Any quiet, safe, and warm place can be fitted to bathe a newborn without a tub.
That’s the general rule of thumb, but we’ll go past that today.
Way past that…
We’ll go over the tub alternatives and look into the PROs and CONs of each.
Here is a quick overview of the topics we’ll cover:
- Do you even need a bathtub for a baby?
- Baby bathtub alternatives
- Can you bathe a baby in a shower?
- Shower as an alternative for an older baby
- Can you bathe a newborn in the sink?
- Plastic water tub experience
- Makeshift alternatives to a baby tub
Do You Even Need a Bathtub for a Baby?
No, you don’t necessarily need a bathtub. It is the most convenient option for most parents, but there are alternatives to explore.
That’s the gist of this guide – finding safe and fun alternatives.
First things first
Let’s briefly go over the main reasons you might want/need to bathe your baby without a tub.
The parent needs to bend over all the time, and it can feel inconvenient, especially for the mother right after birth.
Not all of these tubs are tipping-safe. If you are considering using one, make sure it’s stable.
No room for supplies
Baby bathtubs are pretty much tied to the bathroom.
You usually place them in the grownup bathtub or shower. There’s often not enough room in a bathroom to arrange all the baby supplies from the Newborn Baby Needs Checklist.
You need these bathing supplies arranged at an arm’s length but still not in the way.
And you can’t go searching for that knocked bottle.
A bathtub takes up space
This small tub needs a place to sit in between baths. If you don’t have a space for storing a baby bathtub you are happy with, definitely go for an alternative.
Baby Bathtub Alternatives and FAQs
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how you can bathe your newborn without a bathtub by answering some of the commonly asked questions and offering a few handy alternatives.
Can You Bathe a Baby in a Shower?
Believe it or not, a shower is the most common answer to how to bathe a newborn without a tub. Lots of people have only showers, me included.
You don’t have to remodel your bathroom for a baby because the baby will quickly grow into the bathroom you already have.
In the meantime, you can always get a baby tub that can fit into your shower. In that way, you’ll have all the conveniences of a tub.
No parent hasn’t tried showering with their child in their arms.
However, a shower is not a safe place for bathing a newborn, because they’re slippery. I wouldn’t recommend taking a shower with a newborn to a fresh mom until she’s comfortable and experienced with bathing her baby in other ways.
To avoid other most common misconceptions about newborns, read Top 16 Mistakes Parents Make With Newborns.
Shower as an alternative for an Older Baby
For an older baby, a well-planned shower space is an interesting alternative to a bathtub.
As long as you follow the safety guidelines, it can be good fun.
Let’s go over a few ideas and rules of thumb:
- The floor of a shower can be laid with a non-slippery cover.
- A baby that can sit could play with their toys on the shower floor while all the excess water is instantly drained.
- The wall-fixed shower head can be swapped with a shower hose that will help you bring the water down to the baby.
- You can always join your baby on the floor to make the process more fun.
- If you wish to try showering with your older baby, know that you won’t have time to shower yourself properly.
- You need to be extra cautious not to use grown-up products (not even on yourself, because the soap from you could get in your child’s eyes).
Can you Bathe a newborn in the Sink?
Mommies are the happiest doing baby baths in a sink because:
- The mom is standing upright, and that means no back pain.
- Large working surfaces are ideal for arranging the supplies and safely putting the baby with room to spare.
- Everything is at an arm’s reach with a baby bath in the sink. And your kitchen is where you feel most comfortable.
- Clean the sink and the surrounding area; line it with a towel to prevent slipping and arrange all the necessary supplies.
- A kitchen sink is suitable for smaller babies, and there are also larger laundry sinks that can be used for older babies.
Plastic Water Tub Experience
If you don’t own one, be sure to get it.
Toddlers love them.
These tubes, just like tubs, are recommended for babies that can sit up, but not newborns.
You can put a plastic water tub almost anywhere you feel like bathing your baby: in the bathtub, shower, or even on the bathroom floor.
Just be careful because they can tip over if not fixed properly.
Makeshift Alternatives to a Baby Tub
Any type of large plastic bucket that resembles a baby tub can also be used as a good bathing alternative, as long as it meets these two conditions:
- It’s fixed not to move or tip over
- The water level is fit for a baby.
Fill the tub with just 2 inches (5.1 cm) of water. That way, you’ll have more control over the baby’s movements.
For travel purposes, you can use a small inflatable baby water tub.
It’s practical because it doesn’t take in a lot of storage space. You can always deflate it and carry it with you as one of your baby travel essentials.
Just know that these little pools can be very slippery and must be guarded by a parent.
Bonus tip: These makeshift alternatives are a better fit for an older baby than a newborn.
Conclusions on bathing a baby without a tub
I’ve found that your baby doesn’t need a bathtub to enjoy bath time. In my opinion, the best way to bathe a newborn without a tub is in the kitchen sink.
But this baby bath in a sink calls for some preparation – you’ll need to line a towel in a previously thoroughly cleaned sink. All other options are more suitable for an older baby.
As long as you are alert to possible downsides of each of these bathing alternatives, there’s fun to be had here.
Steph is a passionate mom who co-founded Wumblers to share her parenting journey with others. She graduated from Concordia University with a masters degree in Education Technology and worked as an advisor for many years. Steph loves being a mom and wants to have more kids.
Learn more about Steph and Wumblers here.