Ewan and I took a bath this morning. It's my new strategy for bathing since I'm not sure what to do with a 14 month old while I take a shower besides stick him in front of the TV, but that's not in line with my parenting style. I think bringing him into the bath with me promotes attachment and is a fun activity.
Every time we get into the bath together he is fascinated by my nipples. He points to them and grabs them, and then usually wants to nurse for just a few minutes. Today, he climbed into my lap facing me and nursed sitting up while the bathtub filled.
Since Ewan's birth 14 months ago I have to admit that I have not always bathed with the frequency that I would like. Bathing with your baby is not always an option. Sometimes, I spritz some perfume and tie up my hair until my husband is around and I can get a shower.
Here are some strategies I have used to get a shower or bath when I was alone with Ewan.
When Ewan was a newborn I would lay him in his crib, turn on the sheep mobile that played "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and run to the bathroom and turn on the shower to warm up. I would go back to Ewan and be with him for a few minutes. Then I would crank the mobile, turn on the monitor, and run through the shower.
I was never sure how long I had until he got upset. I never got to shave my legs in the shower. If he was having an especially clingy day, sometimes I counted it as a shower if I just got to wash my hair and rinse off.
Another strategy is to bring the baby into the bathroom with you. I would run and bath and put Ewan in the bassinet next to the tub. That way he could see me. You can do the same thing when you take a shower, but I would leave the door ajar to let steam out of the room.
I used to shave my legs at the sink with Ewan sitting or crawling around on the bathmat. I do yoga and my hips are very flexible, so I can get my foot in the sink, but you could sit on the side of the tube or on the toilet lid and shave, too.
Don't be tempted to shower (or get anything else done) while your newborn sleeps. For the first 6 weeks or so, you need sleep as much as he or she does! Napping with your newborn is not a luxury but a necessity. Your mental health is way more important than anything else you wish to do. You can shower later.
Once you have gotten past the newborn phase and you feel more like yourself, showering while baby naps is the best time! I used to not get dressed until Ewan's morning nap. We would wake up at 7am, eat breakfast, play, and he would go down for a nap around 10am. Then, I would shower and get dressed.
I was very fortunate to have grandparents around when Ewan was 2 to 8 months old. We lived with my husband's parents for 6 months, so it was very easy to have grandma play with Ewan while I took a nice leisurely shower. But, often everyone was busy, and I would put him in his crib with toys and music, turn on the monitor, and speed through a shower as quickly as I could. He would play for a while, but then just start yelling.
Now that Ewan is a toddler, he doesn't sleep in a crib anymore. We have a convertible crib that turns into a toddler bed, so now I can't contain him. I bet he would object to being contained, anyway. He wants to run around.
Sometimes I just shower with the door open while he plays nearby. I can hear him if he needs me or he can come in and get me. This sometimes doesn't work out because he will come in to the bathroom and want to get in the shower with me. I've tried this. He hates it. But that doesn't stop him from trying to climb in.
I hate to admit that I have turned on Yo Gabba Gabba and showered while he watches the show. I don't allow him to watch much TV, but sometimes I need some time to myself!
Since sticking him in front of the TV every time I shower is not a solution I'm comfortable with, I just started taking a bath with him. I realized that I could have been doing this as soon as he could sit in a bathtub by himself. It wouldn't be practical before then, though. I did get into the bath with him a few times before he could sit up on his own, but there would have been no way to wash myself since I had to hold him the whole time.
He loves to play in the water, he loves having me in there with him, and we both get clean! He thinks its hilarious when I splash water on my face to wash it. I give him ducks and toys to play with while I wash my hair. Honestly, it's alot of fun for both of us.
I'm trying to treasure nursing him in the bathtub and making him laugh by splashing around, because I know that he will eventually get to be too old to bathe with.