I Am Your Father – Part 16: Baby’s First Big Bath

And suddenly, it’s November. It’s hard to believe that we are now past the halfway point of m’boy’s first year on this planet. We’re still learning how to be parents and battling against the changing moods of the pandemic, but at least it feels like we’re starting to settle into something resembling a routine.

Reminder: This blog is the work of a sleep-deprived, first-time parent (IN LOCKDOWN!), trying to talk frankly and honestly about his experience. I make no apologies for the language used.

General Update

The little bugger is… well, not so little anymore. At 7 months, he’s still massive for his age. He was in 6-9 month clothes at 3 months and we’re now at the point where 9-12 month clothes don’t always fit. So, that’s one piece of advice: the numbers on the labels don’t mean shit! And you certainly shouldn’t buy loads of 0-3 month clothes before your baby is born! We’re certainly glad that we didn’t spend loads buying brand new clothes and instead got a lot of second-hand bundles.

He’s also less of an “angry potato” now. He is reliably sitting up, by which I mean that if you put him in a sitting position, he will usually stay there for a while. He’s also reaching out and grabbing things, albeit with zero finesse (just like his mother!). This means that he can sit and play with his toys and, while he hasn’t started crawling or anything yet, he’s started taking more of an interest in the world around him. He’s a lot more independent than I expected and will quite happily sit and play for a while, even if he does sometimes suddenly fall over for no apparent reason or occasionally kick the fuck off because his mum had the audacity to leave the room to go and make a cup of tea! 🤦

A good Dad Tip: Get a flask and/or a travel mug for your missus. An actually hot cup of tea (which is fine, within reason, according to the NHS) is a luxury for a mum, but I make her tea in an insulated travel mug during the day and leave her a proper flask out overnight for when she’s up for the midnight feeds. Little touches like this help keep her sane (and will earn you some Dad Points).

His teeth have started to come through too, which is a blessing and a curse. He started crying and refusing food and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it was my wife who noticed the teeth first! Little white patches appeared on his gums before forcing their way to the surface. This is something we know is going to happen every so often that is a literal pain, but just something we have to get through. Fortunately, a cocktail of Baby Calpol and Ambesol seems to calm him down, at least for a while.

The Big Bath

Not only has he outgrown all of his clothes, but he has also outgrown the little tabletop bath that we have been bathing him in so far. He’s also getting a lot more splashy, so for the sake of my clothes and the living room carpet, the time has come to take him up and bathe him in the big bath.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, bathtime is Daddy’s Domain, so this is something I can actually talk about as an active participant, rather than just an observer!

The Bath Dam and Bath Seat (more on these below)

So, the transition to the big bath was far from trivial. First, we had to buy a little seat, so he can sit safely in the bath without us being paranoid about him sliding or toppling over and disappearing under the bubbles. It works really well and he’s sat in it quite happily every time we’ve put him in it so far.

Because of the size of the bath and the “unusual” layout of our bathroom, it’s actually pretty awkward to get him safely in and out without basically climbing in yourself. I tried a different few ways to do it, but none of them felt entirely safe, so I’ve just given up and now always take my socks off and roll up my trousers before I even attempt it!

We have a large plastic cup that we use to pour water on him and he likes to flail and splash around, but at least he’s surrounded by tiles now and not the living room carpet! We also have a number of plastic bath toys that he mostly tries to eat, but he generally seems to enjoy his bathtimes and it’s nice to have some proper father-son bonding time.

Baby Hacks – The Bath Dam

Related to the main news, this week’s hacks/gadgets are all bath related.

We are very much aware of the environmental impact of having a child (as well as the effect on our heating, food and clothing bills!), so we’ve been looking out for things that we can do to try and lessen that impact as much as possible. The “baby dam” is just one example of the little things you can do that will hopefully make a difference. This is a flexible plastic screen with a rubber seal and suckers on it, which splits the bath in two and reduces the amount of water you need to get the bath to the appropriate depth.

At the moment, with him being so (relatively) small, we’ve got the dam placed so we are using half as much water/heat/energy as we would have used to fill the whole bath to the same level. I’m sure it will move over time, but for now, I think we are saving ourselves a fair bit of time and money using it.

Baby Hacks – Bath Thermometer.

I’ve just realised that I haven’t mentioned this so far, but we’ve always used a bath thermometer when we bathe him, rather than relying on the good old “just stick your elbow in” technique. The Tommy Tippee one we bought is waterproof, floats and not only tells you the temperature but has a little red light that flashes when it gets too hot. We’ve used it in every table-top bath and we continue to use it in the big bath. Again, a quick Google reveals that you can get something similar for a lower price, but I’d definitely recommend it.

Final Thoughts

Not really a huge amount to report this time. He is mainly just getting bigger, but at least he is starting to become more interactive and more mobile, which is great for me because it means I can feel more involved and useful. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the little guy since he arrived, but now we can play in the bath together and I’m learning all the silly little things that make him laugh, it feels like there is much more of a connection between us.

Oh shit, it’s November. I should probably start getting things ready for Baby’s First Christmas…