Because what's more nerve-wracking than a slippery baby?
If you've ever bathed a baby you know it's not the relaxing, spa-like experience the adorable photo shoots suggest. Like most parenting experiences, it makes you wonder why having a baby doesn't also sprout you a second set of arms. After all, trying to keep a slippery, soapy babe safe, warm and happy while also managing the occasional (and inevitable) poop situation with only two of them seems darn near impossible.
Enter: the baby bathtub. Of course, it doesn't help that there are so many different choices in the baby bathtub aisle, each with a different size, shape and function. HELLO? Isn't a bath a bath? Not when you're still figuring out how to hold your head up, apparently. With so many to choose from, it's important to first understand what to look for and then consider your own needs.
The two types of baby bathtubs
In-sink baby bathtubs
Ideal for newborns and mamas recovering from a c-section, this style is often made of foam, cloth or mesh and nests directly into a bathroom or kitchen sink. They not only keep the tiniest babies safe and secure, they're also much easier on you since you don't have to kill your back to get the job done. Babies generally outgrow this style by around six months, so you'll have to upgrade at least once before they're ready for the regular bathtub. These styles are also easy to store which makes them a great option for small spaces.
Stand-alone baby bathtubs
These baby-sized basins give you plenty of options. Whether you set it on the countertop or directly into the regular tub, these are often made from easy-to-clean plastic with features like molded bottoms to keep baby upright or removable slings that prevent them from slipping. Their roomier size can accommodate from the newborn phase through the first couple years but can also take up a significant amount of space.
Below, our breakdown of the best baby bathtubs, so you can find the right one to suit your lifestyle. (And don't forget the bath toys!)
With its grow-with-me design and wallet-friendly price tag, it's hard to do better than The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub. This convertible tub comes equipped with a removable sling to help you bathe the tiniest babes more easily while the basin itself is deep enough for a toddler to suds up in. And even though it's simple we have to say, the extra wash basin on the end is a welcome addition. It's perfect for storing toys and baby wash or keeping a supply of soap-free water for rinsing!
Reviewers say: "One of the less expensive baby tubs out there, but most practical and great quality and design. I picked this one on my registry for my son, and loved it so much that I ordered it for my niece."–Cecilia
Sink baths have never been more cozy or adorable! The Blooming Bath Lotus sits comfortably into most sinks to create a snuggly, spa-like bathtime for babies up to six months old. It's made from antimicrobial foam that won't mold or mildew and is covered in a luxe minky fabric that's oh-so-gentle against baby's skin. When bathtime is over, ring it out and pop it in the dryer before storing it for next time.
Reviewers say: "This item should be a must for all baby registries. This is our sixth child and we have done everything from the infant tub to the net lounge seat ..this is by far the most amazing bathing item.. our son gets in it and instantly relaxes, it is so soft he just sinks into it. we can use it in the smallest sink in our bathroom to the biggest sink in our kitchen! absolutely the best purchase!!!"—Stephanie
For moms with more than one kiddo, juggling two separate bath times can be enough to send you right over the edge. The Summer My Bath Seat is a brilliant solution for bathing babies and toddlers (or twins!) at the same time. It's also a great solution for active little ones who fray the nerves by trying to crawl or stand in a slippery tub. Simply install the tension rod design directly into the bathtub to give them a safe place to sit and splash without worrying they'll fall over. Note that to avoid mold it should be removed from the tub after each use. (Fits most standard size tubs, 21-24 inches wide.)
Reviewers say: "I don't know how I lived without this with my first? From the second I started using this product I could finally take a breather without constantly having to hold my baby up. He has been using it since 4 months old and is now 13 months old and still uses it every day, he loves it so much. He can easily reach for his toys and play, without me having to worry about him slipping! This would be a great shower gift!!! I would and do highly recommend it to all new mamas."–MCMD410
At less than $15, Mommy's Helper Inflatable Tub knocks it out of the park for value and convenience. The inflatable design is ideal for travel and a favorite among families who only have a shower at home. When inflated, it measures 19.5 x 10 x 7.5 inches which easily nestles into a regular bathtub to provide babies five months and up a roomy place to splash when they're too big for your typical baby tub and too small for the real deal. There's an inflatable saddle horn in the center to help keep baby from sliding down which you can deflate when it's no longer needed. It also features a plug at the bottom for easy draining.
Reviewers say: "This is great. I originally bought it for traveling, as we were going to Florida and I didn't know what our options would be for bathing our 5-month-old. I ended up selling my old tub and keeping this one when I got home and we have been using it ever since! I love the support to help him sit up. I also love that I don't have to fill the entire bathtub to give him a quick bath. This tub takes seconds to fill. And for the price, you really can't beat it. I don't think it would be great for a newborn, but for a 5+-month-old it's perfect. There should be more products like this one on the market. I highly recommend this tub to any parent."—Nicole C.
For little ones who prefer sitting upright or get cold easily, Beaba's Shnuggle Baby Bath is a great option. The bucket-like design incorporates a base with an integrated bump to help support their bum and free your hands while a foam backrest keeps them warm and cozy. Because of the compact design, it only needs two liters of water to adequately submerge your baby and can easily be used in the tub, shower or simply on the floor. (And don't worry about slipping and sliding! It comes equipped with non-slip grips on the bottom.)
Reviewers say: "After purchasing two other tubs and doing hours of research, we found a winner here. The angle of the back is good for our four month old. Not too reclined nor too upright. Holds just enough water to keep her warm and not overwhelm her. It's on the pricier side for a tub, but the thick nontoxic plastic and the design make it worth it." ACH
Boon makes some of the most innovative and ingenious baby gear on the market. Their simple designs and modern aesthetic make everything from mealtime to bath time easier and more enjoyable, so it's no surprise their Soak 3-Stage Bathtub makes the list. This long-lasting style grows with your little one from the newborn stage through toddlerhood by flipping (and ultimately removing) the center insert. A contoured back and non-slip, spongy pad keeps slippery babes happy and upright with a depth that allows them to be comfortably submerged and warm. It's made from a durable but lightweight plastic that's super easy to keep clean while the overall footprint is streamlined enough that it can fit in some sinks in addition to the regular bathtub. And if you're worried about getting the water temp just right, consult the color-changing drain plug which fades from dark to light gray when the ideal temperature is reached.
Reviewers say: "We highly recommend this bathtub. This was easily one of the best purchases we have ever made for our baby. It is versatile, adjustable, safe, easy to clean and very sturdy. A big selling point for us is that this tub is also free of dangerous plastics/plasticizers. We have been using this tub since our child was approx. 1 month old and it appears that it will likely work until she is at least 1.5 years old."
Skip Hop's Moby Baby Bath Tub isn't just adorable. It's incredibly functional as well! Designed for newborns up to 25 pounds, it includes a removable sling that can lock into two ergonomic positions: high for full-body support when they're tiny and lower for seated support as they get older. Eventually, it can be removed altogether leaving a bump-free non-slip bottom. When it's time to dry off, drain and hang on the showerhead or towel bar from the convenient swivel hook.
Reviewers say: "We have a newborn and absolutely love this tub for her. The sling supports her perfectly. The size of this tub is perfect, big enough that my 3-year-old fit in it (when he insisted on trying it out) but small/compact enough that it's not obnoxious to store....if you have a standard size bathtub, there is plenty of room to hang this on a suction hook inside the tub to store (and this skip hop tub has its own storage hook to make this simple to do). This is the fourth baby bath that we have owned/tried and it's hands down our favorite. I have no complaints, absolutely love it!!"–E
Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding swears by this brilliantly innovative baby bath which makes it easy to safely bathe your babe without worrying they'll slip under or require an extra set of hands to manage. The anatomical ridges keep them cozied in a recline position with support under their arms and between their legs, and once they're able to sit up, they can use the other end, holding on to the middle for support. Roomier (and larger overall) than the others on this list, both positions allow little ones to be warm and submerged which makes for a happier bathtime for everyone.
Reviewers say: "This bath changed our bath time! Our first kid hated baths - and we were on our way to the same experience with the second until we got this! Our baby loves baths now! This is easy to fill, he has a nice space for him to sit, we can have it on the counter to not kill our back... and his sister can even hop in and sit with him for a bath if she wants. It's great! It is large- I was worried when we first got it, but we use it every day and I would recommend it for any new parent."–Joan H.
While we love infant tubs with bells and whistles, they tend to take up more room than most urban mamas can spare. The Puj Tub is made from soft white foam that folds and conforms to your sink during bath time, and then hangs or store flat when you're done. Think of it this way: The quicker the cleanup, the faster you get to the snuggling-a-freshly-bathed-baby moment. Pro tip: If you're dealing with a seriously small bathroom, opt for the Puj Flyte—it's so compact, it can fit into a suitcase. (Read more about why we love it here!)
Reviewers say: "I absolutely love this product! As a new mommy I found bathing my 6-week old daughter a little stressful. But this product took a lot of my worries away. She was well supported and comfortable in the Puj tube. I was also glad I didn't have to worry about sharp edges. I had reservations that my sink might be too shallow (8" deep) but it fit perfectly and allowed my daughter a fuss-free bath. :) Highly recommend!"–Pretty Country
With a solid 5-star rating, Angelcare Baby Bath Support is a top choice for taking the stress out of newborn baths. It's not a tub, instead, it offers a safe and comfortable place for your baby to lounge in the sink or regular bathtub. The ergonomic design keeps them at an incline without submerging them too much and is made from a soft mildew-resistant mesh that's gentle on their skin. Without any nooks or crannies for mold to grow in it's super easy to keep clean and can hang for storage when not in use.
Reviewers say: "Obsessed! Somebody recommended this to me and I hesitated because it didn't look that great to me....but the simple design and materials are amazing for a variety of uses. I love this tub to bathe both of my kiddos (6yo and 1mo), shower with my baby on the other end of the tub, but it can also make a quick spot to put baby down when using the toilet. My favorite use so far is for the beach! You can put baby down and the sand comes right off of it."–Couleurvanille
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