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How to Give Your Baby a Bath When Traveling

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How to bathe a baby when traveling

There are several things that have been invented to make traveling with a baby easier which really make sense. One is the baby bathtub. I loved the little tub my mom picked up at a yard sale for $2 in Maine and used with Petra for the first couple months of her life. She was so squirmy and slippery when wet, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to safely bathe her by myself without it.

Inflatable bath tub for babies

Inflatable baby bathtub

So when we packed up to go traveling when Petra was two months old, there were only a few options for bathing her as far as I could see:

1. The sink. A popular choice, and one that I felt fine about when visiting family, but when I thought about the bathrooms of some of the hotel rooms I had visited in my travels, I couldn’t imagine letting my poor little girl’s tush touch anything in them. The sinks in budget hotels abroad often are in dire need for some toxic heavy duty cleaner, which I didn’t want to travel with for obvious reasons. While I knew I could buy cleaning solvents  if we really needed it, this just didn’t seem like the ideal choice.

2. Baby seats or mats. A simple concept, put something between baby and hotel tub/sink. But when I looked at the baby seats they seemed to take up almost as much room as a bathtub. And the mats seemed like they were, essentially, just a piece of cloth. It just seemed to me like Petra would wiggle her way out of it in no time and be bare butt naked inside of the dirty sink.

3. The shower. This was a possibility. I have met other people who told me they started taking their baby in the shower with them when at six months old, and it worked out. Petra was only two months old when we started traveling, but in our cross country road trip we took a family shower a couple times. One of would hold Petra while the other soaped, scrubbed and rinsed themselves, and then we would switch roles, washing our baby in the process. There was only one problem: Petra was scared of the water falling on her. She screamed. A lot. I’m sure at some point one of us would get over it (either she would stop minding the water falling on her or, more likely, I would stop minding the screaming).

But having seen how much Petra previously enjoyed playing in the water when we had a tub in Maine, I really didn’t want to take bath time away from her just because we were traveling. Bath time was not only something she enjoyed but it was the quickest way to calm her down and change a grumpy mood.

I told Wade we needed to travel with a baby bathtub. He laughed at me.

4.Travel with a baby bathtub or big basin. No. We travel with backpacks. Even the folding ones are way too big.

5.The inflatable baby bathtub. Ah. This I love. Yes, it still takes up some space but not too much. These inflatable baby bath tubs are also fairly easy to blow up and deflate. Petra still gets her time to play in the tub, which she LOVES, and she still gets clean in the process. These tubs also only costs $10. It even worked as a little playpen for about a month before Petra got big enough to crawl out of it.

We have now traveled with an inflatable bath tub for about a year from when Petra was four months old to 17 months, and we still use it and love it. It is not one of the absolute necessities of baby travel gear, but, for us, it has definitely been worth having

Read Wade’s take on Inflatable bath tubs for traveling with a baby.

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Filed under: Health, Travel Gear, Travel With Family

About the Author:

After traveling on her own for three or four years, Chaya met up with Wade Shepard, the editor of VagabondJourney.com. They were married in 2009, and continue to travel the world together with their young daughter. From time to time Chaya blogs about family travel and life on the road. has written 102 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Chaya Shepard is currently in: Xiamen, China