How to manage bathtime with Twins
When new parents of Twins bring their babies home so many things go through their head – how will we fed them at once? How can we keep them on the same schedule? And more often than not – how do I bathe my twins? We asked one of our Twin Love Concierge resident bloggers and Mom to four including Twins, Joanna Venditti from nesting story.ca, to share her tips on how to make this an easy and enjoyable task.
How was it possible?
When I was expecting our twins and researching like crazy, one thing I kept trying to play out in my head was how I was going to bathe two babies while somehow including our four-year-old daughter Beau. Initially I had pictured this idealistic assembly line scenario with Beau in the big tub, while I bathe one twin and then the other, switching them out from a bouncy chair. In reality bathing two babies alone is an exhausting task and the last thing I needed to do was add a child to the mix. In the later part of my pregnancy I had my husband Mike take over the big kids baths and that is something he has continued… thank goodness!
Here is how I tackle bath time when my husband isn’t around to help. This may seem like a no brainer but I think just hearing how someone approaches it at home (instead of the quick lesson you get in the hospital) could help any new twin mom or dad:
Preparation is key
The first thing you need to do is prepare the bathroom. This includes a changing spot with towels either on the floor or counter top with moisturizer, clean diapers, a clean change of clothes and a brush. You will want to have your baby bath drawn and beside the bath have your cloths and soap ready. You will probably be using cotton balls to clean your newborn baby’s eye’s first so have a couple of those beside the tub as well. A trick to warm the room if its chilly is run a hot shower for a bit first and keep the door closed, just make sure when you fill the tub you check the temperature and keep the water close to body temperature. You can test the water by dipping your elbow in it or by using a bath thermometer.
First few weeks don’t require frequent bathing
For the first month or so you will want to keep your newborn swaddled without a diaper to stay warm while you wash their face and hair. The other twin can be waiting in the bathroom buckled into a bouncy chair. To keep from cross contaminating, you want to wet and squeeze the water out of a cotton ball wiping the first eye from the inside out, discarding the used cotton ball after. Repeat with a fresh cotton ball for the other eye. Then you will take a cloth and wet the hair, lather with baby shampoo and use the cloth or a small container to rinse the water out. Then you would proceed to un-swaddle, place him/her in the tub and wash the rest of your baby with a cloth.
One baby at a time
Once your munchkins are a little older you may want to have the second twin wait near the door on a blanket or if they are mobile continue to use the bouncy chair or a Bumbo chair for safety reasons. Keep that second baby within sight and sing a little while you are bathing their twin if they are getting impatient. Beau likes to pretend she’s a little mommy, so she copies what I do with her little baby doll. I make a little spot out of the way on the floor with a toy bath and I give her some soap so she can bath her doll. This is a great activity for her to participate in without being in the way and you are not waiting for your older child’s naptime to bath the babies. Don’t forget that if your older child is a boy this is great activity for him too! Half the time Holden wants to help Beau bathe her baby. Let’s face it, toddler nap times are sacred, the last thing you need to do is use it up bathing your twins.
When your wee one is a little older you will put them right into the baby bath and probably just use a clean cloth for their eyes. Remember to start with the cleanest part of the body (their eyes), finishing with the dirtiest (their bottom).
When you are all done bathing your little one, carefully lift your baby out and carry them to your changing spot. Your baby is going to be super slippery so make sure you have a tight grip and be prepared to hold them against your body to carry them, (wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little wet). Dry that baby off, moisturize (if necessary), dress and repeat with their twin. You can start bathing two babies at the same time when they can sit up independently (around 6-8 months of age). Twin tip: I have found that it is best to do the bathing process on a full tummy with twins because there is a lot of waiting involved. Yes, you may get a little spit-up but that is better than feeling rushed because the other baby is screaming.
When bathtime turns into funtime
You can start bathing two babies at the same time when they can sit up independently (around 6-8 months of age). Their full baths every three days and sponge baths in between weren’t cutting it anymore. Let’s face it, sponge baths can’t get off crusted on carrots like a full bath can. Unlike how I would have transitioned my older kids to a bigger bath (one baby at a time), I had to find a new normal. I read lots of advice from veteran twin moms after my first post and there were many creative tricks and ideas. I decided to go with the inflatable tub because of how soft it is and that it would fit my girls in tight, using each other’s bodies to stay put.
Before getting started I prepped three change areas with towels on the floor. One in the bathroom, one in the hall and one in their bedroom. I also placed two bouncy chairs in the bathroom. I looked around thinking this was overkill but boy did I appreciate those areas after when things got a little hairy!
Once set up and I had each twin in their bouncy chairs, I made a game plan based on each twin’s strengths (Everly is steadier when sitting and Mia is more patient).
I then put Everly in the bath first and without leaving her side, I grabbed Mia and placed her in the bath. Both girl’s loved having a bath together. Like always, they kept looking at each other as if to say “isn’t this great”? I started to wash them, initially going back and forth but I kept forgetting who had been washed where so I completely washed Everly and was halfway through washing Mia when things started to get a little scary. Both girls started to squirm and slide under the water!
While holding both of them up under their arms I made the decision to lift Everly out wrapping my arm around her and lifting her wet body out against my body while still holding Mia up. I placed Everly on the change spot beside me, wrapped her in a towel and finished washing Mia. I then placed Mia on the change spot in the hallway. Then proceeded to move Everly and Mia to change spot number three to get them diapered and dressed. See, I told you my over preparing came in handy!
Although some points were touch and go, I would say the overall experience was a success that I will continue to do until our girls can sit in the big bath.
*Important tips if you are going to try this: DO NOT attempt this (at least not for the first few tries) with an older child in the room that you also have to supervise. Be extremely PREPARED ahead of time with change areas and towels. You will probably GET WET. If things are getting too crazy or slippery, be okay with taking them out before you have finished washing them. Remember SAFETY IS NUMBER ONE! If you cannot give your twins your undivided attention, if you forgot something while setting up or if things aren’t going as planned, PULL THE PLUG and finish bath time early.