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Tuesday 26 April 2011

Bathing Baby Twins - what the books don't tell you!

Bathing twin babies can be quite a stressful experience.  Often small babies don’t like being dressed and undressed and whilst they can be content while in the water they may want to be wrapped and dried quickly once the bath experience is finished.

If you are experiencing this don’t panic – this stage will pass and soon your twins will be grumbling when removed from the bath because they are enjoying it so much.

To save money I would recommend that you don’t bother buying a baby bath.  I had one which I used a couple of times but I found that they are heavy to move when filled and awkward to fill and empty unless you stand it in the bath to use. 

There are a number of alternatives on the market but the cheap and easy alternative I found was to buy a baby bath sponge which you lay your baby on whilst in the regular bath.

I am a great advocate of doubling up on tasks where you can but I wouldn’t recommend that you try and bath both babies at the same time as it won’t be long until they are trying to roll.  A baby can become distressed very quickly in only a small amount of water so it is safer to concentrate on one baby at a time and have 2 hands available to help your little one out of trouble if required.  Needless to say, never leave your baby alone in the bath.

The other main reason not to bath both at the same time, is that once out of the water young babies can scream until they are dried and dressed, so it is much better to do this as quickly as possible.  If you have two wet babies one will inevitably have to wait while you deal with the first.

Many books on routines for babies recommend a bath as preparation and a cue to the baby that it is bedtime.  DO NOT LISTEN! - There are plenty of other things you can do to bring in bedtime cues other than a daily bath such as cuddles and a feed in a dimly lit room, perhaps some gentle music.  So I’d avoid making a bath a fundamental part of an evening routine unless you absolutely have to.  Babies do not become particularly dirty and the daily top and tail wash will be enough with a bath once or twice a week.  This is also much better for their skin as well particularly if they have eczema.

I didn’t use a daily evening bath within our bedtime routine and my twins have been excellent sleepers once the routine became established at around 8 weeks old.

You may find it easier to bath your babies in the morning when they are less tired and fretful or to bath each baby on a different day.

Once your babies are able to sit confidently then it becomes easier to bath both together.  Look out for longer length non-slip bath mats for in the bath and avoid oil based bath soaps as this can also make the bath slippery.

My final piece of advice when you get to this stage is to invest in a waterproof coat and hat as 2 babies splashing in the bath is great fun but can get very wet!  

Photo by flickr user Rebecca and Bernhard

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