Transitioning Baby to the Big Tub: Fun, Stress-Free Guide for Baby & Parents

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Wondering when can baby bathe in regular tub? Find out how to transition baby to the big tub & make it fun and stress free for baby and parent!

Once you’ve mastered giving your newborn baby a bath, the next big question on many parents’ minds is when can you transition baby from a baby bath tub to a regular tub.

Most babies are ready for the regular tub around 6 months, but as with everything, it depends somewhat on the child.

You can transition your baby to a regular tub once they can hold their head up and sit on their own, steadily.

Beyond that basic guideline, it’s really up to you and your child. If you’re trying to make the decision for your family, keep reading for our tips.

Signs It’s Time to Bathe Your Babies in Bathtub

So how do you know your baby is ready?

Here are a few reasons you might want to transition your baby from baby’s tub to the big bathtub.

  • They’re around 6 months or older, and can sit on their own without support, hold their head up, and generally have control over their body.
  • They’re outgrowing their baby bath, either in terms of actual size (they no longer fit) or adventurousness and activities (they need more room for their toys and splashing)
  • You want to move them into a baby bathtub for your own reasons, such as not wanting to store a baby bathtub anymore.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to your baby bath tub and say hello to the big bath, keep reading for my best tips to make the transition great for you and baby!

Transitioning Your Child from a Baby Bath Tub To A Regular Tub

Get Your Baby Ready to Say Goodbye to Their Baby Tub

Once you’ve decided to start bathing baby in the regular bath tub, there are steps you can take to make the switch easier on your little one.

Transition Gradually

Baby baths are small for safety and convenience – a lot different from the vastness of an adult sized tub. Depending on your baby, they’ll likely notice they’ve got a lot more space in the big tub, and they may or may not like the feeling.

Before transitioning them to the big tub completely, prepare for the switch by making gradual changes. This will make the change more likely to succeed, and prevent any “fear of the bath” developing from doing the transition too quickly.

Put The Baby Bathtub into the Big Tub

One of the simplest ways to transition gradually is to move the physical location of the baby tub.

For example, if you’ve been bathing baby with their tub in the kitchen, now’s the time to move it into the bathroom.

Once they get used to the idea that the bathroom is for bathing, then it’s time to put the baby bathtub in the regular tub, so they can get used to the space.

A bird's eye view of a baby bath tub placed in a regular bath tub. The baby tub is filled with water, bubbles and with a rubber ducky.

Finally, once they’re ready, you can remove the baby tub, and bathe them directly in the big tub.

Get into the Tub with Your Baby

For the first couple of times you bathe your baby in the big tub, you can help them feel safe and secure by crawling into the tub with them. Sit towards the back of the tub, with your legs open in a V shape, and then have your baby come in and sit in between your legs, with their back against your abdomen.

I prefer this option to using a bath seat, which the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend.

Bath seats can easily tip over, causing your child to fall into the water.

If you do get into the tub with your little one, make sure your baby doesn’t have a full belly, in case they poop in the bath (I speak from experience on this one).

Stick to Safety & Comfort Basics

Once you move your baby from the baby bath to the big bath, it’s just as important to stick to your safety basics.

Make Sure You Have Everything You Need Before You Put Your Baby in the Bath

The number one rule of bath time is to supervise baby at all times. This means gathering everything you need for the bath, before the bath, so there’s no need to pop out to another room to grab something, or to divert your attention ruffling through the cupboards.

When it comes to phones, my policy is to have my phone in the room, in case I need to call for help, but to have it on silent so I don’t get distracted, and to not use it unless there’s an emergency.

Use Touch Supervision

Touch supervision means keeping a hand on your baby at all times when they’re in the bath. It’s an important safety basic, but it will also help your little one feel more at ease during this big transition.

Keeping a towel and other bath supplies within reach when you transition your baby to the big tub will make it easier to maintain touch supervision, meaning less stressful and more fun for everyone.

Safety Accessories

Moving baby into the big bath, you want to stick with some of the best practices of your baby tub, but may also need a few more accessories for safety:

  • Bath water thermometer for getting the water temperature just right. Aim for water that’s warm not hot. If your baby bath had a temperature sensor on it, you might want to get a floating bath water thermometer for the big bath, so you can be sure you don’t run a hot water bath, which could be uncomfortable for baby.
  • Non slip bath mat for safety. Once baby is in the much larger regular tub, you’ll want to make sure they don’t slip around, especially if using bubbles, etc. A non-slip mat is, in my mind, non negotiable.
  • A bath spout cover. Babies are naturally curious, and once they hit the toddler stage, bath time gets more adventurous still. Help prevent head bonks and scalds from touching or falling into the faucet with a spout cover, which will cushion any brushes with it.

Keep Baby Cozy

When you remove your baby’s clothing, place them in the water right away. This will prevent them from getting cold and shivery, making them grumpy before bath time even begins.

Feet First

Help your baby into the tub, feet first, and check that they react okay to the temperature before lowering the rest of their body into the tub. Keep the majority of their body, neck and face far above the surface of the water for safety. If you notice them getting cold, use a rinser cup to the warm water over their body to keep them warm.

Drying Off

Towel dry your baby’s hair and body as soon as you get them out of the water, and then wrap them in a soft, hooded bath towel to keep them cozy warm.

Once our daughter was able to stand and walk on her own, we let her wear a bathrobe right after the bath, which she loves.

Make sure you have a non-slip mat on the bathroom floor too, so any water that got splashed out of the bath during the fun of it doesn’t become a hazard when getting out of the tub and drying off.

Chances are, you’ll be a bit wet at this point, too! You’ll probably want to have a towel nearby for yourself.

After you’ve patted your baby dry, you can use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizing lotion to help with patches of dry skin, which is fairly common. Just make sure it’s baby-safe and super gentle.

How to Make the Transition Even Better & More Fun

Use Tear Free Products

I always make sure to use tear-free, natural shampoo and baby wash so as not to sting or burn baby’s eyes, and to ensure you don’t have any nasty chemicals join your little one in the bath.

a selection of kids natural bath products on the corner of a bathtub

A Bath Kneeler Will Help Reduce Parents’ Knee and Back Pain

Leaning over the big tub while your baby splashes is also a fairly big adjustment for you as a a parent, and more specifically, for your knees and lower back.

A bath kneeler will help reduce the stress a bit, giving your knees a break from the hard bathroom floor. I also tend to sit on my toddler’s step stool, right beside the tub, while she’s playing. That way I can supervise, but I’m not wrecking my back from constantly bending over.

Baby Bath Toys

Toys in the tub add some extra fun, and may help your little one transition, if they have a toy they loved from their baby bath join them in the big tub. Just make sure you keep them clean, to avoid mold and mildew issues.

If you don’t have a lot of toys, don’t worry – my list of our favorite baby bath games can help get you started!

Final Thoughts

I hope these tips help make bath time in the big tub fun and relaxing for you and your baby!

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