So many moms have asked this question over the years, I thought I would collect some answers here that I have heard from moms group (and some I have tried myself) and see if they help out some new mamas.
First of all, your baby doesn’t care if you shower! This is primarily for YOU…remember the other important person at home ALL the time? Babies use scent to identify parents and guide themselves to the breast--and it provides immense comfort to them. So don’t do it for them, do it for you! (For babies, the stinkier the better! No so much for our self-esteem.)
Secondly, timing is everything. E V E R Y T H I N G. The obvious choice is to wait for a partner to come home and shower in peace hoping baby will go easy on them. But if you are doing it on your own, here are a few things to aim for:
- Mornings are happier times for most babies. Afternoons/evenings can bring out the worst in babies, so you might want to avoid those unless you know your baby takes a long solid nap then and you can count on that. So aim for the early hours.
- If you want your baby to sleep through your shower time, feed the heck out of them, burp and play actively with them if they aren’t sleepy yet (tummy time works great here) then get them to sleep until they get the droopy arm stage. A relaxed body often means you can transition baby to a bouncy chair, bassinet, or even a towel stack on the floor in the bathroom. This is your time…get in there and start conditioning that hair!
- If you are hoping that your baby will happily occupy themselves while you shower; feed them, burp them, change if they need a new diaper, and put them down on the floor of the bathroom to play while you RACE into the shower. Do not wait. Don’t fold laundry. RUN into the shower and start shaving your legs…do not get distracted!
- There is only about a 20 minute window that an average baby will play by themselves (and many times this requires a direct sight line from shower to baby, so plan accordingly) so you don’t want to waste time thinking about cleaning the bathroom. Get in there and get shampooing!
- Also if you are one of those moms with an easy baby who just patiently waits for you to return even when you are deep conditioning, stop reading this blog. Go buy some girl scout cookies or something…because I am not feeling the love for you right now!
- If you think you can play with your baby enough to keep them going, make sure there are things they can reach themselves if they are of holding toys age. A play mat can be really useful here, but other things work as well, and you can always keep a stack of toys in the shower with you and throw one out every couple minutes...I'm sure moms have tried this!
- If your baby just won’t have it, and you are way past what you think is a tolerable stink factor, take your baby with you into the shower. There are carriers you can use that are designed for showering/being in water which will free up your hands enough to wash the important bits. The Wrap DuO by Wrapsody Baby is my favorite: https://wrapsodybaby.com/product-category/wrapduo/ and the Second Skin Swaddle is even faster to put on: http://preciousimagecreations.com/product/skin-to-skin-carrier-swaddle/.
- If you have a bigger baby and a large decently clean shower, you might find putting down a towel and letting baby hang out with you inside the shower the easiest way to keep them occupied and still get those hard to reach places squeaky clean (on baby too). Some moms swear this is how they start the day so well, with a happy baby and clean hair!
- One word of warning; babies being held in naked mama arms often want to nurse. Then they often want to poop. Although the shower is convenient for cleaning it off, it is sometimes easier to just not snuggle them while you are doing your clean routine. Make faces or sing songs, but know that a snuggle comes with strings...messy ones sometimes.
Who has more I can add here? How do you manage to get that long relaxing shower in the midst of mothering a tiny human? Or if you don’t get that long one in, how do you manage those capri-length shaves and lightening fast hair washing? Send me your tips, and I will add them here. Send to Kimberly@abcdoula.com. We will tell the world so more moms can catch a glimpse in the mirror as they walk by and think, “Yep, still got it!”