Help me troubleshoot and streamline our twin babies' bedtime routine
September 11, 2019 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I have boy/girl twins who will be 7 months old this coming Sunday. We've had the same bedtime routine for them since they were 2 weeks old (the same one our night nurse did--we just kept it up because it worked). Lately, it has been rough. Have we grown out of it? What can we do instead? Parents and other baby-adjacent mefites, advise me of ways to do this better!

Here is our current routine. It is a bath-feed-goodnight routine, but here are the details, because the problem is in the details.

6:30 PM: my husband plays with babies while I set up for baths. Baths, right now, take place in a baby bathtub on the master bedroom bathroom counter, which is the only counter in the apartment large enough for a baby bathtub (more on this later). Setting up involves closing the blackout curtain in the babies' room, laying out pajama-onesies and towels near the changing table, lining the master bathroom entirely in towels because my daughter, especially, likes to splash.

6:40 PM: When this is done, my husband takes our son and begins to prep him for his bath (remove his clothes, do a wipe with wipes if he pooped, and walk him with his towel to the master bath), and I fill the bath to the exact perfect temperature, which requires attention and care. It has to be the perfect temperature because he has eczema. All of this happens while our daughter hangs out in the play yard. ***this hangout is where things often go wrong for her, because if she's already tired or in a fussy mood, being left to entertain herself in a giant, toy-filled play yard she normally loves becomes intolerable.***

6: 45 PM: I bathe our son while my husband runs back and forth between me/son if I need help (and sometimes I do; I have birthed spirited splashers), and our daughter, to calm her down if she is having a hard time being alone in the play yard. (You may ask, why is she in a play yard instead of in a bouncy seat watching her brother have a bath? Because the bouncy seat was much worse and resulted in her having a hard time 100% of the time, rather than the 50% that the play yard results in. She likes to roll around and do planks and hates being contained in a seat).

6:55 PM: Husband takes clean and damp son in towel and brings him back to the babies' room to dry him off, aquaphor him, diaper him, and dress him. While this happens, I empty the bathtub, rinse the bathtub, and bring a bouncy seat to the bathroom for our son, and I do this while holding our daughter if she was having a hard time.

7:00 PM: Husband deposits clean son in the bouncy seat, and I hand him daughter for her bath prep. I refill the bathtub to the optimum temperature. ***Here are where things often go wrong for son*** Half of the time, he is happy to be in a bouncy seat with me in the bathroom and play with the arch of toys. Half of the time, he is mad and tired and hungry and screaming.

7:05 PM: Husband and daughter come back and I bathe her while he tries to soothe our son. If our son is in a good mood and doesn't require soothing, husband helps bathe daughter, who is SUPER SPLASHY and even with the room lined in towels, gets water on every surface, which is hilarious but adds work every night.

7:15 PM: Husband takes damp and clean daughter in towel to babies' room, while I empty the bathtub, clean up all the water, and soothe son, who, by this time, is usually screaming, even if he had been in a good mood at the outset. I also set up food (either bottled breastmilk or formula), and turn all the air conditioners on to prepare for babies' descent into their Merlin Sleep Suits.

7:20 PM: I finally pick up son, calm him down, and get him in his sleep suit. Husband finishes up drying, lotioning, and dressing daughter, and puts her in her sleep suit. We feed. ***Nowadays, babies are regularly SO UPSET at this point that they refuse to eat, and instead we spend FORTY FIVE MINUTES CALMING THEM DOWN.*** If feeding actually happened, we hold them upright for ten minutes afterwards, and they become very drowsy, and then we put them down to sleep. Daughter sleeps the entire night. Son wakes up.

I think the issue is the waiting. Both of them have to spend so much time waiting with our current routine. When they were littler, they didn't mind as much--they could just be left in their cribs for a bit and look at the mobile. Now, that doesn't work.

Here are my constraints. Please read them because I will be so sad if I get excellent suggestions I can't implement because of constraints I can't change.

-Neither baby is very steady at sitting without support yet, so bathing together in the adult bathtub is still a ways off. Ideally, in a few months, we can bathe both of them at once in the adult bathtub (located in their bedroom, not the master bath, so that gets rid of all the walking back and forth), but that time is not now. I read those suction cup baby bath seats are no longer recommended.

-Another idea I had was that husband takes one baby and I take the other and each of us just does the entire routine, from start to finish, at the same time. The problem with that is that we don't really have another space in the apartment to bathe a baby. It is POSSIBLE but extremely uncomfortable to give a baby a bath in a baby bath within the adult bathtub. I tried; I hurt my back.

-Bathing one of them in the kitchen sink also doesn't work anymore because we have this weird, small, deep kitchen sink with very low cabinets over it.

-We can't do one baby and then the other because they need to go to sleep at the same time. Twins doing things at the same time/being on the same schedule is very important for parental sanity--given that our process takes forever, it would be enough of a discrepancy to cause a problem. Also waiting baby would get so tired and cranky and we'd have the same problem we have here (they also feed off each other and if one is upset, the other becomes upset).

-We can't begin any earlier than 6:30 because we can't get home earlier than that.

Things that COULD change:

-We don't necessarily have to do baths. Right now we do bathe every day but we don't use soap every day. Every other day is what we call a "ceremonial dunk." The bath is really more of a cue that it's bedtime. That being said, they've had some sort of bath before bed since they were two weeks old, and it might discombobulate them to have that change. Also bathtime is fun (when the waiting baby isn't going nuts).

-There is probably a more efficient way to divide our labor. I reread this and it's nuts, but I'm too close to it to figure out how.

-I'm open to completely different routines as well. Basically, we're still doing a routine that worked for tiny infants, and now we have wiggly, rolly babies with big personalities and maybe they need a different routine? But we know nothing and no longer have a night nurse to teach us how to be parents, so help.
posted by millipede to Human Relations (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, first, congrats on making it to 7 months with twins! (I have a solo 7 monther and give tons of credit to parents of multiples). I am a huge proponent of pre-bedtime bath but it sounds like bath time is not working well for you all. What about switching to something else like massage? You could each massage a baby, wrap into PJs, feed, put down? It might take a few nights for them to realize the routine has changed, but massage is sort of similar to bath in terms of body sensation.
posted by neematoad at 12:55 PM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm not really baby-adjacent so this is more an organizational/process suggestion:

Get a second bathtub and have one of you do all the prep (set up tub, lay out jammies, prep milk, turn on AC, etc.) while the other plays with both babies. Then simultaneously each of you prep, bathe, lotion, dress, feed a child. This seems like it might save time and leave less of an opportunity for lonely frustrated babies.

I recognize that you have a space problem with the second tub. Can one go on the floor of the master bedroom?

And, if a second tub isn't feasible, it still seems to me that there is a lot of prep/clean up happening while one of the babies is left frustrated. Can you do ALL of the prep for bathing/bedtime before the bathing begins and ALL of the clean up after the babies are asleep?
posted by mcduff at 12:57 PM on September 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

I had two babies and had them several years apart, and I couldn't manage a bath every.single.night for each of them. I can't imagine what that is like with twins! Skip the every night bath. Do it. You really don't need to do it.

Use a new cue for bedtime. A few board books in a dimly lit room. "Goodnight Moon," "Freight Train," "If Animals Kissed Goodnight," etc. Soft, unstimulating music before bed.

It could be an adjustment. They might not get it, but babies are people, and people are adaptable creatures. They'll get it eventually. They really will.

I'll also say I had ZERO problems at that age with the feeding to sleep option (breast or bottle depending on which kid). I was okay with it. They're now 7 and 10 with decent eating habits and no bed time issues.
posted by zizzle at 12:58 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have 3 kids, one who is 8 months right now, and baths every day sounds like waaaaay too much work to me. I'd cut back to at least every other day, if not 2-3 times a week based on need.

I would also ditch the small tub and buy the suction seats so they can sit in the big tub together and you can bathe them at the same time. Who decided they "aren't recommended"? Not anybody who actually needs the help.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:00 PM on September 11, 2019 [15 favorites]

I agree - baths are too much. This is the process that's making everything complicated, and no baby needs to bathe every day. If you're afraid they'll balk at the change, make the baths shorter and shorter then switch to a warm washcloth or somesuch. But I guarantee you that if you make the change they will get over it in a week or two and then you will be in much better shape.
posted by epanalepsis at 1:07 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

nthing too many baths and maybe warm wipes and a good snuggle will be acceptable as an alternative. Also, we got into the tub with our kiddo for a long time - would that be possible? One parent in the tub, one parent out, with one kiddo being held/played with while the other one gets washed? I think it would be pretty forgiving even with wobbly sitters (though with the caveat that we only had one and it depends how big you are as well as the tub).
posted by brilliantine at 1:14 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Any way you could feed them both before the bath? That might make them calm and contented enough that they can cope with waiting. Then maybe just a quick hit on the boob just before putting down?

Also, can you put the baby bathtub into the regular bathtub? That's how I bathed my guys when they were little and couldn't sit up very reliably. If this works, is there any way you could have one babe in the baby tub and other other one just in the big tub, not in the baby tub, propped up with stuff that isn't hurt by getting wet? Rolled up towels? That way, one person is doing the actual bathing and the other is dong all the prep and after-bath stuff. Actually, reading ThePinkSuperhero's comment, i agree completely. Those suction cup bath seats are really good. You'd only have to fill the bath once to do both at the same time.
posted by primate moon at 1:18 PM on September 11, 2019

Bathes every day are the way we roll in our family - the change from being warm in the bath to slowly cooling down helps trigger the sleep cycle.

It seems like a big part of the problem is angry fussy babies who are hungry. Can you feed them first? I think that would help keep everyone calmer and be reassuring that they're getting enough food (not spending 45 minutes calming them down and still not having them eat).

I'd also suggest each parent take a baby and be fully responsible in that time - so Dad hangs out with daughter instead of leaving her in the playpen, you hang out with son and read a book while sister is getting a bath. Then no one is lonely, everyone is fed and even if someone is super splashy in the bath, you can leave it until they're both asleep. Just pretend you're a single parent, with a single baby, for an hour. (and maybe switch up parents each week)
posted by valoius at 1:24 PM on September 11, 2019 [8 favorites]

Baby bathtub that sits inside the regular tub! My new mom's group last year was all about the inflatable tubs. They have a little support in the middle that helps babies who can't sit up yet. You still have to be right there with your hands on them, but it's a nice step in between the tiny baby tub and the big giant bathtub; they can wiggle and splash and kick and the sides are soft and squishy.

Also I totally wouldn't do bath time every night unless it helped with the eczema or something. My first baby at that age got a bath every night. My second kid, maybe twice a week tops, usually in the afternoon. I know someone who just took a bath herself whenever her baby needed a bath. They got in together and when it was time to be done, she set them on a towel on the floor while she climbed out and grabbed a robe. I tried it once and it was a little tricky but maybe it would be easier on your back than leaning over a tub?

My last thought, and I know it's not true for everyone, but it helped me a lot when I started thinking this way - a good bedtime routine is key but for little babies, it can be SHORT. Fresh diaper with a little wipedown, jammies, one quick book, one quick song, nice big bottle, kiss goodnight.
posted by beandip at 1:45 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a Shnuggle bath with a folding bath stand. It’s been a lifesaver for my back. We also have a small apartment so I feel your pain (although I don’t have twins! You are amazing).

Could you get a 2nd bath and a bath stand and then do both at the same time?
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 2:28 PM on September 11, 2019

I feed my toddler before his bath- then he isn’t grumpy, and can get really messy so I let him practice using a spoon.

Do they both need a bath every night? I only bathe mine 2-3 times a week, basically only if he really went nuts in the sandbox. If he has a major poop, I wash his bum in the sink, and I use a spray bottle of water, with wipes, to clean him quite well during most diaper changes. He doesn’t really get that dirty otherwise.

Less bathing might be easier on the eczema, too?

Can the baby bathtub fit into your tub, to minimize splashing?

Could they be bathed at the same time in a larger vessel?

Could they be bathed in the shower? If you have a large nonslip step stool in there so one foot is up, you can hold the baby straddling your thigh which makes them less prone to gravity’s pull. Helps if you have a shower hose too.

Soon they'll be pulling to stand, and maybe then you can put a towel on the shower floor for traction, let them hold the step stool or side of the tub, and give them quick standing showers with the hose some nights.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 4:08 PM on September 11, 2019

Get two baby bath tubs, put in shower, do both kids at once. Either that or give the kids a quick wipe down with a clock at night and have actual baths in the morning if the real issue is that the kids are too over tired at night yet you can’t start any earlier.
posted by Jubey at 4:08 PM on September 11, 2019

That looks like a lot.

Can't you divide and conquer?

One parent takes one and one the other? You can do it in the same room. Put play yard in kitchen. Babies play or watch you guys prep -they wait while you fill up 2 small baby baths (or they complain and you turn and smile and say, it will only be a few moments. Don't rescue them from being impatient). Bathtime in 2 baby baths on kitchen floor. Water gets everywhere but you have a couple towels on the floor so no one slips.

You each take them from bath, prep for bed, nighty night.

One of you runs into the kitchen (this was my favorite) and takes those 2 wet towels and cleans the kitchen floor. As long as there's no accidents in the bath, it meant my floor was clean with a baby safe soap.

Our twins were a little tricky to bathe in the tub in my tiny bathroom - especially by yourself. Leaning over into the tub felt grueling. My knees, my elbows, my back. ugh.

Soon enough they'll be sitting up by themselves in the tub, then showering telling you... they. need. privacy! Before you know it.
posted by beccaj at 4:34 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

A few ideas: have your husband try bathing the baby in the tub in the bigger bath to see if he can do it pain-free. If so, bathe your splashy daughter there, to make clean up easier.

Leave clean up til after bed time.

Skip some baths. Maybe bathe each kid every other night.

Also, I'd say divide and conquer: one parent for each kid, but make sure to switch off regularly, which allows for a bit of variation in routine and means that both kids are used to both parents.

But, yeah, I'd really try bathing them on different nights or at the same time. Good luck!
posted by bluedaisy at 5:15 PM on September 11, 2019

Get some kind of a suitable portable folding stand or table that will support the baby bath, and/or get a new baby bath that can be set up in a different room. Much of your problem involves having to do the baths in the master bedroom. Would a plastic table cloth make it practical to put the baby bath on the kitchen or dining room table?

I suggest an ironing board. It has a variable height. Since the baby will never be in the bath on the ironing board without you holding him or her, it doesn't have to be an incredibly solid or secure location. Put the ironing board or small table in the bathroom and instead of putting your daughter in the play area in the next room, put her in the bathtub. Parent not actually bathing the first kid sits on the edge of the bathtub and plays with her. All shampoo and other products like that need to be stored in locked cabinets from now on, BTW, your kids are close enough to mobile that this should be done within the next few days or weeks at the outside.

Or don't give the kids baths at all. Each one of you could take one baby into the shower with you and give them a shower instead. You will probably find it a bit chilly taking a baby-skin temperature shower but just pop into a robe. Wear your swim shorts to do the showers if you feel weird about it.

Make a play area on the floor in the master bedroom if you keep giving baths in the master bedroom and bring your daughter and all the equipment for both kids in there. Your kids will be crawling soon, so it's about time to start preparing for them to be roaming your house. Back in the day when babies were all fed formula from sterilized bottles the answer to the question, "When should I stop sterilizing the baby's bottles?" was "When you find her in the bottom of your closet gnawing on the sole of one of your shoes." That's ordinarily about eight or nine months old. It will very soon be time to let your kids be on the floor around you while you are in the room. Letting the little ones have some time on the floor will encourage them to develop crawling, so freedom from the play area is enrichment. If your daughter and then your son is on the floor in the master bedroom she is at least very close at hand to be talked to while you spread out the towels.

But I honestly think your best bet is to give up on giving both of them a bath every night. I know it's much more hygienic to get a daily dunk, but once they get splashy it's reaching the stage of impractical. Mildewed bedroom carpets aren't hygienic either. You are going to have to start training the kids to stop splashing, or in a couple of years the ceiling in the room below your bathroom is going to let go, or else you will have to only let them bathe in summer, outside with a garden hose. You train kids to stop splashing the same way you train them to stop biting during nursing. As soon as they do it the session is over.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:29 PM on September 11, 2019

It's not clear from your question, but are you getting fresh water for each twin? Could they share water?

What about not filling the bath so full to prevent splashing?

Suggested adjustment to scheduling:
Run bath. Strip son, parent 1 wash son. Parent 2 entertain daughter, strip and swap babies - parent 1 wash daughter, parent 2 dry son. Parent 1 dry daughter. This way you have a designated wet/dry parent for the swap over.

Then once you have the kids fed and settled, tackle the clean up.
posted by freethefeet at 8:28 PM on September 11, 2019

I think you want to get them into the adult bathtub together or separately as soon as possible - you’re going to need to solve for the ergonomics of that sooner than later regardless and it will help with some of the water prep. For now, maybe an adult in with both/each? Also, as mentioned, as you get into more solids, you’ll want to bathe them after eating regardless.

Good luck! My child doesn’t bathe more that 2x per week!
posted by vunder at 8:35 PM on September 11, 2019

I've bathed babies of all sizes in this Fisher Price whale tub set inside the larger tub. From newborns to very mobile toddlers. It holds babies of all sizes quite comfortably when they can't sit up, and allows for some splashing and playing once they can. I bought it on Facebook Marketplace for $7. The only thing I'd say is pull off the green seat and wash it every couple days, or the underside gets a bit gross.

Kneeling beside the tub is super uncomfortable for me, but sitting straddled over the edge of the tub is fine for me. I run about 2 inches of water into the whale tub, smear some liquid soap on the dirty parts of the baby, put the baby into the tub, and then jet the soap off with the shower hose, allowing the runoff from the baby to fill the whale tub for more splashing.

When baby was tiny I'd do this naked, maybe have a quick shower myself while baby splashed at my feet, using the hose and just being careful not to spray the baby in the face. A t the end of the bath I'd stand in the large tub, lift baby, hold baby with one of my arms curled around under both their arms (kind of like this but with just one arm), use the shower head in the other hand to spray off any remaining soap suds, and then wrap us both in a towel. Once baby could stand, I'd help him stand up in the tub, keep hold of his arm so he wouldn't slip, and spray soapsuds off that way. Once baby could stand holding the edge of the tub, I wouldn't need to get myself wet to rinse the baby, so I'd do the bath fully clothed.

A handheld shower head with multiple settings is key with a baby, if you don't already have one. The sprinkle setting makes baths way easier, and you can put it on jet mode to power-wash poop and food off their clothing. They're easy to install, too. A very good use of $50.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:41 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Babies, like every person, vary in dirtiness. I have never bathed my child much more than 1-2x a week. Find a different cue, a certain book, pulling the curtains, feeding, etc. You are making much more work than needed and your kids are revolting.

You are doing a great job though. 7 months is tough. They are SO close to being that much more engaged and strong and things will get naturally easier.
posted by stormygrey at 1:48 AM on September 12, 2019

We gave up on baths early with our kids because they’re a lot of separate clean up and activity. We take our boys into the shower with us every night and it’s a lot easier than bath time - no opportunity to splash and make a mess - easier to control and maintain consistent water temperature- etc.

So I would say - do all your prep before the shower (lay our pajamas, warm up bottles, turn up the AC, etc) while one parent plays with both kids. Strip everyone down and take a shower together - each parent holding a kid. Everyone gets out, dries off, puts on pajamas and goes to sleep. No one is being ignored or put down alone - everyone gets a least wet once a day to rinse the effects of the day off.

We don’t have a combo shower/tub though - we have a standing shower which makes this feasible. I can totally see this not working if your only shower is combined with a tub.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 3:06 AM on September 12, 2019

I disagree that you need to reduce baths- I think the best is to get them the little seats and do them both at the same time in the adult tub.

Also, I would try to start 15 minutes earlier and aim to be walking out of the bedroom with lights off at 7pm...
posted by catspajammies at 6:20 AM on September 12, 2019

Some extra facts that may inform your advice--probably should have included this before:
-the splashing isn't a big deal. that is the least of my concerns. we don't have carpet. we can never bathe anyone outside with a hose because we live in an apartment in manhattan.

-we can't do the baths anywhere else in the apartment except for the counter on the master bath or the bathtub in the babies' bathroom. our kitchen is a tiny galley kitchen and we have wood floors in other places, and also, at that point, getting water into the bathtub becomes harder.

-we do not have a walk-in shower available to us. all showers are bathtub showers.

-the play area my daughter is in is immediately adjacent to the master bath. she can see us. she couldn't be closer without being in the bathroom, and we tried that with the bouncy seat, and she hated it.

-i am open to doing baths less often, but i will also note that i have VERY spit-uppy kids who also eat solids. so we are filthy by the end of the day. also, every other day our bath is not a real bath, but kind of a quick wipe-off while sitting in water.

-so while i am open to doing baths less often, baths WILL be necessary SOME nights, so i still need the bath routine solved.

-this is the issue with bath seats.

-we cannot start earlier. we both work full time. 6:30 it is. hey, it used to be 8.

i'm reading and thinking about what you've said so far!
posted by millipede at 6:52 AM on September 12, 2019

OH one more thing. Regarding the hand-held shower hose--the water in our building is very unpredictable and variable with temperature. It can be perfect one second and then burning hot the next, with no change on our end. So we really can't do a running water kind of bath with them. And no, we cannot move because of this issue, as we own the apartment.
posted by millipede at 6:55 AM on September 12, 2019

i have VERY spit-uppy kids who also eat solids. so we are filthy by the end of the day. also, every other day our bath is not a real bath, but kind of a quick wipe-off while sitting in water

I love baths and showers and I am not disputing that they get covered in all sorts by the end of the day. They will need cleaning daily. But it is a very modern idea, that anybody would need a daily bath or shower. People used to have a bath once a week, showers were not standard in most homes until well into the second half of the last century so people kept clean with sponge baths. So perhaps try a sponge bath for the little ones. Because that would be a lot easier to coordinate right now given the space and time constraints you seem to have.

Place a couple of towels on your preferred surface. Have a bowl with warm, soapy water on the same surface, ideally a bit out of reach of little person. Have a small sponge or a flannel and wipe down the baby. Baby can sit, stand or lie on the towel. You can do one each, simultaneously. You should still only need the one bowl of water. Nobody has to wait, they can be dried off, dressed and fed simultaneously. And bonus, very limited clean up afterwards.

In a little while they will be old enough to sit in the big bath, ideally at the same time with one of you on either end. I remember sharing the bathtub with my brother until I started school. Parents seem to come up with varying strategies for how to make the ergonomics suck a bit less. I've seen people use kneeling mats for gardening - they can get wet and dry easily.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:08 AM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I remember that phase when my baby was no longer a helpless blob lounging in her bath hammock but also wasn't able to sit up properly. It was so annoying! And that was only 1 baby! I can't imagine with two. If the nightly bath as a routine point works, then stick with it. But I agree that since it sounds like it is always a two person job, then everyone should get a baby at all times and you need to plan in batches rather than serially. Could you get yourself a little bath seat to put in the tub so you can sit a little more comfortably while each baby splashes in the baby tub set within the larger tub? This would be a stop-gap until they are more steady on their little bums. Then, looking ahead to the sturdy sitting phase, what about trying a baby dam in the tub so that they can both be in the water at the same time without having the run of the tub, and then you can still keep your bath chair in the "dry" zone for easier reaching?
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2019

Another way to cut down on the baths needed for my food-smearing toddler:

These Ikea smock bibs make feeding WAAAY less messy. I own 12 of them for a single toddler, so you may want to own 20. (Babies are messy eaters for like 3 years- it's worth it! I also keep one in his stroller, diaper bag, and car glove box for impromptu meals at friends' houses or restaurants). This is the cheapest brand I've found, fits babies up to about 2 years old. They're water-resistant and have elastic sleeves and a pocket at the waist to keep laps clean(er). They're GREAT.

After each meal I rinse off largest food particles and hang the bib to dry on a hook over the sink. By the next meal it's dry enough to use again. By the end of the day it's toast, so I quick-rinse it one more time, let it dry over night, and in the morning toss the dry but still kinda food-splattered bib into the hamper, launder with a normal load, and hang to dry. I have a million of these bibs so that I can do them with a normal load of laundry and am never without one.

After eating, I clean the baby's face, hands, and high chair tray with small, finely-textured terry washcloths from the dollar store. I own about 50 of them and use 1-2 per meal. After the meal, I rinse them out very well with a little soap, hang to dry over the sink, then toss the dry ones into the laundry. The washcloth texture cleans up food waaaay better than diaper wipes do, and better for the environment than wipes or paper towels.

All these foody textiles do get a bit stinky after a while (lots of protein for bacteria to eat). Periodically I microwave or boil the washcloths, or run the bibs and washcloths alone in a hot vinegar wash with tons of detergent You may prefer to consistently do a separate wash for all the baby feeding textiles.

Anyway, keeping the babies cleaner during meals is a great way to need fewer baths!

Also- as long as you never leave the baby alone in the suction seat, they're totally fine. Just leave your phone on silent and don't leave the room when the babies are bathing. Same as you do now.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:47 AM on September 12, 2019

The issue with the bath seats seems to be when parents leave the babies unattended and the babies fall out of the seats. It's not the product itself that's dangerous, but rather when the baby is unattended in the bath -- but that's dangerous if you're not using a seat, too!

That website links to the US Government Consumer Product Safety Commission. They have guidelines for infant bath seats.

This one, for example, says it conforms to various manufacturing standards for infant bath seats and has lots of safety warnings about not leaving your kid unattended (click on the PDFs).

If a couple of these seats means you can put both kids in the big tub at the same time, and you know you will be right next to the tub, then I think you'll find bath night so much easier.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:40 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Our baby is 10 months and always has a bath every night.
Around 7 months is when she outgrew her baby bath but wasn’t quite steady with independent sitting. Our solution: my husband took a bath with her in the big tub.
He put on swim trunks and placed her in between his legs, facing her. He only needed to do this for about a month and he said he actually enjoyed it as it relaxed him after work.
All this to say, could you get in the big bath with your daughter so she can do the bath at the same time as your son? It really won’t be long until they can sit up well and have their bath together. And who knows you may enjoy it as well.

Also just a warning, for some reason my daughter really hated her bath routine around 8 months. It was strange and upsetting as she always loved it. She loves it again now. I dunno, babies are changing all the time and I keep learning that everything is a phase, hang in there you guys are doing a great job.
posted by like_neon at 2:27 AM on September 13, 2019

Just reading stuff about bath seats, we bought one and never used it. The seat actually didn’t even fit our bath which seems to be narrower than standard but we didn’t realise. And considering our anecdote above, it was such a waste of money given how soon she was sitting up well anyway. If you can avoid buying a bath seat I think that makes sense especially if you have to buy two.
posted by like_neon at 2:31 AM on September 13, 2019

For those still following this and wondering what we did: we divided and conquered. I bought a second baby bath that goes inside the adult tub. We switch off who bathes whom every night (splashy daughter is always in the bathtub, calm son is in the bath on the counter). It has halved our time and calmed everyone down.
posted by millipede at 5:31 PM on September 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

How big is the adult tub in the babies' room? I would think you would want to bathe the babies together in that tub, and find a solution to do that. Our 5 month old cannot sit up well yet, so we have the Angel Care reclining tub that we put him in (here). I think two would fit in a standard size adult tub. Then you can tag team baths. We totally love bath time in our bedtime routine so I'd be sad to see that go.

Edit: Just saw your update. Nice, glad it works.
posted by peach23 at 2:29 PM on October 1, 2019

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