If you’re planning out a trip and scratching your head over how to fit everything on your packing list into limited luggage or trunk space, I feel you. I’ve been there myself. Many times.
It seems like the smaller a child is, the more things they need. That can include bath time, although after dozens of trips, and 10 countries now with my 16 month old, bathing on the road is something we’ve learned to simplify.
Here are the options for bathing your baby while traveling:
Portable Bath Tub
Although not something we ever traveled with, a portable baby tub is the safest option and it doesn’t have to take up a ton of space.
The blow up baby tub is kind of genius and could be great to use at home as well. Like a pool floaty, it folds up and can be blown up for use by mouth or with their included hand pump. It has a saddle horn in the middle to help keep baby upright and is appropriate for 6-24 months.
Stokke, which is a famous high-end baby brand, makes a foldable flexi-tub that has a newborn support piece and a heat-sensitive plug that can help you determine if the temperature of the water is right. It also has a non-slip base and comes in several colors and two sizes. You’ll need to purchase the bundle if you’d like the newborn insert.
You can also rent baby equipment on your trip. This will be location-dependent, but if you’re traveling internationally, Babyquip can be great for renting any baby gear you need from local parents. Sometimes, we leave everything at home and just rent gear instead for ease. They have everything from SNOOs to strollers and of course, baby baths. Use TRAVELMUSE20 for $20 off your order.
Get in the Bath
If our hotel room had a bathtub, when my son was old enough to sit up on his own but still would use a bath seat at home, one of us would get into the bath with him. We would often bring along some of his smaller bath toys, particularly the Montessori stacking cups, and one of us would get in the bath behind him so that there was no danger of him falling backwards.
The Mayo clinic recommends the water temp be around 100 F, which will probably feel less hot than you would normally like your bath (or is it just me who likes the water a touch below scalding?).
Since there will most likely not be a bath mat to make it less slippery, keep in mind your baby could be slipping and sliding even with you there, so I would usually sit behind him rather than facing him so I could make sure he didn’t fall backwards. It’s best if you’re in the bath first before having the other parent hand you the baby.
If you’re traveling solo with your baby, consider bringing a portable tub.
Take Them Into the Shower
From the beginning, this has been my preferred method for bathing our baby on vacation. infant bathtubs, especially for babies that can’t sit up on their own yet, are bulky and cumbersome to travel with. Although the travel tubs help since they’re smaller, when we already had his travel bassinet, slumberpod (use code bemytravelmuse$20 for 5% off!), travel stroller, and everything else to pack for our baby, adding another bulky thing to our luggage just wouldn’t work.
So even from when he was 2 months old, we carefully took our baby into the shower with us. Keep a few things in mind for everybody’s safety:
- Make sure you have a good hold on the baby. Wet skin is slippery.
- Make the water cooler than would be comfortable for you.
- Bring a non-breakable cup in with you to collect the water from the shower head and pour over your baby rather than putting them directly under the stream.
- Do this with both parents as it’s a two-person job when they’re little.
- Consider sitting on the floor of the shower and cradling the baby away from the water stream while the other parent washes if you’re concerned about the slipperiness.
This can all be pretty quick. Garrett and I would usually have one parent go in first and complete their shower, have the other join with the baby, quickly wash him with a travel sized portion of his baby soap, then turn off the water and dry baby off. Then the parent who didn’t shower yet remains inside to finish their shower while the other parent dresses baby. The whole thing takes maybe 5 minutes.
Even now, with my 16 month old, I often bring him into the shower with me and let him stand under the water and do a quick wash. This way, we can book accommodation that doesn’t have bathtubs, making planning a lot easier.
Bath time on the road doesn’t have to be complicated or require a ton of stuff. Every baby is different, but we’ve been able to make the shower and occasional family bath work on most of our trips. If you want an extra tool to help out, a portable bath can be a great option, both on the road and at home!
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