons why:
You’re slippery. Baby’s slippery. The floor is slippery. In other words, there’s a greater fall risk in the shower.
Depending on the pressure of the water, a shower can be quite shocking. Water hitting baby’s body can cause a struggle, which is not what you want with an increased fall risk.
Typical shower gels and shampoos that you use on yourself may hurt baby’s sensitive eyes or delicate skin.
And just using these items in the first place — without planning ahead of time to use a sling or some other carrier for baby — necessitates a one-handed baby hold, which isn’t safe, either.
If you take your baby into the shower well-prepared, you can make it a safer — and more fun! — experience for both of you. Just keep this in mind from the get-go: You may not get as clean as you’d like. Expectations can put a damper on the experience, so keep ’em low.
First off, make sure to have a grippy mat securely placed on your shower floor. This helps prevent slips and falls and gives you secure footing as you shower with your little one.
To further handle (no pun intended) potentially slippery situations, some parents prefer to use bath gloves rather than their bare hands when holding their baby in the shower. These gloves allow for a tighter grip.
A water sling can also provide a more secure way to hold your baby in the shower, especially if you’re just rinsing them off with lukewarm water — which is often fine for an infant who isn’t yet eating solids or crawling around, getting dirty.
If going with this option, it’s best not to take your baby out of the sling while in the shower.
Make sure you have an easy way to dispense any shower products while you’re in there, keeping in mind that you likely won’t be able to pick up the shampoo bottle in one hand and squeeze product into the other. Pump bottles or hands-free dispensers are good options.
And while you’re at it, be mindful of what you fill these bottles or dispensers with when it comes to baby.
Your usual shampoo or body wash may not be good options for your little one’s sensitive skin, which can dry out easily. Consider using baby-specific shampoos and cleansers instead. Don’t worry — they’ll make your skin soft, too!
Use lukewarm water — not so hot you steam up the bathroom quickly — and avoid having the spray hit your baby’s face.
If you prefer your showers on the hotter side, be sure to limit the time your baby is in the shower with you to just a few minutes or so.
If you have a partner at home, get them to help. This can be especially useful with a newborn. Have your partner stand by to hand you baby or take them from you (towel at the ready) when you’re done.
Another option? A family shower. This allows you and your partner to (carefully) pass your newborn between you as you take turns getting clean.
Finally, if your baby’s fussy, you might need to throw in the towel. Or at least limit their shower time to just a few minutes for a quick rinse. In general, you’ll want to make bathing and showering as positive an experience as possible!
First off, many new parents struggle to find the time to take their own showers, especially when it’s just you and baby at home alone. Keep in mind that even with a newborn at home, you can shower by yourself!
For a newborn, time your solo shower for when they’re sleeping if possible.
Bring their bassinet or baby bouncer within eyesight of the shower and let the soothing sounds of the shower work in your favor — when your baby is fed, burped, and sleepy, they likely won’t even wake up while you get your suds on.
On the other hand, sometimes showering with a baby isn’t just a fun, once-in-a-while option — it can feel like a necessity if you live in an apartment or other living space without a tub.
But you may want to try other baby bathing solutions that don’t require you to hold your infant in your arms. These include:
- using a baby bathtub on the shower floor while you kneel outside the shower
- using the sink
- filling a basin standalone baby tub with a little water and giving baby their own adorable shower with a baby showerhead (buy it online here)
And if you do have a full-sized bathtub, bathing with your baby is also an option.
It’s best to do this when they’ve gained head control and can sit in the tub with you, but the same guidelines apply — have a grippy tub mat and maintain a secure hold on baby while using lukewarm water and baby-safe products.
Showering with your baby, if done safely, can be a fun experience for both of you. Just be sure to take the proper precautions and keep expectations for your own cleanliness on the lower side, and you’ll be fine.