In our first trip bringing our baby out, we were caught off-guard! We assumed that the hotel has bathtubs, but no! It wasn’t an enjoyable experience bathing him that trip, but we have learned quite a few things from that trip and subsequent vacations.
So how can you bathe your baby during vacation? The best way to bathe your baby in a hotel during vacation is to use an inflatable bathtub. You can carry it in your luggage with ease because it is light and compact. It is also clean, safe & affordable.
If you’re in the hotel right now and you don’t have one with you, try and see if you can buy one nearby. Any inflatables with a flat surface can be a pass for now. If not, you still have options such as using the sink or the shower. It is not ideal, but I will talk about it further down.
On a separate topic, if you’re traveling with a baby, crosscheck your packing list with the lists here so you don’t miss out on essentials.
Bring an Inflatable Bathtub
This method is the best way to bathe your baby in a hotel.
- It’s the cleanest & safest method – Unlike the other methods where cleanliness is questionable, you know that your inflatable bathtub is clean because it is not a public item and you clean them yourself. It is safe because your baby won’t slip, and once the tub is filled with water, it won’t topple. If you want to use boiled water, do not pour it directly into the tub, fill it up with room temperature water first and then add in boiled water.
- It is lightweight, compact & affordable – Click on this link to Amazon to see the bathtub we’re using, our sharing will be based on it. I believe most inflatable tubs are more or less the same though so it should apply to what you’re using. It weighs around 1KG, can be folded to the size of 3 folded shirts stacked on each other (with some air left inside) and packed in your luggage. You don’t have to bring an extra bag for this; it will fit nicely into your luggage.
It is affordable, costing only about 20 dollars. We find that this type of bathtub is also better than the conventional baby bathtubs because it can support your baby to sit. When your baby grows up, you can fold it and keep it, using only minimal storage space.
The only downside is using the pump that came with it. Any manual pump may take you 20 minutes and can be tiring. It’s fine if you only need to inflate it once, but if you are changing hotels every day, getting a mini air pump will make your life easier, it can also deflate the tub. Here’s a link to Amazon to get it.
- Bring toys & things you need – If your baby is afraid of the new bathing place or has never used the tub, toys are a great way to keep your baby occupied while you bathe him. Keep your soap and towel within reach, a handkerchief for cleaning his teeth too.
- I don’t have an inflatable bathtub with me – We got you covered! Let’s go through the alternatives. They aren’t the best but are valid options nonetheless.
Use the Hotel Bathtub
The hotel bathtub is the second-best option. Before you book your hotel, check if they have one, not all hotels have bathtubs.
- Bathtubs are generally unclean – You don’t know how clean is it and don’t trust what you can see with your naked eye. The last thing you want is for your baby to get skin rashes or develop sensitive skin, so clean the tub using powdered laundry detergent, alcohol wipes, sterilize spray or any other cleaning detergent you can get nearby.
- Keeping everything you need within reach – Keep the towels, soaps, handkerchief (for teeth and gums cleaning) within reach, you don’t want to leave your baby alone in the tub for even a split second, the bathtub is slippery and you don’t want him to slip and knock his head.
- Bring some toys – Bring some toys into the tub to keep your baby occupied, you will have an easier time bathing him.
- Should you be inside the tub? – The bathtub is built for adults, not babies. It is big and slippery. Imagine holding your baby with one hand, and trying to apply soap and bathe him with the other, it is going to be difficult and tiring. The easier way is to be in the tub together with him, this way the tub won’t be an obstacle for you. You will need someone to dry and carry him out because you may be soaking wet after the bath, and it’s best not to carry him out yourself because it may be slippery. If you’re alone, it may be best to stay outside the tub.
Use the Hotel Sink
I really do not like this option, sinks can be very dirty! But if there are no bathtubs this may be your next best option. Here are some things to be aware of.
- Clean the sink – Unlike the bathtub, you need to assume that the sink is dirty. Please clean it thoroughly before bathing your baby in it. Again, using powdered laundry detergent, alcohol wipes, sterilize spray or any other cleaning detergent you can get nearby is good enough.
- Prepare some hot water – Some sinks do not have hot water, so the water may be chilly. If so, try to get hot water by boiling some or get it from the hot water shower. Make sure the temperature is alright before bathing your baby. If you have boiling water I suggest washing the sink with it.
- Bring 1 or 2 toys – Sinks can be small and shallow, and the tap may cause injury to your baby. Keep them occupied by placing 1-2 toys so that they can play with it and not move too much. It’ll make bathing them easier too.
- Bathing in the sink safely – Depending on the sink, the difficulty to bathe your baby may vary. Be careful if the sink is shallow or slippery, especially if your baby moves a lot! If space is small and the tap is in the way, take some cloth, damp it and wrap the tap up after you’ve filled the sink with water. This can act as a cushion. Also, make sure the towels and soap are within reach, DO NOT leave your baby alone in the sink, no matter how short it will be.
Use the Hotel Shower
This is an excellent option for toddlers, but the worse for infants or babies, especially if your baby still can’t sit. If you’re not used to it, it’s best not to carry your baby in your arms while bathing him. This applies even if you have someone to carry him while you do the bathing. It will be very slippery, and your baby can easily slip out of your hands and fall, please be careful.
- Use a bathing mat or towels – Since it’s not recommended to carry your baby during the bath, your best option is to cover the bathing area with a bathing mat or with 2 thick hotel towels. The bathing mat or towel will prevent your baby from slipping and serve as a clean place to bathe him.
- Using the showerhead or water cup – You can use the showerhead, though it may not be the easiest. The first thing to be aware of is water temperature. Some hotel showers fluctuate in heat, so be attentive if the water becomes too cold or hot. Keep the water flowing gently, too much water or pressure can cause discomfort.
Your baby may be afraid of the showerhead if he is not used to it, so if he cries, this may be one of the reasons. We usually wipe our baby’s head and face, but if you use the shower, be careful that the water does not flow over his face for more than a second or two, your baby can’t breathe during this time.
The better way is to prepare a clean tub of warm water, then use a cup to pour it on them. It is more gentle this way.
Use the Baby Wipe Down Method
If I don’t have an inflatable bathtub, this would be my second choice among all the available options. I put this as the last option simply because technically, it isn’t bathing. This is quite a good option for babies below one-years-old. Since they don’t run around they don’t sweat as much and can afford to skip bathing during travels. You don’t have to bring much, don’t have to worry about dirty sinks or floor, all you need is a clean cloth and some water.
- If you’re wiping on the bed – Place a changing mat on the bed, you don’t want your baby to suddenly pee or poop on the bed. Place everything within reach, a bucket of water, towels, diapers, clothing. If you don’t have clean cloth, alcohol-free and perfume-free baby wipes are also fine but don’t use it for his mouth.
- Make sure the room is not too cold – Keep the air conditioning off, and the fan spinning slow. It can be cold for your baby in the room as you wipe them, so do try to dry them as soon as possible.
This how we wipe down our baby when we cannot bathe him.
Can you get a crib at a hotel? Call your hotel to find out and if they provide, try to ask them for a photo of the crib because hotels may not know the difference between a crib and a playpen. On our last trip, the hotel gave us a playpen without a mattress. There’s no way I’m letting my baby sleep on that hard and uneven surface, so we slept together in the same bed instead which I didn’t really like because we could have injured our baby during sleep.