November 6, 2015

How We Do Bath Time With Twins (without a bath tub!)

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We all know now that my own personal hygiene took a back seat to the babies but I had no idea how much I would come to hate THEIR bath time. It was once the bane of my existence.

They love baths so me hating it broke my heart. We were so blessed to have two babies who absolutely love water and never so much as whined in the bath, from day one.

But over time it became a nightmare. All because of one thing. Actually, the lack of one thing.

An actual tub.

How the heck do you bathe two babies when you don't have a freaking bath tub?

A little back story: Three years ago we lived in a vast and spacious three bedroom apartment with a huge kitchen, double sink and all. The bathroom was small but had a massive 80 year old claw foot tub. We should have loved it but we didn't. The apartment was nice, but it was old, dusty and drafty. The one thing we really hated was that damned tub. I know, le gasp! Claw foot tubs are awesome and everyone wants one, right? We couldn't stand it. The shower curtains didn't fit right no matter what we did, water sprayed everywhere and it created a wind vortex that made the curtain swallow you. Just picture being touched by a shower curtain constantly while trying to get clean. Ick. After six months we were done and when we found our current "cozy" two bedroom with a big backyard and no bathtub we were over the moon.

Just about a year later we got pregnant with twins. Oops. Looking back I realize our last place would have been perfect for our new family of four - including that massive bath tub that I hated so much. Alas, here we are and here we will stay until we buy a house so we've had to be a little innovative when it comes to cleaning the babies.

When they were small we used a great baby tub and bathed them one at a time. The Fisher Price 4-in-1 Sling 'n Seat Tub fit great in our large kitchen sink. The newborn sling worked well for the first couple months. I would put one baby in a bouncy seat on the floor next to me and bathe the other. We dried off and dressed right on the kitchen table then switched them. The whole process took about an hour and by month four I was itching to bathe them together.

Teeny Tiny Jules!
As they got bigger and moved on from the sling I wasn't as happy with the tub. They kept slipping down and rolling over and baths became downright scary. We only bathed them once a week because it was so stressful trying to get it done.

 But then the best thing happened - they started sitting up on their own. After making sure they had it down well enough to avoid head injuries I ditched the baby tub and went old school with the kitchen sink. My sweet grandmother gave us this old Flipper toy to cover the faucet and we laid a towel down on the bottom to keep them comfortable. This worked for a glorious 3 months until they started pulling up and standing. All of a sudden the sink was too short and we were risking them falling out with each bath. Back to square one.

Happy and Easy Bath!

I asked for tips in a group of twin moms and one Mom suggested using a deep and wide storage tote in the shower. A make-shift bath tub! Brilliant! I happened to have a large one just sitting in my room waiting to be filled with stuff. That night I threw it in the shower, filled it with water and popped them in after dinner.

It was awful.

For the first time ever they screamed and cried and tried to escape the whole bath time. Every time they tried to stand up they would slip and fall under the water which led to more hysterics. I won't even talk about what happened when I turned the shower on to rinse them. I pretty much resolved that we would just not bathe them ever again until we moved. If that meant we never left the house then so be it. I would not torture my babies because society thinks they need to be clean. Until we figured something else out it was baths in the baby pool out back!

How we took baths all summer!

Until the epically sticky poo-splosion of August 2015 (sorry for that visual). I had no choice. And yet I knew I couldn't put them through that again.

So I tried one more thing. Instead of putting the tote in the dark and echo-filled shower, I put it in the middle of the bathroom and turned the heat on - yes, in August. Oh the things we do for our babies. I also ran the shower for a bit to warm up the room quickly. I had picked up a bath mat for the bottom of the tote to fix the slipperiness. I filled the tote with warm water and added their favorite toys and talked them through the whole thing while we got ready. I braced myself for the screams and slowly put them in.

It was wonderful.

They laughed and splashed and played and we had our first non-nerve-wracking bath in months.

Success. No tears, no screams, happiness!
Until I tried to wash them.  Up until then I had just used my hands and soap. But that was not an option with this glue-like poo (thank you solid foods). So I soaped up one of our washcloths and tried to wipe them off. I should have known better from the way they act like you're murdering them when you try to clean their faces after a meal but I didn't realize they would hate it so much. Ugh. I tried to talk them through it but in the end just pushed through what ended up being another miserable bath. As if that wasn't bad enough I watched in horror as Jules' skin flared up right before my eyes after washing it. It had taken us months to find a soap that didn't anger her skin and now I realized that even the gentlest soap would still hurt with the harshness of washcloths. I tried multiple cloths and every one was just too rough for her sensitive skin.

I was at my wit's end.

Then I got the chance to review these incredible bamboo washcloths from The Motherhood Collection. You guys, they're like butter. They are the softest, most luxurious washcloths I've ever felt. If you buy any washcloths for your baby, make sure it's these. Not only are they perfect for Jules' skin but cleaning is a breeze - they don't even act like they feel it! Instead of pulling away and crying they just let me do it, even with their faces after meals. I wish I had found them months ago!

My mother is paranoid and only let them have like 3 inches of water. They didn't care!

I got a glimpse of how easy bath time could be when we gave them one at my mom's. It almost made me cry with how easy and stress-free it was, how happy they were to have space to crawl around and play. If we could do that every other night we would but for now, at 15 months in, I have finally found the winning combination for the perfect bath time without a tub:
  1. A storage tote from Wal-Mart placed in the middle of the warm bathroom. Use a removable shower head to fill it. We place towels under and around the tote to soak up water and to help move it over to the shower to empty it.
  2. A soft suction cup bath mat from Wal-Mart. I just bought a standard size one and it fits pretty well with the sides folded against the side of the tote.
  3. The cleanest, most hypo-allergenic soap we can find. For us it's Exederm.
  4. These amazing bamboo cloths from The Motherhood Collection

I hope no one else has to go through all this drama just for clean kids, but if there's anyone out there struggling like us may you find some relief in what worked for us!



Life Happens said...

We've never had a tub either. Even with just one kid to bathe the task was always so daunting. I used (and still use on occasion) the biggest infant tub I could find and it would fit inside my shower, so he could play with his bath toys. This obviously wouldn't fit two babies. Now, my almost 4 year old, prefers to take a big boy shower, with my help - so I have to now find a way to keep the shower water in the actual shower. The woes of bathing our children! Way to be innovative Maigen!

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